If it’s the second Saturday in October, then it’s time for the annual Red River Showdown between Oklahoma and Texas.
A valid point could be made of this game not bringing the heat this year with both the Sooners and Longhorns already with two losses apiece.
What also remains pretty clear, though, is this game could alter the recruiting futures for at least a couple of top prospects who are targets for both schools.
So who are the Red River recruiting battles to watch this time around? Sooners Illustrated publisher Bob Przybylo says why OU should be the choice, while Horns Digest publisher Taylor Estes counters on why the Horns are the right fit.
Lake Dallas (Texas) High CB Kobe Boyce (committed to Texas)
Why OU: Because the Sooners are already trending that way with Boyce following a great official visit for Ohio State weekend. Boyce has developed a great bond with defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks throughout the year, and it’s just about getting over the hump. That hump could be an emphatic OU victory Saturday in the Cotton Bowl to get Boyce to join SoonerSquad17.
Why Texas: Kobe Boyce has developed a great relationship with Charlie Strong and knows he has the chance to play early at Texas. Personally, I think the Longhorns on field struggles and questions circulating Strong’s future are impossible to ignore for Texas prospects and commitments. Boyce’s commitment status has been a question for quite a while, and the louder the outside noise gets, the more difficult it is to predict he will stand true to his word and end up a Longhorn.
Galena Park (Texas) North Shore DE K'Lavon Chaisson
Why OU: Chaisson and the Sooners seemed to have gone different directions two months ago, but things have picked up once again. Chaisson is the type of difference maker OU is going to sorely need on defense in the upcoming years. He has built a great relationship with defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux, and OU might be able to take advantage of the uncertainties going on at Texas and LSU with someone like Chaisson.
Why Texas: Defensive line coach Brick Haley is one of the biggest reasons the Longhorns are in the mind of K’Lavon Chaisson. Haley’s relationships with the North Shore staff dates back to his time at LSU, and he has maintained those relationships in Chaisson’s recruitment. Another factor involved is Haley coached Chaisson’s late-father – Kelvin Chaisson – during his stint as DC and LB coach at Baylor. Texas still has a way to go, but as long as Haley is in the mix, I think Chaisson will consider Texas.
Aledo (Texas) High OT Chuck Filiaga
Why OU: Still not too sure Filiaga has OU on the brain, but the Sooners are still keeping tabs on him. He seems to be second on the totem pole right now at offensive tackle, and OU is in fantastic position with Gonzales (La.) East Ascension offensive tackle Adrian Ealy. Obviously things can change quickly in recruiting so OU isn’t throwing in the towel yet.
Why Texas: Texas has two major OL targets in 2017 – Walker Little and Chuck Filiaga. From everything I have been told, Filiaga’s mother is a big-time Charlie Strong fan, and everyone knows you don’t mess with mama bear. However, the hotter Strong’s seat gets, the less likely I see Filiaga considering UT.
Lancaster (Texas) High WR Omar Manning
Why OU: One of the more confusing targets for OU fans this cycle, without question. For months, it looked like the Sooners were the program to beat. But as Manning never pulled the trigger, well, you start to realize it just wasn’t meant to be. OU’s offense has not looked strong vs. Texas since 2012 so perhaps a top-notch performance by Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine, Joe Mixon and Lincoln Riley will be what Manning needs to see to start thinking about Norman again.
Why Texas: Omar Manning is one of the Longhorns’ top offensive recruits in 2017. Texas made up a lot of ground with Manning over the last several months with the implementation of OC Sterlin Gilbert’s new offense. He has built solid relationships with Gilbert, WR coach Charlie Williams and TE coach Jeff Traylor. It will be interesting to see if the uncertainty around Strong will impact where Texas fits in his big picture.
Port Arthur (Texas) Memorial CB Kary Vincent (committed to LSU)
Why OU: Not sure it’s fair to put Vincent in this category, especially since he’s still committed to the Tigers. However, if he starts looking elsewhere, OU would be a spot to circle because his relationship with the OU coaches goes back a long time. The Sooners are looking for at least one more difference maker in the secondary, and if Vincent has watched OU at all this season, then he should know the opportunity will be there as a true freshman.
Why Texas: After LSU cut ties with Les Miles, Kary Vincent Jr. told me he is still solid in his commitment with the Tigers. However, he does plan to take an official visit to Texas in the coming months. If the Longhorns can turn things around and quiet the rumors of Strong’s job security, Texas is one to watch with Vincent’s recruitment.
Houston Bellaire Episcopal DT Marvin Wilson
Why OU: Not even going to lie here, the Sooners are not the favorite right now and maybe not even in the top five. OU needs some sort of second chance with Wilson after not knocking it out of the park with him during his official visit last month. Texas’ struggles help OU sort of, but what hurts? Well, seems pretty obvious Wilson is heading back to College Station to see Texas A&M and Tennessee and not making the trip to Dallas.
Why Texas: Texas was in a solid spot with Marvin Wilson following the Longhorns season opening win over Notre Dame. Wilson enjoyed the game atmosphere and the product Texas put on the field against the Irish. But with the demotion of DC Vance Bedford and no candidate in place to take over the defense besides Strong himself, it’s hard to predict the Longhorns will remain in the mix with Wilson unless the defense entirely turns things around through conference play.