The Sooner Intel, created by Bob Przybylo in 2011, is an inside look into Oklahoma football and basketball recruiting and is solely for Sooners Illustrated subscribers. It is a sneak peek into what’s happening with OU recruiting and is not to be distributed anywhere else.
First Tuesday and Wednesday of every month dish out the “OU Wish List” where examine what the Sooners are looking at for every position on offense and defense for the 2017 class.
Never has it felt more irrelevant than this month. There have already been three commits for OU’s 2017 class, known as SoonerSquad17.
And OU now has 22 pledges with 16 of them in the Scout 300 and is officially the No. 1-ranked class for Scout at the moment.
But it’s not done. Not by a longshot. OU’s class is already bigger than 2016, but the Sooners have some key spots to fill and some spots that are a pure luxury at this stage in the game.
What we’re going to do is try to examine what the Sooners can do the rest of the way. There are so many variables right now for OU, especially with the unfortunate rash of concussions that have hit the team.
The retirement of Tay Evans certainly opened up a spot, no doubt about that. So even though OU has Levi Draper and Jacob Phillips, you can go after one more.
Let’s start breaking it down.
Leaving for NFL Draft?
*QB Baker Mayfield
*RB Samaje Perine
*RB Joe Mixon
*TE Mark Andrews
*OT Orlando Brown
*DL Charles Walker
*LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (almost have to include him way he’s playing)
*CB Jordan Thomas
*S Steven Parker
Nobody is saying all of them are. Nobody is saying any of them are. Simply saying these are some realistic possibilities for these guys and something OU absolutely has to watch going forward in trying to fill out the rest of SoonerSquad17.
It’s something OU coach Bob Stoops is 100 percent aware of and wants his players to know everything about the process.
“I address it as freshman and sophomore and all along,” Stoops said. “I school them all the time on the value of staying in school and not and the value of money when you are a first-round pick. You guys ought to do it, compared to a second-round pick.
“Everyone says that you should always go, but that always isn’t the case. Guys that don’t get drafted or get drafted in the third or fourth round and have a chance to be a first or second round, that difference in money is never made up. And that’s a lot of money if you ever looked at it. There are guys that might have gone in the late first rounds and instead came back and became a top 10 pick. Look at that difference in money.
“Everyone would have said ‘he should have went out, he’s a first-round guy.’ He made five or six times more money going in the first 10 picks than he would have late in the first round. We talk about all that stuff all the time. You need to maximize this window because it’s not a big window that lasts very long.”
Based on this assessment alone, OU has to have a class of at least 27. The Sooners have fared well with interior offensive lineman, but Bill Bedenbaugh doesn’t have that tackle wrapped up just yet.
Now the easy favorite is Scout 300 tackle Adrian Ealy, but until he makes the choice, there’s still a lot of unknown out there.
Defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux has his work cut out for him. His best asset right now is how great OU’s defensive line is playing despite all the injuries during the first five games of the season.
OU has Isaiah Thomas but that’s it right now. Could a guy like Joshua Paschal factor in at defensive end? How about Josh Rogers? Valid options there.
Then you look at defensive tackle and just scratch your head. OU is going all-in as humanly possible with Marvin Wilson and Greg Rogers, both ranked in the Scout 100, but at what cost? Has OU alienated some other potential picks?
Thibodeaux is obviously in his first year so it’s a lot to ask, but OU needs to hit a home run with either Rogers or Wilson. After that, maybe you can take a second tackle that doesn’t make people giddy but adds nice depth.
Secondary, well, you know there are going to spots available. Guys like Parrish Cobb and Jordan Parker are starting as true freshmen so anything is open to discussion.
The cornerback spot gets a bit muddled because of the dynamic between Kobe Boyce and Jaylon Johnson. Boyce has seemingly been an OU commit the last month but still remains technically committed to Texas.
Boyce was in Norman last month for OU-Ohio State and was back in Dallas last week for the Sooners victory against the Longhorns.
The question is if he’s an automatic take for OU? Signs point toward yes, but then what were to occur if Jaylon Johnson wanted to jump onboard the SS17? Johnson is latest in the Fresno connection for the Sooners so would be intriguing to see.
Johnson has scheduled his OU visit for next month (Baylor weekend) so do you string along Boyce until you know?
Safety is also a spot for consideration. As it still feels like Jeffrey Okudah is over and done with, watch for in-state prospect Evan Fields. The offers are starting to come his way, and OU is showing a huge amount of interest here recently.
Pure luxuries here. Not needed. OU’s class would be fine without them. But… you don’t say no to these guys if they want in.
Wide receiver. C’mon, #BallOutBoyz are loaded with CeeDee Lamb, Charleston Rambo and Jalen Reagor so not exactly a need.
But if James Robinson or Joseph Lewis are ready to be Sooners, you take them. Robinson was thinking of a visit this weekend, but it couldn’t happen. Lewis, the No. 1-ranked receiver by Scout, is set to visit Norman next month for Baylor weekend.
Inside linebacker is a little more of a need but still not a huge one when you have Draper and Phillips. What happened to Evans should open the door for somebody like Tyler Taylor to become that sixth linebacker if he chooses to do so.
It’s hard to envision another school outside of Georgia standing a legitimate chance in landing Taylor, who has already made two great visits to Norman.
Not even sure if this final one should be called OLB or just “K’Lavon Chaisson.” Seriously. You leave a spot for him somewhere if he decides he wants it.
Chaisson has been a confusing recruitment with so many twists and turns. OU won’t back away from him, though. Too talented to pass up if he wants in.
That’s the breakdown. If guys leave early for NFL Draft, number changes. If OU lands a couple of those luxuries, numbers change. OU has to hit on some (if not all) of those needs.
SoonerSquad17 is ranked No. 1. It can’t and it won’t rest on its laurels. Still work to be done.