WR Jaylen Waddle (© Greg Powers)

Sooner Intel: OU's attempt at an #HTownTakeover?

Intel returns highlighting OU trying to make a dent in Houston.

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.

Sometimes it just takes one. Get that one commit and then let everything else start to take care of itself on the recruiting trail.

The Houston area is full of top talent. Across the board, it feels like there is no way you could get shut out from all the prospects in the area.


Oklahoma got on the board last week with Houston Cypress Falls cornerback Starrland Baldwin. And now? The Sooners are in the thick of things.

“To be honest, I think I can play a pretty big role in terms of them,” Baldwin said. “I’ve played with a lot of those top recruits.”



There are two that OU fans should absolutely circle are Houston Cypress Springs safety Leon O’Neal and Houston Bellaire Episcopal wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.

Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe not, but both O’Neal and Waddle have been rumored to have been mistreated by Texas during their recruitment to open things up.

O’Neal thought he was a top priority for the Longhorns, but then Texas was able to flip Cibolo (Texas) Steele’s Caden Sterns earlier this month.

Waddle thought he was a top pick for Texas, but the Longhorns already have their slot receiver in Justin Watkins from Florida.

OU doesn’t have its top-notch safety or its slot receiver as of this time, meaning the Sooners could absolutely score big with both of them.

There are a lot of connections with them. One of the biggest is everybody remembers when Baldwin visited OU for junior day in February and earned the offer? Well, O’Neal drove with Baldwin from Houston to Norman for that occasion.

Baldwin was at O’Neal’s spring game this last week and the two have been friends for a long time.

“I’m definitely hoping Leon and Jaylen join me at OU,” Baldwin said.

Then there is the 7-on-7 component of everything. Team Fast has taken the state of Texas by storm, and it was O’Neal and Baldwin that got the ball rolling in that department.

Waddle is also on the team as are a number of other top recruits from all over and committed to various schools.

“We talk about a lot of things and some of that is recruiting,” Baldwin said. “We really want Leon and Jaylen. I know OU is going to make every cut they have, and then we’ll see.”

Where things get interesting is whether Team Fast actually makes a team trip to Norman. When asked if he was returning to OU anytime soon, Baldwin said the plan has been for the entire 7-on-7 team to make a trip to OU.

That would mean guys like Sterns, like Casey Thompson, like Waddle and O’Neal, you get the picture. If it could be pulled off, it would be an incredible recruiting opportunity for the Sooners.

It doesn’t stop in football, though. OU basketball has focused a lot more on Houston in recent years, and it has paid off.

Although technically Kameron McGusty played his senior season at Bel Aire (Kan.) Sunrise Christian, he’s a Houston kid, growing up in Katy, Texas.

Christian James went to Houston Bellaire. OU’s first pledge for 2018 is a Katy kid in Katy Tompkins shooting guard Jamal Bieniemy.


And perhaps OU’s prized recruit for 2018 could be from the area with The Woodlands (Texas) College Park point guard Quentin Grimes.

Add that to assistant coach Carlin Hartman, who knows the area incredibly well from his time coaching at Rice. And add that to defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux, who grew up in Houston, and you start to see why the Sooners and should and will continue to attack the area.

It’s not an all-out #HTownTakeover, but the Sooners are making their imprint just a bit more little by little in the area.

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