The Sooner Intel is an inside look into Oklahoma football and basketball recruiting and is solely for Sooners Illustrated subscribers. It is a sneak peek into what’s happening with OU recruiting and is not to be distributed anywhere else.
Sooners bringing the goods
For the second year in a row the OU football program is leaning on a major basketball event to bring the goods in recruiting.
OU did the same exact thing last year for OU-Kansas basketball with junior day. However, all the momentum from Buddy Hield’s game-winner at the buzzer was negated with the SAE racial chant going viral the very next day.
The Sooners will attempt once again to piggyback off the Sooners and Jayhawks as No. 3 OU takes on No. 6 KU in a rematch of the triple overtime thriller last month in Lawrence.
OU held an official junior day two weeks ago with all of the 2017 commits coming to town. Now two weeks later and all five are going to try to make it to Norman once again.
Some questions heading into a weekend that sort of snuck up on everybody.
Will there be any commitments?
Logic says no. Gut feeling says yes. What will win out? OU is bringing a lot of the top realistic targets to this event. Realistic is the keyword there. It’s one thing to bring in a bunch of five-star kids and thump your chest out for getting them there.
But you know none of those kids are going to pull the trigger. A couple of legit Scout 150 prospects that could, however, are expected to be on campus in La Grange (Texas) High ATH J.K. Dobbins and Cedar Hill (Texas) High wide receiver Charleston Rambo.
Rambo, ranked No. 107 in the Scout 300, was at OU two weeks ago so it’s all sorts of interesting to see him returning. It could be he wants to see one heck of a basketball game day atmosphere, or there could be something more to it.
He said earlier this week that if OU would have pushed him real hard for a commitment, he might have given it two weeks ago.
Dobbins has been the one to watch all week, however. Ranked No. 111 in the Scout 300, Dobbins is clearly OU’s No. 1 target at running back in a class where OU must find gold in a major way.
The consensus is it will be one epic battle with Texas for Dobbins, but give a lot of credit to Jay Boulware for the work he has put in early and often and is still doing so.
A commitment wouldn’t lock up Dobbins for the cycle, but it’s better than nothing. Dobbins has mentioned schools like TCU and Stanford, but the sneaky feeling remains the Sooners are the choice and it could happen this weekend.
Will there be any offers?
Just as important as commitments at events like this are offers. OU, right or wrong, has stressed making certain offers in person so is this the weekend for Tulsa (Okla.) Union cornerback Tre Brown?
Brown, ranked No. 246 in the Scout 300, has seen his stock explode in the last two weeks. He’s earned one Power 5 offer after another in the last two weeks.
The question is will OU make the call? It’s clear defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks has laid a solid foundation for the 2017 class. What’s not clear is where guys like Brown and OKC John Marshall defensive back Justin Broiles fit when it’s all said and done.
Broiles and his cousin, Midwest City’s Evan Fields, are both expected to be in Norman on Saturday. The goal is for both to play at the same school. If that’s the case, it won’t be OU. Hard to envision OU just stockpiling a bunch of quality OKPreps kids this early without testing the national waters first.
Broiles will be interesting, too, in seeing if there are any hard feelings following everything with Tramonda Moore. One recruit can affect another and Broiles and Moore are incredibly close friends.
Brown’s ace in the hole is OU’s top-ranked commit for the class, Levi Draper. Draper and Brown have been friends for a while. If Draper is in town and Brown gets an offer, it could be enough for another addition to the #SoonerSquad17.
Another offer candidate to watch will be Denton (Texas) Ryan defensive end Earnest Brown. This gets a little hazy since OU will not have a defensive line coach for Brown to talk with, but you know OU will stress how quickly that situation will be resolved.
Brown is another fast-riser on the trail with Big 12 schools like Baylor and Kansas adding to his ever-growing list.
Defensive end watch will also be there with Tulsa (Okla.) Memorial’s Isaiah Thomas. Coming off a four-offer day Thursday, his first four offers, Saturday could add to that number with the Sooners.
OU was late to the game, like everybody else, with Joshua Jacobs, and it looks like the Sooners are doing their best to make sure it never happens again with an in-state recruit.
Who is the most important visitor?
The entire week it felt like Dobbins, but anytime you can get Plano (Texas) East inside linebacker Anthony Hines to Norman, it’s a big deal.
Hines’ rating seems to vary from recruiting services, but Scout has been all-in since day one. Hines is the No. 1-ranked inside linebacker for the class and No. 16 overall in the Scout 100.
Hines has made multiple visits to OU in the last two years, but it’s imperative to keep bringing him back in order to earn that official visit down the road.
He has mentioned his solid connection with Tim Kish, Bob Stoops and Mike Stoops on multiple occasions. But as more and more schools come into the fold, means OU must work that much harder to stay relevant.
Inside linebacker is a need for OU’s 2017 class, and Hines would be the biggest get in recent memory in that department. It won’t happen this weekend, but the seeds have to continue to be planted and having the commits there with Hines shouldn’t hurt matters, either.