After a rough month of in-state recruiting, the stakes just feel higher for Oklahoma with Midwest City (Okla.) High defensive end/outside linebacker Jalen Redmond.
The Sooners were hoping to go 7-for-7 with in-state offers for the 2018 class but right now have three commits with three pledged elsewhere. Getting Redmond could put OU over .500 in that regard.
And OU is doing whatever it can to make sure Redmond’s ultimate choice is indeed the crimson and cream. Defensive coaches Mike Stoops and Calvin Thibodeaux were back at Midwest City on Thursday to check in on the Scout 300 prospect.
Redmond, who had zero varsity experience before last season, became a name to watch with his speed and his explosiveness. A winter and spring full of offers led Redmond to be comfortable enough to release a top six Sunday evening.
OU, TCU, Arizona State, Nebraska, Memphis and Kansas State have made the initial cut.
“My top six could change, but I wanted to narrow it down,” Redmond said. “Those are the schools that are talking to me the most.”
Redmond has to play it by ear as a week like this continues to show him he has no clue what sort of interest is on the horizon. Georgia became the first SEC school to offer Redmond earlier this week, but Redmond said the top six hasn’t changed yet.
It’s a top six for a reason because Redmond has developed a bond with those schools and saw four of them in the last month. He made trips to TCU, OU, Nebraska and Kansas State.
“Of course, Nebraska stood out the most to me,” said Redmond about which visit made the biggest impression. “They say there’s no place like Nebraska, and now I know why. I really enjoyed it.”
Included in that was like an umpteenth trip to Norman as the Sooners have been recruiting Redmond basically as long as any other school outside of Memphis.
Whenever Redmond is seen, it’s usually wearing OU apparel. Even if it can make for an awkward moment and photograph.
Redmond was on hand last week for Ron Tatum’s announcement last week at Putnam City. Tatum, of course, picked Texas, which was a bit odd for Redmond who was sporting OU colors. And an ensuing picture of Tatum and Redmond together, doing the #HookEm sign.
“I had a feeling it was going to be Texas,” Redmond said. “Patrick (Fields) thought it was going to be Texas. It did get kind of awkward, though. I got a lot of stuff on Twitter about that picture.
“I told Ron I’d put the Horns up for him, but I wasn’t taking the OU shirt off. He said that was OK so we did it. I’m happy for him. He made the best decision for him and his family.”
Now Redmond is trying to do the same. A top six can sometimes imply a decision could be right around the corner, but Redmond is in no rush.
He said the plan remains to commit in early December right after his senior season so then he can focus on his senior year of basketball.
Redmond, at one time, was considered a dual-sport threat, but he said the last year has absolutely taught him football is the way to go. He loves basketball, but he’s 100 percent dedicated toward football although he will play for the Bombers basketball team one more year.
No varsity experience at this time last year, Redmond is in a much different state of mind now. Not hesitating, fully confident in what he’s doing.
He said all schools, including OU, see him as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 defensive front where he’s rushing off the edge and playing in coverage.
Though no plans to commit anytime soon, Redmond said the Sooners aren’t slowing down.
“They let me know a lot how much they want me,” he said. “Patrick (Fields) is always telling me to stay home. It’s still there, that connection.
“The spring game trip was a lot like the others, but it was different. I was around Mike Stoops more than usual, and I was really watching the players and seeing where I would fit in.”
Redmond and Midwest City begin spring practice May 15.