Gut-check time for Oklahoma recruiting. When coming off such a successful class as OU’s #SoonerSquad17 was, sometimes you expect things to just keep rolling.
The highly touted group was No. 6 in Scout’s rankings, the best for a Sooners class since the second-ranked squad of 2010.
And the 2018 class seemed to be rolling with three commits in the Scout 150 before everything went south, literally and figuratively, in recruiting.
Started Saturday night when Newbury Park (Calif.) High quarterback Cameron Rising flipped his commitment from OU to Texas.
Rising, committed to OU since Aug. 7, visited OU and Texas during this month, and it’s clear Austin trumps Norman in his opinion.
A clean break. OU is not going back to Rising. Wouldn’t shock me if OU never talks to the Rising family again after this incident. Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley has already unfollowed Rising on Twitter and is moving on.
The ripple effects of Rising going to Texas are being felt. It would be a huge overstatement that Rising’s departure is why OU lost its two 2019 four-star receivers on back-to-back days, but it might have played a tiny role.
When evaluating Richmond (Texas) Travis’ Arjei Henderson, it’s hard to say anybody is shocked about him decommitting Sunday evening.
It was absolutely a great moment when Henderson committed to OU at junior day two months ago, but his recruitment was only starting to get intense.
It’s still only starting to get intense. Henderson has 37 offers right now with the majority of them coming since that February pledge to the Sooners.
OK, we’re more than 21 months away from 2019 signing day so maybe that was just a bit too early for Henderson, who hasn’t returned to Norman since the junior day visit.
It feels a little bit different with Allen (Texas) High’s Theo Wease. He appeared to be making an informed decision at the time when he made the choice with Henderson within minutes of each other.
Wease had been hard at work in trying to set the foundation for OU’s #NewWave19. He visited three weeks ago for the spring game. He was back in Norman two weeks ago with multiple top prospects from Allen. He was putting in the work on social media.
Then Monday came and his social media was basically erased of anything OU related and you knew the time was coming.
Three days, three decommitments. What happened? Is OU in serious trouble? Is this a blip on the radar?
Rising is different than Wease and Henderson. Different circumstances but still the same result. There are rumors of massive negative recruiting going against OU right now. That’s not new to the recruiting game, but it might be picking up steam here.
The Rising family already had the family connection with Tom Herman so you know that played a role. They liked Austin more than Norman so that played a role. The worry that Lincoln Riley might leave to become a head coach somewhere played a role.
Add it all up, and Rising is a Longhorn and not a Sooner.
Henderson and Wease just feel like guys who made decisions too soon. The spring evaluation period is here and maybe they don’t want to be connected to a program going through this process.
There is nothing to suggest of a bigger picture of issues at OU right now. Absolutely nothing to suggest anything of that sort.
What is there to suggest is recruiting is going to have to be ramped up a notch, and OU could get a boost Wednesday afternoon.
OKC Putnam City defensive end Ron Tatum, ranked No. 154 in the Scout 300, is ready to make his call between OU, Texas, TCU, Georgia and Alabama.
Let’s get real. This is a two-horse race. It’s OU or Texas with both sides feeling pretty good at the moment.
Tatum was offered by OU back in October, and it’s hard to even count how many times he has been to Norman since that occasion. Tatum has also been in Austin although OU fans are relieved to know he was at OU’s spring game but didn’t attend the one in Austin a week later.
This would be the blow. If Herman could lure a pure OU guy to Austin, it would be a sign of just how much faith is being put in Herman and what he can do at Texas.
You want to end negative recruiting? Start piling up the prospects. OU has a chance this week with Tatum, and it’s one it cannot miss out on.
Moore (Southmoore) offensive tackle Brey Walker is still there. Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy running back is still there. That’s two of the top 20 in the class. So don’t hit the panic button yet, but it’s time for the OU coaches to reassert their dominance. In the state, in the region, in the commit column.