Sooner Intel: OU rolling out red carpet for T.J. Pledger

Intel returns with an update on T.J. Pledger, OU's top running back target for 2018.

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.

Final weekend of March, and Oklahoma is looking to close out in a major way. The Sooners expect to hear good news at least once but maybe even twice on the recruiting trail for the 2018 class.

All eyes are going to be on Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy running back T.J. Pledger as he is expected to make his long-awaited trip to Norman.

Pledger, ranked No. 20 in the Scout 100 and No. 3 at running back, has clearly been OU’s No. 1 choice at the position for the last several months.

Although running backs coach Jay Boulware did indeed end up making several offers in January and February, things have gone quiet on that front ever since it has felt like Pledger has become the top priority.

Though most believe Pledger is going to commit to the Sooners when it’s all said and done, the speculation is about when. Pledger has been consistent about saying he wants to visit Nebraska’s spring game, but there are those who believe he might never make it to Lincoln.

Two sources connected to OU and one source connected to Pledger have said there’s a strong chance that as long as Pledger arrives in Norman this weekend, he’ll leave as the next pledge for OU’s #SavageTeam2K18.

One thing OU has working in its favor is the friendship built between Pledger and OU quarterback commit, Newbury Park (Calif.) High’s Cameron Rising.

“Cameron is talking to guys all the time he can, especially T.J. Pledger,” said Nicko Rising, Cameron’s father. “They talk a lot.”

They don’t just talk, now they play. Pledger and Rising were on the same 7-on-7 team at an even last weekend on the west coast. The Pro Way Hot Boyz went 8-0 during the event take home the championship.

“Cam and T.J. were clicking on all cylinders,” Nicko said. “It’s like they have been playing together for 10 years.”

It’s hard to imagine the excitement from the OU side of things if three of its first five pledges are not only Scout 300 kids but Scout 100 kids. A firm foundation would be set with Rising, Pledger and Moore (Okla.) Southmoore five-star offensive tackle Brey Walker.

Pledger is someone who can do it all on the field. Someone who can be as dangerous out of the backfield as a receiver as he can as a running back.

The waiting game continues. The countdown is on. But are we just about at the time for that clock to expire and Pledger to come home to OU?

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