Been talked about before but cannot stress it enough. Just a complete 180-degree turn for Oklahoma at this year’s Dallas Opening regional compared to last year’s event.
The Sooners brought seven commits (six for 2017, Brey Walker for 2018) into the event and produced in a major way.
Collinsville (Okla.) High linebacker Levi Draper and Tulsa (Okla.) Union cornerback Tre Brown both earned invites to The Opening.
Mesquite (Texas) Horn quarterback Chris Robison was named quarterback MVP and Walker placed in the top five for offensive linemen.
You knew that already.
Now for some news/notes/observations on OU’s commits and targets:
*The first thing that immediately came to mind was the fact SoonerSquad17 was indeed that. They were a squad. Where you saw one, you were more than likely to see at least three or four of them. And when you saw three or four of them, you’d see top targets come over and see how things were going. A start like OU has for the 2017 class materializes itself in a lot of ways, that momentum was on full display Sunday.
*Talking linebackers, and there was an outstanding trio of linebackers who basically never left each other’s side the entire day. Draper, Plano (Texas) East’s Anthony Hines and Kennedale (Texas) High’s Baron Browning. Hines and Kennedale, both five-star prospects, were joined at the hip with Draper, a Scout 100 prospect. They would take turns making sure they had the same reps as the other when it came time for the half skeleton drills. And when they weren’t on the field, they were always talking to each other.
*In that same vein, defensive backs had that connection, too. With Brown, Southlake (Texas) Carroll’s Robert Barnes and OKC John Marshall’s Justin Broiles all there, some notable defensive backs seem to always want to be paired up with them. The first one is South Grand Prairie (Texas) High five-star safety Jeffrey Okudah, who was seen chatting with Broiles and Barnes the entire day. Another one was 2018 Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Academy defensive back Verone McKinley. Offered by OU a long time ago, McKinley seemed to gravitate toward being with the OU commits.
*Moving onto offensive line, and you had that again. Walker and McKinney (Texas) Boyd offensive guard Tyrese Robinson were two of the best linemen in attendance and seemed to be talking with 2018 Justin (Texas) Northwest offensive tackle Darrell Simpson as much as possible. Simpson already has an offer to OU and has made multiple trips to Norman. It’s very possible Simpson and Walker end up being Scout 100 prospects for the 2018 class.
*There was no real OU presence with running backs and defensive line, but it’s clear OU commits were trying to get words in with Denton (Texas) Ryan’s Earnest Brown and Plano (Texas) East’s Deiontae Watts. Sooners Illustrated will have a full update with Watts later in the week.
*Some observations from the event itself:
*There were so many times when you had OU commits and targets either teaming up or going up against each other. Chris Robison throwing to Cedar Hill (Texas) High’s Charleston Rambo or Fort Worth (Texas) South Hills’ Tylan Wallace. Or Barnes covering Wallace in coverage. Or Broiles and Barnes working as a cornerback/safety combo. Or Hines and Draper teaming up frequently down the stretch run of the camp.
*Great day for Robison. Was on-point almost the entire time and showed why OU is so high on him.
*Brown was a little banged up so it wasn’t the same scary fast Brown we’ve seen before. Hurt his hamstring during track. Still, showed that speed, and to me, felt like Brown had the best day of any of the OU commits at the event. Saw four pass breakups and that’s only based on what saw in a limited time.
*Draper seemed to be the guy turning the heads of national people who didn’t really know him. Skeptical, at first, everybody came around to just how good Draper is and could be going forward. Scout moved him to inside linebacker in this last ranking change, and you can see that. He can most likely carry the 20-30 pounds more and be that force.
*Barnes and Broiles are two very physical defensive backs. Broiles isn’t afraid to take risks and go for the big play.
*Walker is still a man-child. It’s crazy how big he is, yet how raw he is as well. There is so much development left for him to do. When it all comes together, watch out. Tyrese Robinson will be a force at offensive guard.
*Best players? Quarterback – Robison. Running back – didn’t watch any but there was a kid from New Mexico who was built like a tank, O’Maury Samuels. He could be a linebacker down the road, earned Opening invite. Wide receiver – Lewisville (Texas) High’s Tyrell Shavers. Offensive lineman – Frisco (Texas) High’s Jack Anderson, Texas Tech commit. Defensive line – didn’t watch enough to gauge but liked what saw from Deiontate Watts (who was one wanted to watch). Linebacker – geez, so tough. Three-way tie with Hines, Draper and Browning? Nah, we’ll go Hines. Cornerback – Brown. Safety – Jeffrey Okudah, scary good.
*Okudah, Hines and Browning all earned invites to The Opening as well.