James Hale reported last night in his Member Offseason Football notebook that 6-foot-6 wide receiver Quentin Chaney is beginning to get some serious 'wows' during the Sooners 7-on-7 drills. Just imagine a DB's reaction if Chaney and Joe John Finley (also 6-6), both lined up at opposite wideouts on the same play? Obviously, Finley plays TE most of the time. Remember, JJ played all over the field in high school, (including starting at QB his senior year), and easily has the speed and moves to set up at WR in 'RED ZONE' and short yardage situations. JJ also looks good in 7-on-7 and has the ability to use quick burst to find the open real estate after making a catch over the middle.
Looks like the Sooners staff will concentrate on making teams pay for a blitz this year with the TE picking up a lot more of the load. "The quick throw to the TE will probably be our best weapon against the blitz this year," one coach admitted last week. "So sure, you could see some situations where 'JJ' and Bubba (Moses) are both in the game - with JJ acting as a hybrid TE-WR. We'll use the tight end, and all of our guys, in many different ways this year. We won't be quite so predictable."
Another 'good looking' freshman is wide receiver Lendy Holmes. Lendy is working hard and even making an impression on the older Sooners. Holmes' hustle and determination led All-American Mark Clayton to say, "Lendy tries so hard that I think that he thinks he is going to start this year," Clayton said laughing. (No surprise here. Meet Lendy Holmes, Sr. sometime and you'll understand the kind of family support that this young man has. Mr. Holmes is much attuned to the college scene and has instructed young Holmes to get as serious in the classroom as he is on the field. More parental guidance like this would solve a lot of the academic problems many athletes acquire through bad study habits early in high school). I'm predicting Lendy will make us very proud on and off the field, and is my early leader for the 2007 Don Key Award.
JC kids are always an unknown, but move Remi Ayodele over to the 'KNOWN' category. "He's going to be very good for us. His work ethic is just where it needs to be. His brother is in the NFL and we think Remi will be too. Now we're looking for a guy to fill that fourth (DT) spot and we'll be fine. But we're not worried, 'Schmitty' has already promised us that those three young guys are busting it this summer." Speaking of DT's, I still think Claremore's Billy Blackard (6-3 292 4.9), has a chance to get an OU scholarship offer this fall. (It's the dreaded 'numbers game' again).
While you're at it, move Adrian Peterson, (now up to a chiseled 219#), over to that 'KNOWN' category also. (Think he would have made a difference last year when LSU was 'gassed' in the fourth quarter?). Jason White said about the new running back: "When Adrian comes to work out he works out hard." (Big words coming from the world's hardest worker this side of Quentin Griffin). And if you think AD has lost any of that break a-way 4.4 speed - shelve that thought. He hasn't. (Our own Billy Sims, never known for being too modest, has already said that AD could be better than #20 - and promised that he'll go to his Heisman awards and be ever bit as boisterous as he was last December! Keep it up BS.)
Chuck Long continues to say that Jason White will be BETTER this year. Contrasted to last year when JW was held out of Monday drills and often took other days off to rest the leg or arm, this year Jason is in on 100% and for the first time since his freshman year he's totally healthy.
If you saw our interview, (special to Members), with Jason a few days ago he confirms that he's healthier now than last year at this time: "I have come a long way since last season, as far as workouts go. Last year at this time I couldn't do a lot of things because I wasn't allowed to. Things certainly weren't going as well as they are now. This year I am 10 times better in everything that I am doing, as far as agility-wise, and running-wise. Everything has been feeling great and I am extremely excited about the season." So does that mean Jason is out to get Heisman #2? "I really don't care anything about that, he said. I already have one. What I want is another Big 12 Ring and a crystal ball to go with them!"
Another guy some people are forgetting about is JC All American Chijioke Onyenegecha, (6'3" 205 4.30 CC of San Francisco). Chijioke is still fighting a bad hamstring from last year's track season where he was a star with his world class sprinters speed, but it is slowly getting better and Schmitty has him under a watchful eye. Even with the 'bad' hamstring CO can outrun almost anyone on campus, with the exception of Olympic hopeful DaBryan Blanton who has clocked a 4.2 40! (When interviewed this week by James Hale, Blanton admitted that giving up football was very difficult, but he realizes that he can become a world class sprinter if he concentrates on track 100%).
Some have said that 'CO' is just a 'third string' CB. Well maybe on the depth chart, but one OU coach has said that; "we've never had anyone that can do what he can do."
Chijioke still needs to make the transition from JC class work but is doing better there too. Remember too that he was delayed by the NCAA and arrived at OU after the spring semester had already started. Not good for any student, but he is working hard to make up the missed class work. If his hammy continues to heal, (in a purposely slow, calculated manner), and CO continues to make progress in class, look for him to be a nightmare for opposing QB's and WR's this year.
Center Vince Carter is going through all the drills, and is giving 100% effort to put all the red shirt rumors away. But he also realizes that if he's not 100%, a RS year will give him time to heal completely and will also mean a much bigger bonus on NFL draft day. But Carter thinks he'll be fine by September 4th.
Most of the freshmen are in camp now except for OT Brandon Braxton and prep All American linebacker Chris Patterson - who are still waiting test scores.
But don't count Patterson (6' 2" 220 4.55 Chicago Hubbard HS), out of the game yet. "He's very close, we think he's in[/i ]", one official said this week.
"The NCAA flagged his ACT score when he got a 19. He retook the test, and although he missed 19, it was close enough that it should confirm the 19 was legit. We expect them to 'release' him soon, but sometimes they work awfully slow. Chris is a hard worker, so we know he's staying in shape, but obviously we rather have him here."
It's going to be a very interesting August at linebacker. If Patterson does get clearance, look for him to shake up the country club. But still, he's just a freshman. It's amazing how many people have forgotten that Lance Mitchell was having a better year than Butkus winner Teddy Lehman last year when he was injured and lost for the year. Here's betting that everyone will quickly get reacquainted with Mr. Mitchell by the first week in September.
Linebacker Rufus Alexander has always looked like Tarzan, but now he's up to 225 and almost has all of his speed back after a very tough year of work due to his ACL surgery.
Why don't we just annex Conway, South Carolina as part of the Sooner nation and be done with it? OU coaches contend that OU commit Eric Huggins is going to be a star, he's already ranked among the top 10 (#9) in receivers this year, (and OU coaches think he's really somewhere around #4 or #5). Add OU JC commit, (and Roy Williams clone), Allen Patrick (6'3" 200 4.4), to the Conway - OU list. And the Sooners are still looking at current Conway free safety Jessie McCray (6'3" 190 4.6) as well as junior WR C.J. Palmer, (6'2" 180 4.6).
Think Clemson's Tommy Bowden, (a surprise visitor to OU's spring workouts one day in April), and USC's fossilized Lou Holtz will be glad to see the Sooner schooner leave SC?
Speaking of receivers, OU continues to look very good in receiver recruiting, coveting Derrick Williams, (6'0" 193 4.4, and this years #1 ranked HS player); Longview's Malcolm Kelly (6'3.5" 190 4.5), and Tennesseean Patrick Turner, (6'5" 210 4.65), as their most likely targets. It's my opinion that the season Florida has will effect OU's efforts here almost as much as how the Sooner's season unfolds.
We told you a couple of weeks ago that the Elite 11 people were having trouble this year finding 11 qualified QB's nationally after last year's best ever crop of standouts. The list was released this week and here are the finalists, (in alpha order):
HARRISON BECK Clearwater (Fla.) - Nebraska commitment
JAKE CHRISTENSEN Lockport (Ill.) - Iowa
JOE COX Charlotte (N.C.) - Georgia
JONATHAN CROMPTON Waynesville (N.C.) - Tennessee
CHASE DANIEL Southlake(Texas) Carroll - Favors Missouri over Stanford, and Texas.
JONATHAN GARNER Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland -
Likes Stanford, Miami and Ole Miss.
ARKELON HALL Fresno (Calif.) Edison HS - Washington State
RYAN PERRILLOUX Laplace (La.) East St. John - Likes Texas, USC, LSU, Florida State.
KYLE REED Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds - Cal Berkley
MARK SANCHEZ Mission Viejo (Calif.) Mission Viejo - Likes Ohio State, Texas and USC.
ROB SCHOENHOFT Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier HS
Favorites include Michigan, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State.
WILLIE TUITAMA Stockton (Calif.) St. Mary's - Arizona
Everyone agrees that Perriloux and Sanchez are the two best, but after that the field drops off considerably on a consensus basis.
We will again say that an Elite 11 administrator said two weeks ago that NONE of these kids would have made the camp last year! But remember that last year was special - the best year ever for QB's in quite a while - and the Elite 11 people said compared to past years, those camp's MVP would not have made the Top 5 in last years' class!
We predict that Sanchez, (the nations' #2 ranked QB), will choose Texas sometime later this summer, and that Perriloux (#1) will in the end opt for LSU. OU continues to look at Kyle Reed, (#10 on the Insiders - SuperPrep rankings), and Todd Walker, (not an Elite 11 - but #8 on the Insider rankings), as potential QB's as well as a handful of others.
Speaking of recruit rankings, 'Four Star' CB Marcus Walker, (5'11" 185 4.5 Waco, TX), is proving the OU coaches right. Last year they said Walker was the best 'shut down' corner in America. "Give Marcus 'Five Stars'!," the OU receivers confirmed this week, "he's the real deal!" OU fans should also forget about a red shirt year for Mr. Walker, if he keeps improving he very well could start at the 'short-side' spot some time later this season.
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