Chad Simmons

Sooner Intel: LB a spot to watch (again)

Intel returns with a look at what Tay Evans' news means for OU linebackers going forward.

It’s just the nature of the beast. There isn’t one person who isn’t disappointed for Tay Evans. The former Oklahoma linebacker’s career is over because of lingering issues with concussions.

Nobody is throwing a party about it and everybody hopes he can keep his head high. And if he so chooses, becomes a student-coach for the Sooners.

Then reality sets in. With Evans, who only would have been a redshirt junior in 2017, out of the picture, the Sooners have to find another answer at inside linebacker.

Who’s it going to be?

Of course OU is set with one major land at the spot. You can get greedy when you know you have Collinsville (Okla.) High’s Levi Draper wrapped up. The security of a Scout 100 prospect means you can play things out and try to find the right fit.

And truthfully, OU has a couple of those guys already. It’s not like Mike Stoops and Tim Kish are going to have to go back to the drawing board, but it does feel like maybe they can take all the inside prospects they see worthy.

Let’s start with the popular pick in Nashville (Tenn.) East Literature’s Jacob Phillips. The Scout 300 prospect has seemed like OU or Alabama for several months now.

The Crimson Tide did everything right on his visit, but when you get a five-star like Dylan Moses on the same weekend, you start to wonder if it’s not in the cards for Phillips and Bama.

Phillips is going to take his final official visit this weekend to College Station to see Texas A&M and Tennessee. Going into the visit, it feels like the ultimate courtesy visit and a chance to see a huge game in a great atmosphere.

Notre Dame doesn’t seem to be a factor. Oregon was never a grave concern. It’s still down to OU and Bama, but the Sooners seem to have a lot more to offer Phillips right now based on early playing time.

The other name to circle is Buford (Ga.) Lanier’s Tyler Taylor. Ranked as a Scout 300 outside linebacker, you look at his size and see a potential move to the inside if he were to be a Sooner.

And he absolutely could move and could absolutely be a Sooner. Taylor has made two visits to Norman already and come away incredibly impressed on both of them. Not only that, his family has given the trips rave reviews as well.

Now Taylor wants to play things out a lot more, which looked like it could spell the end of any hope of him being in Norman. But with Evans off the table, OU can wait for Taylor and hope Taylor is still all about the Sooners when his choice rolls around.

Taylor said he wants to make another visit to Norman, which would have to be an unofficial one this time around. For a non-regional recruit to make three visits would be one heck of a great sign.

You could also get a little funky with who you already have locked up. In this case, we’re talking about Missouri City (Texas) Fort Bend Elkins linebacker Kenneth Murray.

Ranked as an outside linebacker, Murray has the size to move inside, and he has been sensational so far during his senior season.

If Murray were to move, then you’ve got the possibility of guys like K’Jakyre Daley and K’Lavon Chaisson as legitimate outside linebacker targets.

The one name do not want to give OU fans any false hope with is Plano (Texas) East inside linebacker Anthony Hines.

The five-star prospect and the Sooners appeared to have gone their separate ways and everybody might be better off in thinking about who wants to be at OU instead of guys who you think should be at OU.

Doubt we’ll ever really hear the story of how things broke down between OU and Hines, but there’s a clear riff and doesn’t look like it will be corrected anytime soon.


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