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.
The 2017 class is in the books for Oklahoma. SoonerSquad17 is ranked No. 6 overall, and Scout recruiting gurus have let you know how the rankings are.
Now Sooners Illustrated will put on its ranking/evaluating hat and give you the 11 names to watch (at least 11) heading forward.
No real rhyme or reason for this. Pure opinion. Some of it is based on production. Some of it based on potential.
Without further ado, Boneman’s SS17 Top 11:
1. WR CeeDee Lamb
It just feels like he cannot miss. Why he wasn’t a top 50 player or in the conversation for five-star status absolutely is baffling. He put one of the most jaw-dropping single seasons in Texas high school football history. Speed, size, hands, confidence. He has it all. And should have it all in Norman, especially with the great set of quarterbacks for the Sooners.
2. S Robert Barnes
The qualifier here is recovering from that fractured fibula. If he does, watch out. Barnes has always been a playmaker in the secondary, but he showed real signs at receiver as a senior. No, he’s not playing both ways in Norman, now you know he has a diverse set of talents to where he should feel comfortable doing whatever is asked of him for OU.
3. QB Chris Robison
The hardest one, by far, to place. His performances are great. Never a dud among them. The question becomes staying healthy, which he couldn’t do in last two seasons. And then being good enough to topple guys like Austin Kendall, Kyler Murray and if Cameron Rising sticks around for 2018. Robison is really good, but we’re going to find out if he’s really, really good.
4. ILB Levi Draper
Draper took a dip it felt like because not many were impressed with his outing at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Or maybe people were just more impressed with Jacob Phillips. Either way, one week doesn’t wipe out more than two years of pure dominance at the state level. Has the best chance of anybody in terms of being an immediate difference maker because of lack of depth at ILB.
5. RB Kennedy Brooks
Lincoln Riley said it best. He’s not flashy, but he’s effective. Exactly the way described him since saw him live back in October. Not the fastest but quick enough. Not the strongest but strong enough. Great patience, great vision. And you simply cannot discount anybody who rushed for more than 6,000 yards in two seasons against the best of the best in the Dallas Metroplex.
6. OG Marquis Hayes
Think he’ll be the best offensive lineman because he epitomizes everything Bill Bedenbaugh loves about offensive lineman. He has the size of a tackle but will dominate at the next level at guard. Watch his film, listen to him talk, used the word nasty to describe him. When Hayes was asked same question, he said vicious. Yep, OU knew what it wanted here.
7. OLB Addison Gumbs
Gumbs would probably be higher if it wasn’t for that dang logjam at outside linebacker/edge rusher right now. This year seems set with Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Caleb Kelly, and then you don’t know how Mark Jackson will improve. Kapri Doucet is on campus. K’Jakyre Daley and Kenneth Murray are in same class. But yea, Gumbs feels like a special talent who will rise above.
8. WR Marquise Brown
Brown’s versatility is going to be a nice shot in the arm. Does feel like a guy who can play both inside and outside for the Sooners. Unfair to compare him to Dede Westbrook despite the multiple parallels the two seem to share. As long as Brown can make that juco-to-OU adjustment, he should be in for a great three years (or less) at OU.
9. DE Isaiah Thomas
Mike Stoops said it best at signing day by saying Thomas might have the most upside of any signee ever recruited by the Stoops machine at OU. Seriously. Don’t look for it in 2017, but don’t be surprised if Thomas is among the best defensive linemen in the Big 12 for 2018, 2019. With full-time coaching by Calvin Thibodeaux combined with conditioning, whew, there is no ceiling.
10. DT Troy James
Really like this last-weekend addition here. Quality size, versatility in high school means something. Yea, understand James is never going to be asked to be fullback for the Sooners. But it’s nice to know that he was and that he could. The move to a four-man front was ideal match for James, and it’s obvious Thibodeaux has liked him for a while and knows what he can do.
11. ATH Ryan Jones
Though still torn on whether it’s safety or receiver, production shouldn’t be an issue for Jones. The four-star prospect was regarded by many in the region as the No. 1 recruit in North Carolina for 2017 based on talent alone. Well, his attitude issues are in the past so yea, we’re basing this on talent and his potential. His size will be nice for OU no matter what side of the ball the Sooners choose for Jones.