Photo by Danny Parker

OU's defensive 'wish list' - October

OU's defensive wish list for October sees some major names vacate the premises.

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 October. 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: Riviera Beach (Fla.) Suncoast’s K’Jakyre Daley. Notre Dame is out the picture and Wisconsin has become the major threat here. But OU is sitting pretty, coming off a great official visit to Norman last month. Called a defensive end by Scout, it sure feels like Daley would end up being an outside linebacker if he picks the Sooners.

Houston Christian’s Josh Rogers. Any offer at this point starts to feel like something to watch, and Rogers was the first notable offer by Calvin Thibodeaux in a while. The Sooners weren’t the only one to reach out to Rogers in the last month so it remains to be seen at this point what the offer really meant. But you figure with Thibs’ connections in Houston that this could certainly lead to something positive.

Next in line: 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. The Sooners did what they could on Paschal’s official visit last month, but the feeling here is he’ll most likely head elsewhere.

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: 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. (No change, 10/3)

Las Vegas Arbor View’s Greg Rogers. The Sooners have some big-time competition from Colorado right now for the Scout 100 prospect. OU hit it out of the park with Rogers on his official visit to Norman last month, but it will be a tense waiting game until Rogers makes that call Dec. 10 with several realistic suitors still in the game. The Buffs making a real surge.

Next in line: Houston Episcopal’s Marvin Wilson. OU had its chance, but it didn’t feel like the big-time hit it needed to be. The only solace right now is there are no clear-cut favorites for Wilson who are playing well outside of Alabama and Ohio State. Texas, USC, LSU among those schools struggling where Wilson was considering. So there’s hope, but OU must turn it around on the field and somehow get him back to Norman for a more positive environment.

On the radar: None. Somebody else might emerge, but still think OU doesn’t wanna throw in the towel with any of these guys.

Linebacker (5-6)

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. (No change, 9/7)

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. (No change, 9/7)

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. (No change, 9/7)

Favorite: Nashville (Tenn.) East Nashville’s Jacob Phillips. The waiting game is on for Phillips. One more official visit in store with Texas A&M set for this weekend. After that? OK, time to find out. The Sooners can rest easy knowing they did all they could to land the Scout 300 linebacker. Alabama is absolutely the one to watch, but the question remains whether or not the Tide will have a spot for Phillips after five-star Dylan Moses pledged last weekend.

Next in line: Buford (Ga.) Lanier’s Tyler Taylor. The news about Tay Evans might open the door for someone like Taylor to come back into the mix even if Phillips ends up picking the crimson and cream later this month. Taylor has had two fantastic trips to Norman with perhaps a third one in the cards. Sooners haven’t lost Taylor yet but still have work to do to win him, too.

Galena Park (Texas) North Shore K’Lavon Chaisson. Welcome back, Chaisson. The door was seemingly shut last month but now there are reasons to believe the Sooners want back in. One of those being the struggles of LSU and Florida State, opening the door for OU to show Chaisson once again why Norman would be a great home for him in the future.

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: Lake Dallas (Texas) High’s Kobe Boyce. Committed to Texas in name, OU knocked it out of the park with Boyce on his official visit last month and Boyce will be in Dallas this weekend to watch the Sooners and Longhorns. No, it’s not a winner takes Boyce game, but the Sooners could do themselves a favor by coming up big at the Cotton Bowl.

Next in line: Fresno (Calif.) Central East’s Jaylon Johnson. USC’s struggles could help the Sooners out in this one. Johnson has scheduled an official visit to OU next month, and it feels like OU could make up any ground necessary and close this one in style. It would continue the Fresno connection, and it really does appear like there’s no clear-cut favorite for the Scout 100 prospect at this point.

On the radar: None. Boyce or Johnson appears to be the play.

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.

On the radar: Kerry Cooks has gone back to the offer trail, but there’s nothing to suggest right now any of those offers have meant anything yet in the grand scheme of things.

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: Ondario Robinson; Deiontae Watts; Anthony Hines; Jeffrey Okudah.

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