If there’s one position Oklahoma fans never have to worry about in recruiting, then it’s definitely running back.
No matter what, the Sooners always seem to hit it big and make the most of the talent once it arrives in Norman.
There’s big, and then there’s T.J. Pledger big. OU’s 2018 class received a major boost when the Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy running back announced his commitment to the Sooners on Saturday afternoon.
We’ll examine Pledger’s prowess on the field in a bit, but there are so many ways where it’s going to help the Sooners off the field.
Although Newbury Park (Calif.) High quarterback commit Cameron Rising has said he’s solid to OU, adding Pledger to the fold gives OU even more ammunition for the Scout 100 signal-caller to stick with the Sooners.
Rising and Pledger have developed a great bond and have been playing on the same 7-on-7 team here lately. Pledger is now at IMG, but he’s a California kid so that relationship is a lot deeper than it appears on the surface.
OU fans have been wondering for a while if the Sooners were ever going to make a dent in IMG. Each year the school is like a mini-football factory, but one OU had yet to really make its presence known.
That changes with Pledger in a major way. There are other names at IMG for OU to watch in offensive linemen Reuben Unije and Curtis Dunlap and wide receiver Joshua Moore, and now the Sooners finally have some on-site help with Pledger being committed.
The goal will also be to build an IMG pipeline at running back. OU offered 2019 prospect Noah Cain back when he was at Denton (Texas) Guyer. Now that Cain is at IMG, OU would love to snatch up Pledger and Cain in back-to-back classes.
It’s clear Pledger’s impact goes beyond his ability, but his ability is something that needs to be discussed as well. There’s a reason he’s ranked No. 20 in the Scout 100. There’s a reason he’s ranked the No. 3 running back in the country.
People see his 5-foot-8 frame and get a little concerned, but he’s a stout 5-8 at 200 pounds. He’s still fluid in open space and still able to be just as big a difference maker as a receiver out of the backfield as he can be as a running back.
Pledger is OU’s highest-ranked commit at the spot since another Cali kid, Joe Mixon, for the 2014 class. Pledger gave credit to Mixon as one reason for picking the Sooners.
They’re two completely different body types but bring that same type of highlight-in-the-making ability that should absolutely have OU fans excited for years to come.
Pledger announced after his commitment that he is shutting things down and won’t take anymore visits and will be a mid-year enrollee. Rising has also expressed the mid-year desire and would be fantastic for OU to not have to worry about either one of them down the signing day stretch.