Oklahoma spent a lot of time last year trying to lock down a quality 2017 linebacker group, but the Sooners knew there was a big one for 2018 they were eyeing, too.
If things didn’t pan out 100 percent for 2017, OU could turn its sights toward Rockwall (Texas) High linebacker Alston Orji.
Things didn’t go as planned for OU in 2017 with Jacob Phillips leaving for LSU during the final week before signing day, but the Sooners are in a good spot with Orji, who is currently ranked No. 99 in the Scout 100.
A big part of that is the relationship being built with linebackers coach Tim Kish.
“I talk to Coach Kish a lot,” Orji said. “I love talking to him. I love talking life, not just football, and what’s going down there. He’s one of the most friendly guys I’ve ever been around.”
Orji and his family have made multiple trips to OU in the last year and one thing to watch is where OU stands with Anfernee Orji, a 2019 prospect who is also going to be recruited heavily.
Sometimes it’s clear brothers will be a package deal. There are other times when it’s not 100 percent certain that will be the case.
“We’re different people and like different things,” Orji said. “If we do end up at the same school, we would have to talk about that and make sure we have the same interests as to why we want to go to that school.”
OU isn’t going through a coaching change, but the scheme of the Sooners appears to be changing from a 3-4 defensive front to a 4-3. How much remains to be seen, but it’s also something that Orji isn’t thinking about too much.
Not trying to sound arrogant, but Orji trusts in his ability to play the game and adapt to whatever situation he’s in.
“The switch means you can apply more pressure on the front line, and it gives linebackers more versatility,” Orji said. “But most of my focus is on academics. As long as I play well, the football part will take care of itself.”
What isn’t taking care of itself is his decision. Orji said he doesn’t have a real timeline for when he wants to make his choice, adding he doesn’t want to go too fast, but he also doesn’t want to wait forever. It will be an educated decision.
Orji was impressive at The Opening regional last weekend in Frisco, Texas, and moved well for a linebacker of his size. Visits will keep occurring for Orji, and a return trip to OU is in the cards.
“I’m definitely trying to make another visit there in the spring and see the facilities,” Orji said. “The football there is amazing. Now I need to see more of the academic side.”