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.
Oklahoma has officially made the leap. The Sooners have left behind their recruiting strategies of years past and are gung-ho with what they’re doing now.
There is no better example of that than what occurred last Sunday at OU’s second junior day. First off, in years prior, there wouldn’t have really been any 2019 prospects offered. And you can definitely believe there would have been no commitments accepted, realizing full well they’ll still probably take other visits.
Recruiting has changed and now so, too, have the Sooners. Instead of fighting this change or being reluctant to go with the times, the Sooners are right in their line of thinking.
To recruit at a national, elite level, this is 100 percent how the game is being played now. You don’t have to like it, but you have to respect it and adhere to it.
Yes, it was a huge shock when Allen (Texas) High wide receiver Theo Wease and Richmond (Texas) Travis receiver Arjei Henderson both committed Sunday afternoon. But it’s not a bad thing to have 2019 prospects in your back pocket.
Signing day for the 2019 class is nearly 24 months away. Who knows how things are going to shake out, but OU needed a presence.
The Sooners don’t quite have that presence for 2018 as we speak. The guy that could, Newbury Park (Calif.) High four-star Scout 100 quarterback Cameron Rising, lives in California and won’t be around enough. He’s doing all he can from halfway across the country, but it’s not the same effect as seeing Chris Robison like every other weekend in Norman.
The guy that lives nearby in Moore, Okla., is Moore Southmoore five-star offensive tackle Brey Walker, but he doesn’t have the natural personality to be a recruiter for the class.
Where OU was littered with those guys for SoonerSquad17 in quiet confidence guys like Levi Draper and Robert Barnes and boisterous personalities like Chris Robison and Justin Broiles, OU’s #ST2K18 doesn’t quite have the oomph just yet.
Adding Wease and Henderson, though, is already giving #Norman19, the name for OU’s 2019 class, some much needed boost of energy. SoonerSquad17 landed at No. 6 in Scout’s rankings, the best for OU since a No. 2 ranking in 2010.
Wease and Henderson are already working to recruit more guys. Wease has been putting in the time on social media, imploring OU fans to reach out to top 2019 prospects and asking those same prospects to join the 2019 crop.
Saw in 2017 that even when you have a great class, you can lose one or two. Again, it’s how recruiting works in today’s landscape. But when you add five or six because of how aggressively you’re recruiting, the loss of one or two seems like a fair trade.
OU was getting behind the times in terms of its recruiting approach, in terms of how it dealt with social media and graphic design. That is not the case at all. Across the board, the Sooners are up-to-date again.
Success on the field? Check. New facilities? Check. Stable coaching environment? Check. OU is rolling right now, and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley is not wrong in saying the staff shouldn’t really be fighting too hard to convince people to be Sooners.
With everything that is going on, you should WANT to head to OU. Wease and Henderson are those guys, and they’re ready to get it started.
Now for story time…
By now, realize Henderson and Wease tweeted at the same exact minute Sunday afternoon that they were committing to OU.
There was never a plan to commit to the same school. There was never a plan to commit on the same day yet alone same minute.
It’s all how it worked out, said Wease.
“The plan was never for us to commit to the same school,” Wease said. “I knew OU was where I wanted to go after the first visit. I took a month to think about it.
“Arjei – we starting talking about it. We both knew. I know where I’m going. He said he thinks he knows where he’s going.
“So we’re in this group message and we’re both saying we know where we want to go but not saying where we’re going to go. We both text it. We both text OU. We knew.”