What a difference a year makes. What a difference a change in scheme makes. Both points are valid when it comes to Oklahoma and its defensive line recruiting.
Last week marked the one-year anniversary of Calvin Thibodeaux being hired as OU’s defensive line coach, and it’s night-and-day where he is now compared to the 2017 class.
Where last year was about scrambling and trying to make things work, Thibodeaux’s experience combined with OU going to a four-man front has defensive line prospects salivating at the thought of being a Sooner again.
But just how many can OU take? The Sooners are in such a great position that it’s already time to break some of them down.
The traditional ‘wish list’ of offense and defense will return in May, but defensive line needs its own detailed recap right now.
In this two-day series, examine OU’s top targets at defensive end and defensive tackle… and there are a bunch of them.
Dallas Bishop Dunne’s Calvin Avery. Honestly, it’s a coin flip between Avery and Kelley as to who is the clear No. 1 guy. Both seem destined to be Sooners at this point. Thibodeaux has done a great job with Avery, culminating in a fantastic visit to OU for junior day two weeks ago. Avery seems to be one of those guys who wants to commit to OU but knows he should explore some more options before making it 100 percent official.
Tulsa (Okla.) Union’s Jordan Kelley. Give all credit to Kelley because he wasn’t on the radar after his camp performance last summer. Now? Oh yea, he definitely is, highlighted by earning the OU offer at junior day two weeks ago. This feels like another one of those ‘when’ he commits instead of an if proposition. Kelley grew up a huge OU fan, fits a great need at defensive tackle. The stars appear to be aligning for this one.
Next in line
Arlington (Texas) Lamar’s Bobby Brown
Two months ago would have placed Brown over both Avery and Kelley. Now that’s not to say OU has fallen out of favor with Brown or that OU has moved on from Brown. Simply saying, that based on actions, it feels like OU is a little further away with Brown than Kelley and Avery. In a class that feels like will be high on defensive tackles, they would make one heck of a trio for Thibodeaux to build off going forward. For what it’s worth, Brown hasn’t done much of anything in recruiting here lately.
On the radar
St. Louis Chaminade Prep’s Trevor Trout
There are a couple of names in Missouri to watch at defensive tackle, but for some reason, Trout just feels like the guy to really examine for OU. He has been quick to say how great his relationship is with Thibodeaux early in this process, and there’s no doubt the Sooners are among his early favorites. The question will be if OU can stay in contention, and if OU will want to stay in contention?