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 success of Oklahoma’s #SoonerSquad17 means there are going to be constant comparisons by OU fans for the upcoming classes.
We’re already seeing that in 2018 at the quarterback position. Freshman quarterback Chris Robison was seemingly living in Norman after his commitment in June 2015. This time around? It’s not so easy for Newbury Park (Calif.) High quarterback Cameron Rising.
Rising, a Scout 100 prospect ranked No. 51 in the Scout 100, will, however, indeed be heading back to Norman for the spring game.
“We will be out there again,” said Nicko Rising, Cameron’s father. “April 6 – we’re flying out to Dallas. We will be there.”
Rising will drive to Ada from Dallas where they have family before making the hour-drive and taking a two-day visit to OU on Friday and the spring game Saturday.
The visit is going to be crucial because there are whispers of Rising looking around and perhaps considering other schools.
The Rising family is not denying the visits, but as of now, it doesn’t feel like it has anything to do with any type of falling out with the Sooners.
When Rising committed to OU back in August, he didn’t have an offer from Oregon. He didn’t have an offer from Texas. Now he does. The family visited Oregon last month and intends to visit Austin the week after OU’s spring game.
A lot has been made about Nicko Rising and his relationship with Texas coach Tom Herman. Nicko said perhaps too much has been talked about in that regard as they were two years apart back at Cal Lutheran although there is some familiarity there.
Nicko said he likes the way Herman interacts with his players. He makes them work hard, but he’s also a good motivator.
OU fans are no doubt a bit concerned about their potential future five-star commitment visiting other schools, but it’s not a surprise to offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley.
Nicko said Cameron and Riley had a conversation about what’s going on. No secrets going on here.
“Cameron and Lincoln had a long discussion, and Lincoln came away confident on Cameron’s commitment,” Nicko Rising said. “He doesn’t have a problem with it.”
It’s important Rising and Riley had that type of conversation. It was less than two months ago where Riley praised Robison for his loyalty to OU during the entire recruiting process.
There are positions where you can see things flip-flop and can see some musical chairs, but quarterback isn’t one of them as Riley pointed out at OU’s signing day press conference.
“That position is unique. It’s different,” Riley said. “The recruiting of quarterbacks almost has its own set of rules and standards. It’s unlike any other position that you normally only take one. There’s normally only one on the field.
“The spots tend to go maybe a little bit quicker. Once a couple of dominoes start to fall it goes quickly. That’s a conversation we have with quarterbacks before they commit here. That if there’s any hesitation or if they’re not 100 percent sold, then don’t commit. We don’t want you to because when you do, then we’re done and you need to be done too.”
The goal, it would appear, is for Rising to reach that “done” status following these trips. The Rising family made a cross-country field trip last summer, visiting a number of schools. That’s not expected to be the case here.
Nicko said the visits to Oklahoma and Texas are the only ones on the docket.
“After these trips, I do hope he knows,” Nicko Rising said. “I think that’s the plan. He knows what it means to be a quarterback commit. He knows how important it is to start building the rest of the class.”
That last point is indeed something to watch because the Sooners are at four commitments right now for 2018 when OU was already at nine this point last year.
Again, you don’t want to compare one year to the next, but it’s a natural tendency to do just that. Robison was very vocal on social media and things of that nature. Rising isn’t quite the same way, and certainly won’t be able to be in Norman as much.
Doesn’t mean he’s not recruiting like last week at The Opening regional in California where Rising went the whole day wearing an OU hat.
“Yes, there’s no doubt about that,” said Nicko about Cameron recruiting other prospects. “He’s always working hard to get guys.”
Cameron Rising didn’t earn the Elite 11 invitation last weekend, but he’s hopeful he will be included further down the road.
He is 100 percent back after an injury-plagued junior season where Nicko Rising said it took his son three months to finally feel like himself again. Cameron saw the field better, his football IQ has gotten greater but not being healthy put a damper on things.
“It was so disappointing, so frustrating,” Nicko Rising said. “He can’t change the way he plays, but he has to know how to protect himself.”
That uneven season made it impossible for the Rising family to visit Norman for a game during the 2016 season. The bond has been made with Riley, but the spring game trip is going to be pivotal in learning about other things at OU.
When Rising visited OU in the summer, it was when head coach Bob Stoops was at ESPN the entire day for the Car Wash where you go from one ESPN platform to another. Stoops was able to video chat with Rising but not actually be there.
The April trip can change a lot of things.
“It’s about getting a feel of the school,” Nicko Rising said. “The environment, a game situation. How the city is during a game and afterwards, seeing the student being engaged. There wasn’t any of that going on last time since it was the middle of summer so it’s important.”
It’s crucial for Rising to be comfortable with OU and not just Riley. Because no matter how much OU fans are going to want to downplay things, the prospect of Riley leaving for a head coaching position is very real and will be for however long Riley intends to plan on staying at OU.
“I’ve always liked Lincoln,” Nicko said. “He’s always been a straight shooter. He’s Lincoln, you know. I know Cameron has always liked him.
“But it’s gotta be a cause for concern. He’s a big reason why the offense does what it does. It’s not everything, but it’s important.”
Throughout the last couple of months, Cameron Rising has been consistent in saying he’s committed to OU but understands other schools are going to keep coming.
That’s going to have to be enough for OU fans, at least for now.
“He’s solid with OU,” Nicko Rising said. “I mean he’s really solid. It’s going to take an awful lot to get him off of that and to have things change.”