Oklahoma is obviously off to its best start ever in recruiting with SoonerSquad17. Heading into last weekend, there were 13 commits with 10 ranked as four-star recruits and eight of them invited to next month’s all-star event, The Opening.
Nobody was questioning anything that was going on there, but OU earned No. 14 and No. 15 in back-to-back days and they were head-scratchers for some of the fans.
Does OU have enough room to do what it did? By getting these kids, is OU limiting what it can do with top prospects at other positions? Were these really positions of need?
OK, let’s get to it.
It started with the commitment of Charlotte (N.C.) Vance H-Back Jeremiah Hall. This one absolutely shouldn’t have come as a shock, especially after hearing Hall’s comments from last month when OU made the offer.
Heading into the spring evaluation period, you weren’t quite sure if this position was going to be attacked. But that was answered pretty quickly when OU offered Hunter Bryant in April. That one didn’t pan out with Bryant picking Washington later that same week.
But the seed had been planted. OU was going to hit this spot and found its answer in Hall. Running backs coach Jay Boulware did a great job of recruiting Hall the entire way, and OU struck all the right chords at the right time in getting Hall.
OU made it clear to Hall he would be an H-Back going forward and brought up names like Trey Millard and Dimitri Flowers in terms of how the position is to be played.
Hall has gone all-in with this, watching multiple games from Flowers last year to get an idea of exactly how things need to be done.
Hall is already bigger than what Flowers was coming out of high school in San Antonio so OU seems to be on the right track with this one.
Most could live with and understand Hall since Flowers will be heading into his senior season in 2017. However, it was tough pill to swallow for some with the commitment of New Braunfels (Texas) Canyon punter Reeves Mundschau.
Ranked the No. 3 punter by Kohl’s Kicking, Mundschau appears to be the answer to making sure Austin Seibert doesn’t wear down while in Norman.
Seibert admitted that he did hit a freshman wall toward the latter part of the season where his legs were tired and sore. There must have been something OU saw during the spring as well to know it would be best to get some backup for Seibert.
So why not go back to Kohl’s Kicking, the same service Seibert was a part of before connecting with Boulware. Mundschau seems to be the master of hang time with his punts, getting more than five seconds on a routine basis.
Do the Sooners have room for a unique combo of commitments at H-Back and punter? Absolutely. This shouldn’t hurt the numbers at all.
OU is short the allotment of 85 scholarships right and there are a couple of cases where it doesn’t look like OU is about to add another.
Scout 100 receiver Devin Duvernay for the 2016 class doesn’t seem destined to be heading to Norman. The same thing that was the holdup before is back in the forefront once again. Duvernay really wants to play with his brother, Donovan.
As history has shown us, OU is simply not willing to accept one brother with the hopes of earning another.
With Texas and TCU looking like the favorites there, it’s one scholarship that’s open.
Another, sadly, looks like will be Bryce Youngquist. The four-star linebacker’s situation has not been cleared up. And though it looks like he’ll always be with OU in spirit, not sure he’ll ever be with it on the field.
Youngquist announced just before signing day he would be unable to sign with OU but that he was still committed to the Sooners.
So that would put OU’s 2016 class at 19 members. And then the thing to watch is easily going to be underclassmen declaring for the NFL Draft.
The one guarantee seems to be Charles Walker. The defensive lineman has been talking about making the money to provide for his family. Truth be told, had he played against Clemson, he probably wouldn’t be in Norman now.
There are several candidates after that. Between running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon to defensive backs Steven Parker and Jordan Thomas, you could see some guys leaving early.
Then you factor in transfers that are always bound to happen. Attrition is not necessarily a bad thing, either. Sometimes it simply doesn’t work out. Injuries, depth chart, hey, it happens.
So OU should have room for the top prospects it continues to recruit.
Who are those guys?
The Wish List returns next week, but if you’re doing a numbers game right now, this is how Sooners Illustrated sees things.
One quarterback? Chris Robison, check.
Three running backs/athletes? Trey Sermon and Marcelias Sutton. Need one more.
One H-Back? Jeremiah Hall, check.
Three wide receivers? Jalen Reagor and Charleston Rambo. Need one more.
One tight end? Grant Calcaterra, check.
Two interior linemen? Tyrese Robinson. Need one more.
Two offensive tackles? None right now.
Two defensive ends? Isaiah Thomas. Need one more.
Two defensive tackles? None right now but easily the most important position for rest of the class.
Two outside linebackers? None right now.
Two inside linebackers? Levi Draper. Need one more.
Five defensive backs? Robert Barnes, Trajan Bandy, Justin Broiles, Tre Brown. Need one more, nice pool of candidates.
One punter? Reeves Mundschau, check.
So you add that all up and get a class of 27, which seems high, especially compared to the 2016 group. But not improbable with everything that could happen in Norman this season.
If the numbers crunch too tight, could always not take another running back, especially if Mixon and/or Perine stay. There are ways to be sitting pretty, and OU is positioning itself to do just that.
Perhaps the reality is the names Jeremiah Hall and Reeves Mundschau don’t elicit major celebrations. They’re not the four-star prospects OU fans have been accustomed to seeing for this class.
But OU coaches deem them necessary. Trust in their abilities might be the best answer to justify the two latest commits. However, there’s nothing to indicate the SoonerSquad17 train is losing steam or slowing down or falling out of favor with some of its major targets.