What a difference a year makes. Last year at this very same Dallas Opening regional, Oklahoma was in a tough position.
On the field? The Sooners were coming off an 8-5 season where they lost their final two games. OU was bringing in a bunch of new coaches to turn it around.
Off the field? A much bigger story. OU was a week removed from the SAE fraternity racial video chant that went viral. The Sooners lost a Scout 100 commitment (Jean Delance) but the effect was a lot more than just football and a lot more than just recruiting.
At last year’s Dallas event, OU had zero commits participating and only had one for the entire 2016 class in Tulsa (Okla.) Victory Christian’s Jon-Michael Terry.
No knock on Terry as he was still way under the radar, but there was no crimson and cream presence in Dallas.
Sunday? A much different story. OU had seven commits. Yes, seven commits participate in The Opening regional. Six from the SoonerSquad17 to go along with 2018 commit Brey Walker from Moore (Okla.) Southmoore.
Who was at the party?
*Collinsville (Okla.) High LB Levi Draper
*McKinney (Texas) Boyd OG Tyrese Robinson
*Mesquite (Texas) Horn QB Chris Robison
*Southlake (Texas) Carroll S Robert Barnes
*Tulsa (Okla.) Union CB Tre Brown
*OKC John Marshall CB Justin Broiles
They didn’t just show up. They showed out. Robison was named Opening regional QB MVP. Walker was named in the top five offensive lineman. Draper and Brown both earned invites to The Opening itself in July in Oregon.
But it wasn’t just the commits. It was all the recruits hanging around the commits. Top targets like Fort Worth (Texas) South Hills wide receiver Tylan Wallace, Plano (Texas) East linebacker Anthony Hines, Kennedale (Texas) linebacker Baron Browning, Cedar Hill (Texas) High wide receiver Charleston Rambo.
Where you saw one, you were likely to see a pack of the crimson and cream tearing it up at Coppell (Texas) High, the site of the camp.
It was a special moment for Brown and Draper, especially. The state of Oklahoma has not fared too well at The Opening.
The first invite from the state came for the 2014 class with quarterback David Cornwell (Alabama). Safety Will Sunderland (Oklahoma) followed for the 2015 class.
Last year? Nobody. To get two in one day illustrates just how talented the group is within OKPreps this year and just how smart OU has been to lock up the top three prospects for the 2017 class.
They call themselves SoonerSquad17. At the Opening regional, they made the statement they were looking for.