Taquon Graham (© Greg Powers)

OU's defensive 'wish list' - January

Final edition of OU's defensive wish list for 2017. Sooners looking for a splash at all spots.

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 January. 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: Houston Christian’s Josh Rogers. The Sooners took their best shot with Rogers on his official visit last month. Sooners made his final six, but Texas A&M is absolutely lurking out there. He’s a hybrid, somebody who could play end or tackle. He actually prefers tackle, but it feels like he would be better suited for end. Relationship with Calvin Thibodeaux has OU solidly in the mix no matter when a decision is reached.

Next in line: http://www.scout.com/player/195794-taquon-graham?s=73

Temple (Texas) High’s Taquon Graham. It’s OU or Texas, pretty simple. Graham has been committed to the Longhorns for the last four months but absolutely loved Charlie Strong. With Herman in the fold, it’s going to be about whether or not he feels comfortable in Austin. If he doesn’t, a Scout 300 prospect will fall right into OU’s lap because of the relationship he has built with Thibodeaux and the rest of the staff.

On the radar: None. At least right now. Thibodeaux knows he needs to close strong. He’ll search all over for right fit.

Defensive tackle (2)


Committed (1): Weatherford (Texas) High’s Zack McKinney. OK, one down, one to go. OU wasn’t able to land a home run in the junior college ranks, but the Sooners earned McKinney’s pledge last month. He was down to OU and Texas before picking the Sooners because of their stability as a program and success on the field. McKinney is someone who played well during his senior season and earned his way into getting an offer.

Favorite: None. Not going to lie and say there is one. Thibodeaux will keep working, you know that.


Next in line: Houston Episcopal’s Marvin Wilson. OU made the final five cut last week, but at best, would say the Sooners are third. Have to work on that in the next month, and OU’s impressive performance against Auburn was exactly what the doctor ordered. It still feels like he won’t go too far away from home so hard to see Ohio State. But if you’re basing it on regional affiliations, not much separates OU and LSU. Thibodeaux has done an in-home, and Bob Stoops coming this month.

On the radar: None. Again, we’ll find out.

Linebacker (5-6)


Committed (5): 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. After all the speculation about UCLA and Texas A&M, once again the Sooners have been able to maintain another talented prospect. Gumbs seemed to be truly up in the air at the beginning of last month, but the Sooners did right on the field and put in the work on the recruiting trail. Gumbs is one of 11 mid-year enrollees arriving in Norman next week.


Riviera Beach (Fla.) Suncoast’s K’Jakyre Daley. OK, playing the waiting game here. Daley has been a firm commit for the Sooners since October, but Florida State has arrived. The Seminoles offered last month, and he will visit next weekend. If OU can somehow survive that trip, the Sooners are fine. But it’s a huge if at this time of year.


Nashville (Tenn.) East Nashville’s Jacob Phillips. It’s wrong to call him the biggest commit of the cycle for OU, but he could end up being that guy. No ties to the program, but OU was able to withstand schools like Texas A&M and Alabama when it was all said and done. Phillips is a major piece to OU’s puzzle and gives OU two of the top 10 inside linebackers in the nation for the 2017 class.


Favorite: Buford (Ga.) Lanier’s Tyler Taylor. If the Sugar Bowl was the unofficial Tyler Taylor Bowl, then the Sooners did everything right earlier this week. When you add in the fact Daley might head to Tallahassee, it feels like the spot is opening up for Taylor to come in and snatch it. He’s made two visits and Tim Kish was in Georgia last month.

On the radar: None. And that’s OK right now.

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: Fresno (Calif.) Central East’s Jaylon Johnson. He committed to Utah in November but finally made that long-awaited trip to Norman last month. We know about OU’s history in Fresno, but the Sooners knocked it out of the park with Caleb Kelly. Johnson will take more visits in January, and it will be intriguing to see how aggressively OU pursues him.

On the radar: None. Jordan Thomas coming back really took away any burden at cornerback.

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: Midwest City (Okla.) High’s Evan Fields. Is it legit or not? He’s not offered yet, but he’s the most realistic target out there and most realistic offer just waiting to happen. Kerry Cooks likes what he has seen from Fields during his senior year so far. Still seems to be about the stars aligning to make this one work once and for all and perhaps OU throwing in the towel with Jeffrey Okudah. With Broiles being his cousin, it would be quite the story. Fields will announce Jan. 30. OU not in final six at moment.


Next in line: Muskogee (Okla.) High’s Kamren Curl. Now ranked the No. 1 safety in the state, Curl needs to be won over by OU during the next month or so. A lot of other Power 5 schools were there first and a lot longer than the Sooners that OU cannot just waltz in and offer and win the day. OU has done everything right since making the offer three weeks ago, but it’s in for a battle against schools like TCU and Nebraska and Arkansas. A finalized visit list should be set very soon.


Hialeah Gardens (Fla.) Mater Academy’s Latavious Brini. This seems crazy. He’s a Florida kid that has felt like a Miami commit for months. But in talking to multiple sources in Florida, the Sooners opened his eyes in a major way during his visit. OU will make his final three. What happens there is really anybody’s guess right now.

On the radar: It feels like another name should be out there. It does, but just don’t realistically see it right now.

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: Joshua Paschal, Matt Leo, Lee Autry, Noah Daniels.

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