OU's defensive 'wish list' - September

The OU defensive 'wish list' for September has gone through major changes.

Things are starting to work themselves out on the recruiting trail. It’s time to start looking more intently on Oklahoma’s “wish list” for the Class of 2017.

Here is an idea of where OU stands here heading into September. The number in parentheses indicates the number of recruits OU is looking to sign at the position for the Class of 2017. The names do not necessarily reflect OU’s official board but are the best guesstimate of who OU is targeting.


Defensive end (2-3)


Committed (1): Tulsa (Okla.) Memorial’s Isaiah Thomas. The debate is going to be whether or not he’s a defensive end or linebacker, but that’s for another day. What we know for now is he is the initial commit for first-year defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux and a great way for Thibs to get the ball rolling. Thomas has a great frame and a lot of versatility, and OU did everything right in this one. He has become a vital member to the class in terms of recruiting other prospects. (No change, 9/7)


Favorite: Olney (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel’s Joshua Paschal. Let’s call it the Charles Tapper effect. OU can go into Maryland, especially at defensive end, and sort of preach about becoming the next Tapper. That’s OU’s calling card right now with Paschal. OU’s major opportunity occurs this weekend with a planned official visit for ULM weekend.


Next in line: Hutto (Texas) High’s Ondario Robinson. The Sooners looked primed to make a run here, but it hasn’t happened just yet. Robinson is getting very familiar with schools like Texas and Texas A&M with OU on the outside looking in at the moment. Robinson has delayed his announcement and should be in Norman next weekend. Not for an official but an unofficial so Sooners could make up some ground.


Riviera Beach (Fla.) Suncoast’s K’Jakyre Daley. Notre Dame still seems like the one to watch, but OU has absolutely started to reach out to Daley once again. He’s not the biggest, but Thibodeaux definitely appears to like what he has seen from Daley. Tentative plan has been to visit Norman next weekend, but we’ll just have to see if that actually occurs.


On the radar: Hampton (Va.) High’s Elijah Conliffe. OU did everything right until Conliffe visited Alabama during the summer. Now it feels like simply a matter of time until Conliffe picks the Crimson Tide. If OU can somehow survive the overwhelming momentum the Tide have right now, it would be one of the biggest surprises of anything in recent memory. (No change, 9/7)

Defensive tackle (2)

Committed: None.


Favorite: Plano (Texas) East’s Deiontae Watts. Is no news good news? There hasn’t been one word at all regarding OU and Watts since early spring. Either OU feels that good about where it stands with Watts, or the Sooners are willing to go for it all with Marvin Wilson, Greg Rogers and shrug shoulders if Watts goes another way. Watts is a legitimate four-star player himself, perhaps early senior film will give everybody a better indicator of what’s up. The wait seems to be indicator things are changing.


Katy (Texas) High’s Corey Bethley. It’s tough to gauge where Bethley stands because he’s such a quiet recruit. But it’s clear OU has major interest in him. Defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux visited Bethley last week with OU in the Houston area. He might emerge as the No. 1 realistic target and sooner than you think.


Next in line: Las Vegas Arbor View’s Greg Rogers. Las Vegas has two of the top five tackles in the entire country, and OU is hot in pursuit of Rogers. Although all eyes will continue to be on Marvin Wilson, the Sooners seem to be making up the most ground with Rogers. Subtle social media hints have OU becoming a major player in his recruitment, and you know full well the Sooners will do all it can with Rogers in town next weekend.


Houston Episcopal’s Marvin Wilson. OU keeps trying to make up ground, and that’s really all it can do at this point. This recruitment is an example of everything OU is doing right for the 2017 class because it was dead in the water back in February. Now the Sooners aren’t the favorite by any means, but they’re a legit player and building more steam with each passing month and were finally able to nab that unofficial visit in June. Official visit is the next check mark that has to be had. Has to be had.

On the radar: None. Just feels like Thibodeaux is looking to get two of these four and call it a day. Not a bad thought.

Linebacker (3-4)


Committed (3): Collinsville (Okla.) High’s Levi Draper. The first in-state commit for the Sooners in the class and a huge one at that. Once pledged to Oklahoma State, the Sooners went all-in with Draper during the summer and fall and flipped him to the crimson and cream in December. No issues since that time and none expected throughout the rest of his recruitment despite the incredible list of offers. One of the driving forces of SoonerSquad17 and No. 1-ranked player in the state and the class.


Missouri City (Texas) Fort Bend Elkins’ Kenneth Murray. That’s why you always say OU is in it if the recruit/family see the campus and meet the players and coaches. Things changed in a hurry with Murray following his July visit, and he committed to the Sooners less than two weeks later. Murray has nice size for an outside linebacker and said he is taking zero other official visits outside of OU.


Hayward (Calif.) Stellar Prep’s Addison Gumbs. OU never backed away from Gumbs. Despite the fact it reached a point where you thought Gumbs wasn’t going to take the plunge, the Sooners stayed after him. It worked with Gumbs committing in August. Gumbs is a major playmaker and another major get for the Sooners from the state of California. He said he intends to take zero other official visits. OU and that’s it.


Favorite: Nashville (Tenn.) East Nashville’s Jacob Phillips. Yes, Phillips has eclipsed Hines as the No. 1 realistic linebacker target on the board. With Hines waiting to take all five visits, Phillips seems to be back in major play for OU. Phillips will make his second visit to OU this weekend and has all five official visits planned for first five weeks of the season. He’ll make his call, and the Sooners will be a major threat in this one.


Plano (Texas) East’s Anthony Hines. This is the dream. Draper and Hines playing together as linebackers for the Sooners. We’ll see if it happens. Hines continues to make trip after trip to Norman so there’s really nothing else OU can do at this point except wait and see how things shake out. Expected to be a mid-year enrollee, he has picked Nov. 29 as the date. By not committing to OU in the summer, have the Sooners moved on?


Next in line: Buford (Ga.) Lanier’s Tyler Taylor. OK, the question is how in the world did OU become a player for one of the best linebackers in Georgia? Because it certainly has. Taylor released a top six two weeks ago with OU looking like No. 2 but perhaps the most realistic No. 2 you’re going to find. A lot of chatter out east about Taylor seeming to be OU’s to lose as the Sooners continue to make an imprint in areas they haven’t been a factor before. Did last month’s two commitments change things?

On the radar: None.

Cornerback/Nickelback (2-3)


Committed (2):

OKC John Marshall’s Justin Broiles. At this time last year, it sure looked like Oklahoma State was going to be the winner. But ever since pledging to OU in early March, he has been as all-in with OU as any recruit in recent memory. His versatility should help him get on the field and his swagger/confidence off the field is absolutely rubbing off all the SoonerSquad17 commits and a number of the top targets as Broiles is separating himself as the best recruiter of the bunch. Recruits gravitate toward his personality. (No change, 9/7)


Tulsa (Okla.) Union’s Tre Brown. Even before Broiles’ commitment, most pegged Brown as a Sooner. The fact OU has both of them is just an added bonus. Brown has speed for days but has added a lot of physicality to his game as well. Offered by OU in person back in February, it felt like a countdown as to when he would make the call. Brown is a lot more reserved than some of the other commits, but he has been a man of his word even if it has felt a little worrisome at times. (No change, 9/7)

Favorite: None. The decommitment of Trajan Bandy means a spot is there so now it’s up to Kerry Cooks to make it happen.


Next in line: Fresno (Calif.) Central East’s Jaylon Johnson. We’re rolling with no favorites, but it’s really tough to determine how the OU coaches are viewing the rest of the secondary class. Johnson was offered in February but that was before the commitments of Brown and Broiles. OU has been a constant in his top five, for what it’s worth, and it would continue to build on that Fresno pipeline the Sooners have established in recent years.

Lake Dallas (Texas) High’s Kobe Boyce. Well, guess for this month. Committed to Texas, recruiting prospects to Texas, not sure OU is a true factor. Until you realize Boyce just keeps mentioning OU and eventually coming to Norman. Stranger things have happened. He says he’ll be at OU for Ohio State weekend. But will he? He has said that before.

On the radar: None. Ready to say there are no more real targets unless something were to occur with the current commits.

Safety (1-2)


Committed (1): Southlake (Texas) Carroll’s Robert Barnes. The first defensive commitment of the class and an OU legacy as well. Barnes seems to be absolutely locked in with the Sooners and now his goal is simply to recruit the best of the best on defense in the Dallas area to come join him in Norman. Barnes has filled out into a great frame for a safety and has performed well in camps this spring and summer to go with making constant trips to Norman. (No change, 9/7)

Favorite: None.


Next in line: South Grand Prairie (Texas) High’s Jeffrey Okudah. Again, there’s just no favorite right now at safety although some names are worth monitoring. Okudah is definitely one of them with the caveat being Ohio State just seems to be the “it” school for him. OU has been able to get Okudah to Norman multiple times and will again this month, but it’s still seems like it’s quite an uphill trek right now to land Okudah. The friendship of Barnes means a lot, and OU has played its cards right in this situation.

On the radar: None. Defensive back seems to be about Okudah and Johnson and waiting to see how things change from there.

Special teams


Committed (1): New Braunfels (Texas) Canyon punter Reeves Mundschau. Not sure anybody expected the Sooners to hit special teams this class, but they did. Perhaps wanting to save Austin Seibert’s legs in the future, Mundschau is the guy as punter. Known for his hang time, Mundschau has developed a quick bond with Jay Boulware and wasted zero time in committing when the offer was officially extended. (No change, 9/7)

Removed from last month: DE Taquon Graham; LB Jordan Anthony; S Evan Fields; S DeAngelo Gibbs.


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories