Sooner Intel: OU spring game edition

Intel returns with a look at the top OU spring game recruiting storylines... and there are a lot.

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 Oklahoma spring game doesn’t appear to have too many on-field storylines this weekend, but that is made up for by the fact there are loads of recruiting issues to follow.

The Sooners are ready for one of the biggest recruiting weekends of the year. You’re going to have signees, commits and top targets all in Norman, giving off that pro-OU vibe.

Weather couldn’t be any better. No severe threats this year. Only hiccup has been ACT weekend as well and several notable top targets for the 2018 and 2019 class (and signee Marquis Hayes) will be taking that test instead of being in Norman.

Let’s get to it.

Bob Przybylo/Scout

It’s an OU thing

Hard to describe it. But 12 of the 16 signees not enrolled are expected to be in Norman for one last time before they arrive for good in June. Five of the six 2018 commits will be in town and both of the 2019 commits are making their way back.

When you add that to all the targets that will be on campus, and you start to get a feel as to why it’s one of the biggest weekends for the Sooners and why this weekend could net some positive results on the trail.

Sometimes all you need is that little push. Well, when you’re with signees and commits that are already feeling everything OU is saying, that could be enough to make one or two (or three) make that leap and join #SavageTeam2K18.

Bob Przybylo/Scout

Who could commit?

This is the one you all want to know, right? Examining the visitors list and examining where some of these prospects are in their recruitments, and it does seem like the stars could align for OU.

The No. 1 spot to circle is offensive line. OU already has Moore (Okla.) Southmoore five-star offensive tackle Brey Walker locked down, but offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh could add one and maybe even two before the weekend is up.

First name to watch is Bixby (Okla.) High’s Bryce Bray. Coming off outstanding camp performances in the last month, Bray was offered by OU four weeks ago.

Bray is no stranger to OU, having camped there last year and has made multiple unofficial visits to campus. Bray confirmed he will be back in Norman this weekend and that he’s looking to make his choice in the spring.

That goes back to the first point. If you’re around all those OU feelings AND you know you’re going to decide in the spring anyway, sometimes it works itself out.

Bray has skyrocketed up the charts for those who didn’t know who he was before winning the Offensive Line MVP at The Opening regional last month. Now a high three-star prospect, he is the No. 1-ranked interior prospect in the state.

You could go from the No. 1-ranked interior OKPreps kid to the top offensive tackle in Texas as Justin (Texas) Northwest’s Darrell Simpson is expected to be back in Norman.

Simpson has long been one of OU’s top targets, and when you realize the lack of offensive tackle offers made by the Sooners in the last several months, the logic has been OU has Simpson locked up.

Ranked No. 78 in the Scout 100, Simpson has changed his tune regarding his commitment. Initially, felt like he would take it well into his senior season, saying he’d release a top 10 in the summer.

Now? Sounds like he’s about ready to make the move, saying he wants to announce in the spring. Again, what better time than at the game itself?

Bedenbaugh has done a tremendous job of recruiting Simpson for nearly two full calendar years, dating back to June 2015. If Simpson does indeed arrive on campus, good news could follow.

Moving away from the offensive line, and wide receiver will be the next one to circle. Giddings (Texas) High safety/receiver Treveon Johnson will be in town and this has that feel of if he makes it, he’ll flip.

Johnson has been committed to Texas Tech for a while, but his eagerness to be in Norman is usually a strong sign of where things really stand.

Listed as a safety by Scout, Johnson is being recruited as a receiver by the Sooners and would be OU’s first pledge at the position for the 2018 class.

Other major in-state names like Owasso safety Josh Proctor, Putnam City defensive end Ron Tatum and Midwest City’s Jalen Redmond will be in attendance as well although prevailing thought there is there none of them are quite ready to make the plunge.

That’s six names, six very realistic names to watch. OU could get zero. Could get one, two or more. Either way, the Sooners continue to put in the work on the trail.

Bob Przybylo/Scout

Rising, Austin back in town

Mentioned five of the 2018 commits will be at OU and that means return trips for Newbury Park (Calif.) quarterback Cameron Rising and Lancaster (Texas) High defensive back Jordon Austin.

Two commits that appear to be headed into two completely different directions.

Start with Rising. Since committing to OU back in August, he has been solid. Maybe not 100 percent as solid as OU fans would like, but he’s still been recruiting hard and was a huge reason why OU landed Scout 100 running back T.J. Pledger two weeks ago.

Rising has visited Oregon. He’s visited UCLA. But the one that ruffles feathers is the impending visit to Texas next weekend. Rising, who has family in Ada, is supposed to arrive at OU on Friday for a two-day visit.

The goal (dream?) would be for Rising to be so enamored with OU/Norman that Rising and his father decided to cancel the trip to Austin and don’t visit the Longhorns.

Rising’s initial trip to Norman was last July when there was no buzz at all around campus since school wasn’t in session. This weekend will be a mini-glimpse into seeing what a gameday atmosphere is like in Norman and what football means to Sooner Nation.

Rising and his family have developed an incredible bond with offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, but this weekend will be key to start branching out beyond that. To grow the bond with Bob Stoops. To grow the love affair with OU and Norman. To get to know some of the top commits and top targets in person.

There is a legitimate (and reasonable) concern among Rising and his family about Riley leaving for a head coaching spot either before Rising is on campus or after he arrives. No doubt it’s a possibility so OU has to make sure that relationship is so strong and that it goes beyond just a Riley connection.

This weekend is that opportunity.

Then you have Austin. Someone who last summer was ranked in the Scout 300 now is having a hard time cracking the top 50 at the safety position.

Despite a couple of junior days and a pro day for older brother, Dakota Austin, this will actually be Jordon’s first trip to Norman since Bedlam.

Jordon Austin has been recovering from a torn ACL suffered in October, and there has been wide speculation about where he’ll end up when it’s all said and done.

The curious part is Austin never really let defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks know what was up. Austin was so focused on handling this process alone that he shut himself out from OU because he didn’t want the Sooners to see him in his weakened physical and mental state.

Pride can be one thing, but it’s a little odd to go a couple of months with no communication. Austin said he’s excited to return to Norman, to reconnect with Cooks and see how things are going with the new facilities and things of that nature.

Cooks is a tireless recruiter and you know he’s always cooking something at defensive back. You wonder if Austin still fits into those plans. This weekend could give us a glimpse as to how things are going and if it’s trending in Austin staying with #ST2K18. It’s clear he wants to and has that desire, but the pieces have to fit.

Bob Przybylo/Scout

Offers? Anybody getting offers?

Again, this just sort of an indicator of how recruiting has changed. Once upon a time spring games were about making major offers to kids about to be seniors. Nowadays, an offer to a rising senior at this juncture is pretty much a waste of time.

OU has, of course, adapted to recruiting earlier and earlier, but it’s weekends like this where you realize just how much things have changed. It’s hard to look at the visitors list and see the potential offer for anyone in the 2018 class.

If there’s going to be any movement, all eyes should be turning toward 2019. Unfortunately, some major in-state names won’t make it because of the ACT. But if offers are going to be made, this is the class to circle in that regard.

One that could change in a hurry is Collinvsille (Okla.) High tight end Grayson Boomer. He’s continuing to rack up the offers and has been a bit miffed about the lack of OU attention.

The Sooners did the same thing with Levi Draper back in the day but were able to correct that situation. Maybe this weekend could be a bridge toward doing the same thing here.

Another one to watch would be Chance Cover. The 2019 inside linebacker was at OU’s junior day in February and has definitely caught the attention of Tim Kish.

The Sooners are going to evaluate Cover more in the spring so that might be where the offer happens, but it is a good sign for all parties involved that Cover is going to be returning to Norman in such a timely manner.

OU is also inviting 2019 Putnam City defensive end Collin Clay. All eyes are on Tatum for 2018, and Clay is right there behind him for 2019.

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