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.
Unless something drastically changes in the next 24 hours, it sure feels like SoonerSquad17 is about to add Lucky No. 13 to the class.
Tulsa (Okla.) Memorial high three-star defensive end/outside linebacker Isaiah Thomas is set to decide Saturday with the prevailing thought among everybody being the Sooners are the clear school to beat.
Thomas, who said he’s 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, would be the first commitment of defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux since Thibodeaux took over for the Sooners in the winter.
Tulsa Memorial coaches confirmed Thomas will simply tweet out his choice sometime Saturday. There will be no ceremony or anything of that nature.
Thomas was adamant throughout this process about his wanting to take as many visits as possible heading into this choice, and it’s apparent he is comfortable with where he’s at right now.
Thomas visited OU, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Baylor and Alabama, but Norman was the only destination he hit more than once.
Fellow in-state OU commits Justin Broiles and Levi Draper have both expressed incredibly positive feelings about whether or not Thomas will join them in SoonerSquad17.
Thomas would be the fourth in-state commitment to go along with Broiles, Draper and cornerback Tre Brown.
Humphrey decision looming?
OU is hoping to add No. 4 from the state with Thomas and could add No. 5 as early as next month with Shawnee (Okla.) High center Creed Humphrey.
This recruitment, though, is a bit of a different one than aforementioned quartet. Instead of OU going all-in with Humphrey, it was sort of backward where Humphrey blew up so much nationally that OU sort of had to make a move.
Humphrey’s first major offer in his eyes was Texas A&M and then Texas followed. There are some that feel OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh felt pressure from those two schools in Texas offering so the Sooners jumped on board.
If there’s any truth to that, it would explain the overall positive A&M feeling a lot of people in Shawnee have right now for Humphrey despite the fact Humphrey and his family grew up major OU fans.
The Aggies case was nothing but helped with a commitment from Meeker (Okla.) High offensive lineman Adrian Wolford earlier this week.
Shawnee and Meeker are less than 15 miles away and the two have had a major bond well before any of this recruiting attention came along.
Wolford committed to Oklahoma State back in February, but he did already have an offer from Texas A&M so this is not a case of trying to lure Humphrey by accepting Wolford. It just so happens that it certainly won’t hurt the situation.
Humphrey was a clear 6-foot-3 last summer, which might have had some people locked in as to where his spot should be. A legitimate two-inch growth spurt saw him go from a fringe Power 5 lineman to a Scout 300 prospect ranked No. 3 at center.
Center is not a place OU seems to be hurting, especially with the Sooners adding former Harrah offensive lineman Logan Roberson for the 2016 class. Still, a strong notion has always been you can never have enough quality offensive linemen.
Humphrey’s visit to Norman coming up in the next week or two might tell us all we need to know with how this one is going to shake out.
OU poaching from Bears?
Obviously the news from Baylor goes well beyond football and the most important parts of the story have nothing to do with recruiting or athletic success.
But after you’re done talking about the dismissal of Art Briles, a legitimate recruiting question does arise regarding the 2016 signees from the Bears.
There’s no guarantee, but you would have to believe at least a few of them would entertain being released from their letter of intent to at least peruse other options.
When you look at Baylor’s signees, a few names stand out like wide receiver Devin Duvernay, cornerback Parrish Cobb, defensive end Brandon Bowen were clearly top OU targets throughout the process.
But it’s hard to assess exactly where things would stand now. Cobb, who was committed to the Sooners from August until the day before signing day, so there’s no way of knowing exactly how that relationship with the OU staff is right now.
And things you always have to remember is how when you miss out on one name, you find another. OU couldn’t land Devin Duvernay so it was able to get Mykel Jones, a four-star prospect in his own right.
OU missed out on offensive tackle J.P. Urquidez but then lucked into finding four-star offensive tackle Erik Swenson down the stretch.
Bowen chose the Bears, but by backing off, OU was able to secure Mark Jackson as an outside linebacker so there’s always an action, then a reaction.
OU head coach Bob Stoops admitted on signing day OU was down one defensive back from what he would have liked. Losing Parrish Cobb and then not landing Jared Mayden led to that outcome.
But being one short for 2016 has been a reason why defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks has been able to be so dang aggressive with 2017 recruiting.
Of course as of now, OU has four defensive back commits all in the Scout 300 (Robert Barnes, Trajan Bandy, Justin Broiles, Tre Brown).
So in the end, no idea. Hate to speculate about OU looking at some of the Baylor signees because you can easily see both sides of the equation.
The 2017 class is another story. Tight end Kedrick James decommitted Thursday, but OU has found its answer in Grant Calcaterra. James was among OU’s first offers at tight end last summer, but the Sooners moved on.
Wide receiver will be a spot to watch with both Jhamon Ausbon and Hezekiah Jones. OU offered the duo well before a lot of schools, going back to last summer. But since then, a couple of things have happened.
No. 1, obviously, OU has struck gold at receiver. When you have Scout 300 talents like Jalen Reagor and Charleston Rambo already locked up, it’s not the disastrous loss if Ausbon and/or Jones go elsewhere.
No. 2, look for Notre Dame to be a major contender here, especially for Jones. The Irish are making a real run at some legitimate OU targets (like K’Jakrye Daley) and will be incredibly interesting to see how some of these battles shape out.
No. 3, from the outside, it still looks like Lancaster (Texas) High’s Omar Manning is the one to watch for OU and filling out the receiver class. Although some commits and some fans have high hopes of reconnecting with former commit CeeDee Lamb, Manning seems to be the easy answer for the Sooners to complete this quartet.
Either way, OU can stand on its own and not benefit from Baylor’s 2016 or 2017 classes. The thing to gauge going forward will easily be how recruiting battles between the Sooners and Bears go from now on.
Baylor was a legitimate threat to OU the last few years. Will that remain? Will the Bears clean up their house enough to earn the trust of recruits and parents? All valid questions with no answers right now. As say a lot, we shall see.