The narrative has been told regarding Oklahoma and its 2017 class. The Sooners are being aggressive on the recruiting trail, and it is paying off.
OU is ranked No. 2 in the Scout rankings for the 2017 class and is a perfect 8-for-8 with four-star commitments among high school recruits with a total of nine overall pledges.
The start is unprecedented for the Sooners with the strategy changing from the patient approach of years past to fighting for commitments in February and March instead of December and January.
The goal, of course, is to develop that bond with the recruits that everything comes together in a major way down the road. The recruits push hard for other top prospects, and the coaches’ work is halfway done for them.
Seen it back-to-back weekends at The Opening regional and the Rivals camp. Both in the Dallas area, OU commits stole the spotlight and also were recruiting others to join them at the same time.
This philosophy, which can backfire with some recruits, is not going away anytime soon. Monday saw offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley tweet that same message in different words about receivers jumping onboard now because there might not be room later.
OU’s 2017 commits, known as #SoonerSquad17, have also started something else in the last week or so with a #WeWant_________ hashtag.
The prospects have been varied from Charleston Rambo to Hunter Echols to Baron Browning to Jalen Reagor to Tyrell Shavers to Trey Sermon and probably more to come.
The seeds are being planted for the Sooners to build this class now. Not later, not in the summer or fall or after the 2016 season but right now.
It’s also changed the perception of visits to Norman for spring practice. In years past, the feeling was the recruit was just getting his feet wet with the school in what would turn out to be a long process.
Now? If a recruit is visiting, be on the watch. It’s not as if OU is overtly pressuring kids to commit. It’s more of “no guarantee this spot is here if you wait” attitude.
OU isn’t going to get all of its top targets. But the way the Sooners are stockpiling the top names on their board, they’re guaranteeing they won’t be scrambling if someone goes to another school, either.
It’s a new day and era right now in OU recruiting. You really can’t compare this year’s class to anything what has been in Norman the last five years because of the perspective changing so much.
The momentum is at a crazy high right now. The question going forward will be if OU can keep it going throughout the cycle or if #SoonerSquad17 loses steam when signing day comes around.