Sooners ready for first visit weekend

Renovated stadium is here. And now so, too, is OU's first visit weekend.

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops isn’t sure it’s going to matter all that much, but it has got to feel good for the Sooners to be heading home to Norman following last week.

Not just for the first home game but because it will be initial home game in the completed renovated stadium, which does add an extra buzz to ULM weekend.

With Ohio State coming to Norman next week, no shock at all this isn’t exactly the game recruits circled. But two major defensive targets are set to make the first official visits of the cycle for the Sooners.

East Nashville (Tenn.) Literature Magnet linebacker Jacob Phillips

The four-star inside linebacker is making his second trip. The first one couldn’t have gone any better to a point where for a few months after, it still felt like the Sooners were firmly in control.

Phillips visited OU back in the spring, but there are a couple of schools who rightfully believe they’re also in the picture with Alabama and Notre Dame. Add in the fact Oregon did everything it possibly could last week, and it’s a wide open game for Phillips.

Give credit to Phillips. He knew he wanted to make all five visits, but he has done so in a way to where his final visit will be Oct. 1. We like to say one game doesn’t mean everything, and if it doesn’t, then schools like OU should be OK for Phillips.

Three of his five visit schools suffered tough losses last week with OU, Notre Dame (Sept. 17) and LSU (Oct. 1). The other visit on his docket is a return trip to Tuscaloosa to see Alabama (Sept. 24).

Phillips would be OU’s second inside linebacker commit with the belief being he would overtake Plano (Texas) East’s Anthony Hines for that spot. As of now, Hines is expected to be back in Norman next weekend for Ohio State, which might be why Phillips’ visit is now.

If the OU coaches can get a great feel of where Phillips’ head stands after this one, then they’ll know how to proceed going forward with Hines. The five-star has gone from an OU lock to being back in a familiar three-school race of OU, Texas, Texas A&M.

Olney (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel DE Joshua Paschal

The sneaky one here as not sure many people believed Paschal would ever step foot in Norman. The Sooners have it Good Counsel before but have never had anything remotely close of success so far.

Defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux is looking to change that. Speaking to sources, this is not some token visit. The word was if OU really wants Paschal, then the Sooners will be in the hunt.

Paschal, just outside the Scout 300 but ranked a four-star prospect, is exactly what OU tends to be looking for at defensive end right now.

He’s not a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker. There’s no confusion. At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Paschal knows where his future is. It’s not about bulking up and settling for the defensive end role.

OU will no doubt try to pitch the Charles Tapper effect with this one as Tapper, of course, was a defensive end from Baltimore and now playing with the Dallas Cowboys.

By having six in-state commits for the 2017-18 classes, it doesn’t hurt because you imagine plenty of the commits within the state and the Dallas Metroplex will have no issues making unofficial visits if their schedule allows it.

Only two official visitors in the grand scheme of things as of Friday morning, but it’s not a forgettable weekend at all as OU starts latest chapter at Owen Field.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories