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.
It’s too early to say it, but it’s not too early to wish for it. If Oklahoma has its way, it won’t have to leave Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy to find its running backs for the 2018 and 2019 classes.
Step one was completed last weekend when T.J. Pledger, No. 20 in the Scout 100, committed to OU. Good news continued this week for Pledger as he was officially invited to The Opening on Thursday evening.
Step two is still too far off, but the Sooners have made a great early impression on 2019 running back Noah Cain.
Originally from Denton (Texas) Guyer, Cain transferred in the winter to IMG just like Pledger did to give IMG a lethal one-two punch in the backfield.
“Me and T.J. Pledger, OU sits high with us because they're just real down-to-Earth guys and good people," said Cain to Scout earlier this week. “I just want to check it out again.”
Cain has been to OU a couple of times, dating back to his days at Denton Guyer. He is the only running back for the 2019 class offered by OU at this point.
He returns Friday, fresh off a trip to Texas earlier in the week. Cain has had some impersonal trips the first time around. He’s looking for more with this visit.
“I know they have new facilities going on, plus I just want to meet with the coaches again to get more of a personal visit because the last times I've been have been games and junior days and stuff like that,” Cain said. “They've still shown me love, but I just want to go there for a more personal visit because I'm going up there with my mom, so we'll just be up there checking it out.”
It sounds arrogant to say, but any time OU makes an offer at running back it does feel like it’s noteworthy. The Sooners simply don’t offer many and usually because they don’t have to with the way the spot has produced on a yearly basis.
The kids used to say Adrian Peterson, but now the trend has gone to Demarco Murray and might even be Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine here in a short time. In other words, OU’s success speaks for itself at the position.
It’s something running backs coach Jay Boulware recognizes and is not afraid to use when it comes to recruiting.
“This is Oklahoma. This is Running Back U,” said Boulware when discussing the young group of backs at OU right now. “So I mean, there’s no patience for continuing to make the same mistakes over and over and over again. You’ve got to grow, and that’s the conversation I just got done having with them. You’ve got to continue to grow every single day. You’ve got to get better. That’s what I expect. That’s what we expect. That’s what this university expects.
“You’ve got a long line of great runners that have been here and played at this university. Either you’re going to be up here at that level or somebody’s going to come in here and beat you out.”
Cain was electric in his two seasons at Guyer, rushing for 2,741 yards. Last season? He rushed for 1,683 yards with 22 touchdowns, averaging more than eight yards per carry.
OU has laid the foundation with Pledger. The Sooners are building it with Cain and hope Friday is another step in the right direction.