And when analyzing what the Sooners need for 2017 going forward, a couple of things certainly stand out.
What OU did in 2016: OU with another major hit in this department with Durham (N.C.) Hillside running back Abdul Adams. A Scout 300 prospect, Adams was big-time addition to the program and a real asset down the stretch in terms of the recruiting process.
Why OU needs RBs for 2017: Through no fault of its own, really. OU will lose Alex Ross and Daniel Brooks to graduation so that’s two spots. But really when talking about running back, all eyes turn toward Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon.
Perine will be a junior in 2016 and Mixon will be a redshirt sophomore. But both will be eligible to leave Norman following the season since they’ll be three years removed from high school.
The loss of one or both will absolutely be a major blow to the program. Both should have legitimate reasons for testing the NFL Draft waters, depending on how 2016 plays out.
La Grange (Texas) High ATH J.K. Dobbins (5-9, 184, No. 11 ATH, No. 111 Scout 300)
The unquestioned No. 1 running back target for this class is Dobbins, especially coming off another great OU visit last weekend. Other schools will be in the mix, but this is shaping up to be a clear OU-Texas battle when it’s all said and done. Running backs coach Jay Boulware has put in a lot of time with Dobbins already, and it will only increase as time goes on.
Hyattsville (Md.) Dematha Catholic RB Anthony McFarland (5-8, 188, No. 4 RB, No. 28 Scout 300)
You might laugh at the inclusion of McFarland when he has all those traditional regional powers coming after him with everything they’ve got. But OU was able to land some big-time prospect on the east coast for 2016, and OU has already made the offer and made a nice impression. How nice? Well, that’s what we’re all going to find out. Would be one heck of a get for the Sooners.
Mansfield (Texas) High RB Kennedy Brooks (5-11, 190, No. 7 RB, No. 70 Scout 300)
OU’s most recent one, and it’s a biggie. Brooks’ offer sheet doesn’t scream Scout 100, but his film most certainly does. With the lack of major offers, this is a prime opportunity for the Sooners to make a major statement nice and early and start to separate itself from the rest of the pack. Quicker can get him to campus, obviously the better.
Wylie (Texas) East RB Eno Benjamin (5-10, 187, No. 11 RB, No. 99 Scout 300)
OU has to act here soon or be content with knowing Benjamin is going elsewhere. The Sooners have not yet offered the 2017 Scout 100 prospect. They’ve shown interest, but for some reason, the offer has not been extended. There are several schools already building a great bond with Benjamin. OU has to start now or let him walk.
West Monroe (La.) High RB Trey Coleman (6-0, 175, NR)
Not a major name, at least not yet. An offer from Tennessee less than two weeks ago woke up recruiting for Coleman. Combine that with a trip to Norman last weekend, and things are certainly rolling in the right direction for OU. The Sooners are clearly going to need two backs for this class and trying to convince top recruits that being part of a two-member class might be the most difficult job with this crop.
OKPreps top target?
Jenks RB Jordon Curtis (6-1, 175, NR)
The state was loaded with top prospects for 2016, but it’s a little bare (at least on the surface) for 2017. Some can/will emerge, but Sooners Illustrated could see taking a chance with Curtis. It’s hard to see major time at Jenks with a team so loaded at every spot. But Curtis showed signs as a junior of being one to watch. He just has to keep progressing in the spring and summer.