Will OU's SoonerSquad17 live up to the hype & No. 6 ranking?

The hype has been real. The No. 6 ranking is legit. Now, the rest will be up to SoonerSquad17.

Seven years. There are times when seven years doesn’t feel like a lot. Then there are others where it feels like an eternity.

Talking college football recruiting and seven years, leaning more toward the latter instead of the former. This is Oklahoma’s best class in seven years. You think about that with all the Big 12 championships won and New Year’s Six Bowl wins in that span, this is the group, on paper, could set Sooners apart.

OU closed the 2017 class with 27 signees. SoonerSquad17 is no longer just a slogan for a class. They’re here. They’re officially Sooners.

“I really appreciate the hard work of the assistant coaches in the way they developed this class, and the players themselves who really did a great job of building an identity with the SoonerSquad17 and just the bond they created throughout the past year,” head coach Bob Stoops said. “They did a great job getting up here together.

“Our assistants did a great job bringing them together on different occasions to continue to build that bond. It really held strong throughout this year. I feel we signed one of the best classes we’ve signed in 19 years.”

Of course isn’t that what Stoops is supposed to say? It did appear to feel a little different Wednesday afternoon. It did seem more genuine.

Nineteen four-star prospects. Eight three-star prospects. Not a single reach among them. No last-gasp who the heck can we find at this hour type of commitment. An incredible group named SoonerSquad17 by highest-ranked signee Robert Barnes and former assistant coach Chip Viney (now at Nevada).

The hype has been perhaps at an all-time high for this group. Expectations are going to be through the roof. The family atmosphere has already arrived.

“Our ability to be close and with them as assistant coaches and everyone in our program and the connection there,” Stoops said. “And the connection with one another.

“And the connection with the vision of what’s happening here too coming up, coming off another top-five finish and the stadium project being completed, there’s a lot of positives that they see to go along with the unity they had with one another and us.”

In 2010, OU finished No. 2 in Scout’s rankings. A No. 6 final ranking Wednesday is the best mark since that occasion, and it’s not really even close.

The “reserve your spot” method paid off in spades. The group effort in recruiting by the coaches couldn’t have panned out any better.

Sure there wasn’t a last-minute, jaw-dropping surprise, but there didn’t need to be. Thirteen on offense. Thirteen on defense. And one on special teams. Balance and a job well done.

OU is coming off back-to-back Big 12 championships. A playoff berth in the 2015 season and concluded 2016 on a 10-game winning streak.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield is the early (real early) favorite for the Heisman Trophy. A top-five or top-10 rankings seems guaranteed for 2017.

Yet based on rankings alone, the best, believe it or not, is still to come for OU when SoonerSquad17 arrives in full this summer.

“It is like Christmas morning because you get to work with all these young men, develop them and see how they can help your team,” Stoops said. “That’s exciting when there’s so many of them. Anticipating what they can bring. It’s like Christmas morning all the time.”

A Christmas morning this time around without one dud in the group of presents.


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