International Bowl

Sooner mailbag: Grading 2016 class?

Mailbag returns with a look at 2016 class for OU and a preview of 2017.

Recruiting never stops and neither does the Oklahoma recruiting mailbag on Wednesday. Start turning the page toward 2017.

It looks like OU’s 2016 class is in the books. Know you don’t like grades, but what grade would you give OU for 2016?

You’re 100 percent right in that don’t like grades or percentages. Go with a confidence level type of mentality. Will bite for this one, though. OK, a grade? A lot of things you have to factor in.

The Sooners didn’t need a defensive tackle. It was a pure luxury if OU would have landed one. OU picked up a major transfer in quarterback Kyler Murray so the hope is that will pay off down the road.

OU nailed the linebacker spot with two in the Scout 150 in Mark Jackson and Caleb Kelly. The Sooners pulled a rabbit out of the hat with two last-minute receiver additions.

That’s the good. Still, it felt a little underwhelming, especially when you factor in the on-field success the Sooners had in 2015.

Can’t go with a C here. Can’t go with an A, either. Stick with a B with a lean toward B+ and call it a day.

You were so confident with Jared Mayden to OU, what gives? What changed to where he picked Alabama?

You get them right, get to gloat. Get them wrong, gotta man up. Definitely thought Scout 100 cornerback Jared Mayden was going to pick the Sooners on signing day.

Everything seemed to fit. OU got back in the game, thanks to defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks. He had a tremendous official visit and loved how involved Bob Stoops was for the 48 hours.

Factor in his father having played basketball for the Sooners. All the signs pointed toward Mayden becoming a Sooner. OU coaches seemed fired up following his visit.

Mayden, though, has always been a little different. He vowed he would leave the state, and it’s clear he wants to blaze his own trail. He’ll get the chance to do that with the Tide. There was no wrong decision for Mayden. There was just his decision.

OU went from possibly getting Mayden and Parrish Cobb to end up not getting either one of them when the faxes came through. It was a tough break, for sure.

Ready to start talking 2017 class. Where is the biggest need going forward?

Running back sticks out like a sore thumb right now. You knew linebacker for the 2016 class was going to be huge, and you know running back is key for 2017.

You know you’re guaranteed to lose Daniel Brooks and Alex Ross so that’s two backs. But then you have to absolutely factor in the issues with Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon.

Both Perine and Mixon will be three years removed from high school following the 2016 season and will be eligible for the 2017 NFL Draft.

Now a lot will be predicated on what happens this fall in Norman, but there’s a possibility of OU having to replace four running backs in one class.

Factor in Keith Ford leaving before last season, that’s a lot of bodies to fill up. OU is going to need at least two running backs for 2017 with La Grange (Texas) High’s J.K. Dobbins topping that list right now.


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