Jacob Phillips (Photo by Chad Simmons)

What if? Examining OU & the early signing period for the 2016, 2017 classes

What if.... taking a look at OU's 2016, 2017 classes if the new early signing period had been implemented.

It was about as major news in recruiting as you can get in May when it was announced Monday afternoon an early signing period is in play from now on.

From Dec. 20-22 will feature a 72-hour window for recruits to sign their letter of intent and not have to wait until the first week of February or even for the mid-year enrolling process in January.

It’s just right for some. It’s too late for others in terms of the date, but it’s a change. And nobody knows how Oklahoma and all the other schools will go about it.

On The BoneMan Show podcast, discussed in detail what it could mean for OU moving forward with the 2018 class and beyond.

***Click here to listen to The BoneMan Show on Sooner Sports Radio***

But what we want to do here is play the what if game, which can always be dangerous. It’s not fair to say because if the rules were in effect for the 2016 and 2017 classes, you have no clue if these kids would have changed their point of view and how they handled things.

So it’s not a 100 percent accurate reflection, but it’s just a fun little exercise to examine OU’s 2016 and 2017 classes and look at recruits who were committed Dec. 20 to another school but ended up at OU or were Sooners and decided to sign elsewhere.


OT Erik Swenson

See, this one already gets tricky. Swenson was committed to Michigan since his freshman season before everything unraveled in January 2016 and the uncertainty of whether he had a committable offer from Michigan and Jim Harbaugh. What if Harbaugh says no, but then other schools like Wisconsin and Northwestern would have had room for Swenson in December? They didn’t in late-January, but who knows what could have happened?

WR Zach Farrar

Another one that’s not quite the scenario. Farrar committed to Mississippi State before flipping to OU just days before signing day. His recruitment was up in the air for a strong portion of time as it felt like the Sooners were never going to come around. And he actually pledged to the Bulldogs in January 2016 so maybe nothing would have changed.

DE/OLB Mark Jackson

This is the big one. Jackson was recruited by OU for two years but was committed to Texas A&M for a long time. Now by Dec. 20, most believed Jackson was going to be a Sooner, but he remained an Aggie until the week before a signing day. What if A&M had pushed Jackson for a signature Dec. 20, and OU never would have gotten its shot? What would have Jackson said there?


Tre Norwood


This one might not be remembered as much as some of the others. But as of Dec. 20, Norwood was still committed to Louisville. And if any school was lurking, it was Notre Dame that felt like the school to watch. What if Norwood had signed with the Cardinals and never visited OU? Or would have he took a leap of faith with the Irish?

Tyreece Lott


When you talk to Lott now, it’s hard to imagine him elsewhere. But on Dec. 20, he was a Horned Frog. It was TCU that had put in the hard work and had made him a top priority. OU didn’t come into play until about two weeks before signing day when the Sooners decided Lott was somebody they could ill afford to miss out on. What if Lott felt shunned by OU and decided to sign with TCU? Lott committed the second week of December and could have rode that wave of adrenaline to Fort Worth.

Troy James


Another defensive tackle and another intriguing option here. OU had made James a pretty big priority in the months of October and November, but James committed to Arkansas and seemingly was never going to look back. It wasn’t until a mid-week visit to Norman the week before signing day where the ball started to roll in OU’s favor. What if James had felt he had seen what he needed to in Fayetteville and stuck with the Hogs?

Jacob Phillips


Those are three where OU won out in the end, but this one? This one still hurts for OU fans. Phillips was a major member of SoonerSquad17 and seemed to be about as all-in with the Sooners as can be for the 2017 class by Dec. 20. No talk of LSU, no talk of anything. Heck, even as late as January with the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, he was wearing OU gear like crazy and hanging out with OU commits at the game. What if OU could have convinced Phillips to sign in December? How big of a piece to the puzzle would he be right now at inside linebacker, a major position with lack of depth for OU? It can only be a what if, though. Phillips is headed to Baton Rouge, and OU had to accept the fate.

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