With the way Oklahoma has started its 2017 class, one of the things in the back of people’s minds has been what sort of effect will this have at all-star events?
The first big one with a SoonerSquad17 flavor is coming up next month at The Opening at Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
Of the 166 players named to the event, eight are committed to the Sooners. In the previous five years of the event? One.
Now that’s not saying OU hasn’t ended up with recruits from The Opening, but outside of P.J. Mbanasor, nobody was actually pledged to the Sooners in Oregon.
What that means is nobody could try to get the train rolling and recruit for the Sooners. If you’re not committed, no way of actually putting in that kind of work.
Eight in the fold tells a different story. A look back at who has represented OU at The Opening and why it hasn’t always led to great success.
Woods committed in November 2011, while McNamara followed in late-December. Neither made a real impact in Norman and neither stayed with the Sooners for long.
Byrd would commit to the Sooners later that month in July 2012, while Moore was a signing day decision over Notre Dame. Moore transferred after his freshman season, while Byrd announced in the spring he was leaving the program.
Mixon made OU’s day when he committed to the Sooners at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and figures to play a vital role in OU’s 2016 season. Quick picked the Sooners over Notre Dame on signing day and is now transitioning from wide receiver to cornerback. Frison is no longer with the program.
Murray obviously signed with Texas A&M before transferring to OU on Christmas Eve 2015. Sunderland pledged to OU two months later on his official visit and is primed to play a bigger role this year. Mbanasor was the sole commit and is battling it out for the starting cornerback spot. Samia was a heavy UCLA lean at the time of The Opening but picked OU the next month and started as a true freshman. McGinnis picked OU two days before signing day and redshirted last year.
Perhaps the funniest bunch of all was last year’s group. Mark Jackson and Jordan Parker were committed to different schools with Jackson at Texas A&M and Parker with UCLA. Valentin wasn’t even offered at this time because it was at this event when former OU tackle Trent Williams got into Valentin’s ear about the Sooners being a legitimate choice. Kelly, of course, was the prized pupil for the class, and OU won the battle against Notre Dame on signing day.
Mixed results for OU and The Opening, but when you have eight commits like this year, the odds go up that at least a few of them are going to pan out and the chances to recruit for OU more than ever at the event itself.
Here are the eight OU commits headed to The Opening, at least as of now. Always potential for OU to add more based on recruits’ decisions in next three weeks.
Mesquite (Texas) Horn QB Chris Robison
Waxahachie (Texas) High WR Jalen Reagor
Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Catholic TE Grant Calcaterra
Collinsville (Okla.) High ILB Levi Draper
Tulsa (Okla.) Union CB Tre Brown
Southlake (Texas) Carroll S Robert Barnes
Miami Columbus DB Trajan Bandy
OKC John Marshall DB Justin Broiles