Oklahoma is going to finish its spring season this week with two more practices, and then it’s time to hit the road for the coaches.
The spring evaluation period began over the weekend, meaning the next six weeks will be about adding to #SavageTeam2K18 and #NewWave19 and (insert hashtag) 2020 class.
Not even that long ago, the spring evaluation period was about making offers to that year’s crop of recruits where you were maybe on the fence about before but are now ready to make that leap.
Recruiting has changed so much that it feels like that’s not even close to the case. The ‘new’ spring evaluation period seems to be the day after signing day until whenever spring football starts for a respective school.
The Sooners went crazy with offers right after signing day, and it’s tough to really gauge if any game-changing offers can be made during the next six weeks for the 2018 class.
If you offer a top prospect, well, that recruit probably has an offer from a who’s who in college football. If you offer an under the radar guy, a lot of people will criticize he brings down the quality of the class.
So instead of giving an overview of prospects to watch for OU coaches to offer until May 31, going to give you some storylines to follow in the next six weeks.
Lock down the border
More than ever before. Lock down the Oklahoma border. No other way to say it and hard to overstate it, too, last weekend was a blow for OU recruiting in the state.
Three top names all going elsewhere. One, OK, you can justify. Since OU already its quarterback commit in Newbury Park (Calif.) High’s Cameron Rising, you can let it slide about Moore Southmoore’s Casey Thompson picking Texas.
And then because of the incredible job offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh has done with interior recruiting, guess losing Bixby’s Bryce Bray to Oklahoma State is OK.
And when you hit on hopefully a home run with borderline five-star prospect Robert Barnes for 2017, then seeing Owasso’s Josh Proctor commit to Ohio State is easier to digest.
Individually? Each one has its own justifiable cases. As a collective whole, though, OU needs to lock it down again.
When the Sooners made their 2018 in-state offers, it felt like it would be a clean sweep outside of Thompson.
Is that arrogance by the coaches? Sooners Illustrated? Maybe, but there wasn’t one person who felt like OU was in trouble for:
*Moore Southmoore OT Brey Walker
*Tulsa Union DB Patrick Fields
*Tulsa Union DT Jordan Kelley
*OKC Putnam City DE Ron Tatum
*Midwest City DE/OLB Jalen Redmond
*Owasso S Josh Proctor
*Bixby OG Bryce Bray
Walker, Fields and Kelley are still 100 percent pledged to OU. Don’t panic there. But it’s hard to accept OU having Proctor and Bray on campus less than 10 days ago only to see them commit to other schools over the weekend.
And now those ‘locks’ of Tatum and Redmond become even more interesting and even more vital. Tatum has been to Texas. Redmond has been to Nebraska. There are schools giving these guys reasons to pause.
It’s up to OU to silence those whispers during this period.
Show me commits (or at least attention) in the Show Me State
It’s a fantastic year for high school football in Missouri, and OU needs to capitalize on that in a major way. If OU is going to swing-and-miss with some top kids in Texas (as it appears will be the case), then clean up the other area of the Midlands.
When OU offers a prospect in Missouri, it should mean something. Just happens that these three are on the defensive side of the ball, but now’s the time to strike.
They haven’t been to OU throughout the spring process. OK for them to not see the campus if you put in the work to make sure OU doesn’t become out of sight and out of mind.
Figure it out with the Orji family
OU has done an outstanding job of recruiting Rockwall (Texas) High inside linebacker Alston Orji for the 2018 class.
The family was back in Norman last weekend, and Orji has said repeatedly how much he enjoys talking with linebackers coach Tim Kish.
If this was just about Alston, game, set, match for Sooners. But it’s not. Even though Alston has said all the right things regarding having a separate recruitment than 2019 safety Anfernee, history shows that’s rarely the case.
Bobby and Tay Evans is the last one-two brother punch for OU. The Sooners have tried to offer just one brother in the past (Armanti instead of D’Onta Foreman), (Tylan instead of Tracin Wallace), it doesn’t work out.
Anfernee Orji is picking up steam on the trail for 2019. The faster OU figures that out, the faster Alston is a part of #ST2K18. OU needs to wrap up recruitments where it has put in the work. Let those guys start putting on their recruiting hat in the summer. Orji is as good of a place to start as anybody.