by Alan Hitchcock, James Hale and the OU Insider Reporting Staff November 27, 2004 Cyclone surprise or a Buff Bar-B-Q? and More BCS
If they continue to win, both USC and Oklahoma should advance to the Orange Bowl as much of the 'Who's Two' debate seems to be running out of steam. Auburn is expected to gain a little more ground, but not enough to push either team out of the top slots.
Which team, Colorado or Iowa State would most benefit Oklahoma as an opponent next weekend? Probably Colorado, by a hair, but the Buffs would also provide the biggest challenge as they have been improving each week, particularly on defense. And Gary Barnett is at his best in big games. Currently, Colorado has a computer ranking of #30 while Iowa State sits at #32.
But if we are talking perception, the Buffs have a decided advantage. While both CU and ISU are 'computer ranked' ahead of USC's final two opponents, (Notre Dame #36 computers and UCLA #40 computers), you can bet the national media will not point it out. Meanwhile, Auburn does get a tougher task taking on Tennessee which carries a #17 computer ranking.
Obviously, it will not be enough to push Auburn ahead of the Sooners in the computer rankings, but Auburn would probably pick up a few more 'sympathy votes' in the human polls. Likewise, USC's anticipated victory over a good but not great Notre Dame later today will be lauded as a major triumph. A nice win in Kansas City would go along way as insurance, and the Sooners do not need a last minute miracle to rekindle the debates.
Compared to previous weeks, Bob Stoops and the OU coaching staff appears more relaxed and confidant as this season goes down to the wire. When the team reports back for Big Twelve preparations Sunday, the opponent will be known and broken down. "We'll study and look at them both and analyze what's similar and what isn't. We have time with Sunday getting on it and working from there."
The Sooners welcomed the Thanksgiving break as Stoops admitted that there is a toll to being ranked at the top for an entire season. "The break comes at a great time for us. We've been through 11 straight, the focus on all the BCS, being No. 2 in the country the entire year. Whether you're one or two, it's fair to say people have got you circled and are shooting at you and you usually get their best. We've gone though it all. This weekend and our guys get a chance to let their breath out and regroup and come back strong on Sunday."
And Stoops admitted that the Auburn-OU debate will help motivate the Sooners for the Big 12 Championship game. "They understand they still have something to prove and go after. It doesn't help you when people are saying all those other things about you. I would think it helps."
Regardless of the opponent, the Sooners are well aware of the implications and also of what happened last year. But Stoops says he won't remind them. "I shouldn't have to say much. They're all very aware of the position we were in a year ago and didn't finish the way we wanted. Hopefully, we can get ourselves in a position and play better than we did a year ago and coach better and give ourselves an opportunity to win it."
More BCS BS 'Plus One'?
OUInsider was invited last Monday to sit in on a national discussion of the subtle changes coming in the BCS. There has been much talk about an additional fifth BCS bowl, (following the 2006 season). Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg is the current BSC chair and explained several misconceptions in the Monday conference.
"Following the 2006 season, the 54 non-BCS schools are getting a larger share of the BCS pot, made possible by adding a fifth BCS bowl. Many people do not understand what we are doing, or how it will work. The 'fifth bowl' has been explained as kind of a BCS step child, reserved for teams from non BCS conferences. But that's not correct at all," Weiberg said.
After the 2006 season, there will be four BCS bowls, just as now. The Orange, Sugar, Rose and Fiesta will continue to be the participating venues. However a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP game, matching the two top BCS teams, will be held in one of the four bowls on a rotating basis. Thus, there will be an Orange, Sugar, Rose and Fiesta Bowl every year, plus a national championship game at one of the four.
Weiberg said that some people had confused this with a PLUS ONE championship game - with participants selected after the four bowls. "That's not correct either," he said. "We have a system in place now to select the two top teams, and the other BCS participants. That system will remain in place and the two top teams will play in the championship game."
When asked by the Atlanta Constitution if he expected a public outcry this year, Weiberg admitted that yes, there could be one. "But the system was agreed on before the season. All participants signed off on it. It identifies the two top teams, regardless of how many are undefeated. In any system, there will always be an out cry for the teams that barley missed the cut. We will never escape that, regardless of how many teams are allowed into the mix."
OU's Bob Stoops has long opposed the idea of a PLUS ONE format. "Again, it gets down to players and their time. After these bowl games our players get about a week to go home when everyone else has been home for three or four weeks for Christmas. It's a time element and our presidents and athletic directors, and even us as coaches are sensitive to. There's a lot to consider. It sounds good. There's some merit for it, I'm not going to act like there isn't. And especially if this scenario holds true where we're at right now if everyone does remain undefeated, there would be more reason to talk about it and try and work it. Will it happen? I don't know. Again, I think the issue's with the time commitment of these players is what's out there that the presidents and AD's and all of us may not feel that we can do it."
The PLUS ONE format also ignores a situation where there is only one (or two), undefeated teams, similar to Oklahoma in 2000. Would it have been fair to ask OU to play yet another game after the Orange in 2000?
Also lost on the 'professional' journalists is the money issue. It will cost Sooner fans about $ 1,000 - $ 1,500 per head to attend the Orange Bowl. When TV's talking heads pontificate about a playoff, they ignore the fans pocket book. And why wouldn't they? Every trip for these gluttons is free. Their air fare, hotel, and food is a company write off - and game tickets are not required when you sit in the comfort of a press box. But not for Joe Fan. Can you imagine spending $ 2,000 - $ 3,000 per weekend for three straight weeks? Sure, there are some that could afford it financially, but those people are generally short of time to take off for a month following their favorite team's journey to the big game.
Is the Fire out at ESPN?
After Bob Stoops made his famous 'agenda' comments last week, ESPN angrily responded and denied that there was any agenda. Yet, there seems to be a truce in the war of words as OU is now back on the board and once again getting positive reviews. ESPN was probably both surprised and embarrassed by the allegations, and although they will never admit it, it likely forced ESPN executives and producers to go into closed door meetings and examine past broadcasts.
ESPN knows it has a reputation to uphold, and the last thing any network needs after the CBS scandal are allegations of tilting news as opposed to reporting on it.
While Stoops is relieved that the cat fight appears to be over, he made no apologies about speaking his mind. "Hopefully, (it's over), because the attention should be on the players and their accomplishments. I've said it many times, we all have strong cases for us and little against us. And that means everybody that's up there undefeated, throw Utah and Boise in there, it's not easy to do what they've done."
"There are a lot of opinions about us as coaches, and right or wrong, people are free to express them however they feel they need to. And it should be fine for us as coaches to have an opinion about someone, (or a group of people), have something to say. You should have the right to express that. I'm entitled to my opinion as well as anybody else is. Mine doesn't have to count any more than theirs, but we should be entitled to express our opinions, especially if they're speaking on opinions, not facts. My intentions in games are questioned quite frequently, and that's OK. That's part of the business. But again, we as coaches ought to have the ability to express our opinions as well."
The bottom line is the ESPN can not afford to alienate any Top Ten program. Ohio State told ESPN Gameday 'No Thanks' before the Michigan game after the Clarett allegations were once again front page news. The network does not need a list of top schools and top venues that deny them access on big game days. Perhaps the entire episode will bring ESPN back into line and require them to differentiate between voicing opinions and a policy of pushing designated favorites - regardless of the reason.
Bedlam Back to Thanksgiving?
Speaking of television, there has been speculation that television will talk the Big Twelve into putting an OU game on the future Thanksgiving schedules, as the TV ratings for the Sooners are generally some of the strongest all season.
Bob Stoops still prefers an off week but knows the reality of Oklahoma being a huge TV draw. "I'm sure with TV contracts that will happen at some point, or will have to at some point." Stoops takes exception to the argument that not playing on Thanksgiving weekend keeps state schools out of the national spotlight. "You don't hear much about that anymore after the last two years playing in the regular season when it's all still on the line and ESPN College Gameday being here. It's taken nothing away from the attention of the state of Oklahoma."
Stoops also points out that Oklahoma may have different reasons for not wanting a game on Thanksgiving. "Here it is another year and another week to be looking at the Big 12 Championship. We've been in that position four of the last five years, so that is different than maybe some other people. In the end, I don't see where it's to our advantage to play then, compared to where it's been. The attention's been there, playing when we've played it. But there will be times with different contracts that we may have too, and that'll be OK."
Getting Even More Defensive
If ESPN comments don't light a fire under Bob Stoops 'trash talking' his defense will. One reporter asked Bob this week how he felt about his defensive unit being ranked in the top 15.
"Actually, it's higher than that. I believe we're in the top 10 in scoring defense in the country and No. 1 in the Big 12, and that's what matters. I feel great about the way our defense is playing. You look through the entire season, we held seven of the 11 teams to zero or one touchdown. We're going to win a lot of games around here if we hold people to zero or one touchdown through the course of a game," Stoops responded.
"Everyone wants to look at the two games where we gave up a couple big passes. If you go through the course of 11 games it happens on occasion. To me, what magnified it more were the special teams miscues in the same game. We gave up in back-to-back games four touchdowns on special teams, whether it's a fake or we're muffing or dropping a punt that's right in our hands. Look at what they've done through the entire year. Getting Antonio Perkins back the last two games has been a big boost. He's a great player, we've know that all along, not just as a return man. He's a great cornerback. We're 8th or 9th in the country in scoring defense. That's pretty good."
We agree Bob, and actually more credit should go to Brent Venables and Bo Pelini for a great job this season.
Hartley kicks off the Red Shirt
Perhaps the biggest news of last week was Garrett Hartley coming out of red shirt after Trey DiCarlo continued to struggle with extra points and field goals. Coach Stoops explained the move, "We just felt it was necessary. We had been more than patient. We felt the position we were in that points were too critical and championships are out there that we've got a legitimate shot for, and felt at this point this strengthened our team. We needed to do it and Garrett wanted to do it, so we went with it."
Last spring we had the pleasure of meeting Garret and his father on a photo shoot. Garret's dad expressed then that his son would come to OU and would want to compete for the job as a freshman. Therefore it was no shock to us that Garret's family backed his decision to discard the redshirt, even after ten games were played. "Coach Stoops came and asked me earlier in the week and told me to go home and talk to my dad. After I consulted with him, and that didn't take long at all, I let Coach Stoops know the next day that I definitely wanted to play."
Garret, who is capable of 50+ yard FG's, is now OU's primary kicker. It's possible that Trey could regain his spot, but it's not likely to happen this season. However, either could handle kick of duties and both could very well play an important role in the two upcoming games. "Trey and I have talked about it. We are really good friends and he has helped me out with the situation. He has told me how things are going to be out there. He has been guiding me through everything that we are going to have to do."
Heisman Showdown or Hoedown?
Although the Scripps - Howard Poll has Jason White #1, this years' Heisman race figures to go down to December 4th. While Jason White and Adrian Peterson will have one final opportunity to impress late voters that evening, USC's Matt Lienart has two chances on National TV, one coming today vs national lightning rod Notre Dame, and a final time against UCLA on December 4th, just hours before the Sooners kick off in Kansas City.
Although White has the numbers, and a current lead, the television exposure gives Lienart the edge, but it could also put more pressure on his shoulders. Look for Lienart to win if the numbers are good today vs Notre Dame. Too many voters will be watching, and late performances always count more than early season success. We can be thankful that the game is not on the Notre Dame network, for they would be uttering the word 'Heisman' with every first down pass against an average 'Golden Domer' defense.
Coaching carousel continues to involve Sooners
As we reported almost two weeks ago, Steve Spurrier made it official at South Carolina after receiving his Augusta membership card. South Carolina is nice, but it's not Florida. While Bo Pelini was a likely transfer to Florida, perhaps he will have second thoughts about the Gamecocks. After all, the Augusta membership only fell upon the head coach.
Perhaps just as frightening, Sooner commit and star WR Eric Huggins, (6-3, 190, 4.5), of Conway, SC is now a target of Gamecock recruiting efforts. But Huggins reassured OU fans this week after the Spurrier decision was announced, "Everybody is coming up to me and calling me and acting like I am just going to change my mind and go to South Carolina. I have never been interested in South Carolina and the fact that Coach Spurrier is there doesn't change that. I am sure he is a good coach, but I want to go to OU and play for Coach Stoops and Coach Darrell Wyatt. I have never said that I was interested in South Carolina and I never had them on my list. Oklahoma is where I want to go and that is where I am going to play my college football."
And at Illinois OU Offensive Coordinator Chuck Long is rumored to be on a short list, although Long told us this week that he has not been contacted by anybody at the University of Illinois and that he is totally committed to the University of Oklahoma as the Offensive Coordinator.
Long did say that while he does have goals to be a head coach, he pointed out that his children love it in Norman and so does his wife Lisa. Coach Long says he loves working at OU, which has always been a dream of his and that OU is the perfect spot for a head coach. (When Long says he 'likes Norman' it's not just a passing remark. Chuck's parents are OU grads and grew up in Norman, and his grandfather even served a term as Mayor).
But it may not matter, as our sources say that key Illinois boosters already have Mike Leach and former Nebraska coach Frank Solich targeted as the favorites for the job. And right now the Illini program looks to be almost as strong as the Husker train wreck in Lincoln.
Where does OU stand in Recruiting ?
Oklahoma is on it's way to possibly the best recruiting class under coach Stoops. Whether it exceeds last years' bumper crop will not be known until the first Wednesday in February, but indications are that it will indeed be another great year. The Sooners will sign 25 - 26 high school prospects and two or three JC's this year. (The exact number will not be known until OU can determine if any potential mid term enrollees could count against existing available scholarships. Those already committed are:
Pos / Nat'l Rank / 'Star Power' / Prospect / Vitals / Hometown
WR 4 ***** Malcolm Kelly 6-4 / 190 / 4.5 Longview, TX
WR 10 **** Eric Huggins 6-3 / 190 / 4.5 Conway, SC
WR 29 **** Manuel Johnson 6-0 / 170 / 4.6 Gilmer, TX
SS 6 ***** Keenan Clayton 6-2 / 210 / 4.5 Sulphur Springs, TX
RB 51 *** Matt Clapp 6-2 / 235 / 4.7 Phoenix, AZ
OL 34 **** Jesse White 6-3 / 287 / 4.8 Denver, CO
OL 71 *** Ben Barresi 6-6 / 282 / 5.0 Edmond, OK
LB 10 **** Curtis Lofton 6-2 / 240 / 4.6 Kingfisher, OK
L 38 *** Billy Blackard 6-3 / 292 / 4.9 Claremore, OK
DT 17 **** Roy Miller 6-2 / 295 / 4.9 Killeen, TX
DE 27 *** Brody Eldridge 6-5 / 230 / 4.7 La Cygne, KS
DE 48 *** Auston English 6-3 / 220 / 4.6 Canadian, TX
SS - JC Allen Patrick 6-3 / 200 / 4.4 Independence JC
OL - JC Brandon Keith 6-6 / 320 / 5.2 NE Oklahoma JC
When the above list is counted, approximately thirteen slots remain. We have reported that the Sooners are down to seriously recruiting 35 - 36 prospects. There very well could be a few new names that emerge in December as the coaches complete their final evaluations of seniors who had break out years, and prospects at the top of OU's list indicate that they are likely to sign elsewhere.
OK, who are the finalists?
Pos / Nat'l Rank / Prospect / Vitals / Hometown / Top Contenders (current)
WR 1 Derrick Williams 6-0 / 193 / 4.4 Greenbelt, MD OU; FL, PSU
WR 11 D. J. Hord 6-3 / 190 / 4.4 Kansas City, MO ND, LSU, OU, KSU, MO
TE 1 DajLeon Farr 6-5 / 240 / 4.6 Galena Park, TX LSU, OU, UT
TE 17 Ed Dickson 6-5 / 225 / 4.6 Bellflower, CA USC, OU, Mich, ASU, AZ
TE 2 Martellus Bennett 6-6 / 240 / 4.7 Houston, TX Miami, OU, UT, Duke, AZ, LSU
OL 13 Cory Zirbel 6-7 / 292 / 5.3 Murray, KY Mich, OU, VaTech
OL 18 Paul Duncan 6-6 / 288 / 5.4 Dallas, GA LSU, OU, ND
OL 19 Curtis Crouch 6-6 / 316 / 5.2 Fayetteville, NC OU, NC St, TN, VT
OL 2 Reginald Youngblood 6-5 / 285 / 5.3 Houston, TX OU, Miami, LSU
OL 3 Dace Richardson 6-6 / 300 / 5.0 Wheaton, IL Iowa, ND, TN, USC, OU, WI
OL 41 Jon Cooper 6-3 / 270 / 4.9 Ft Collins, CO ISU, OU, MO, WI
OL 5 Dan Doering 6-6 / 290 / 5/0 Barrington, IL Iowa, ND, OU, NU, TN
OL 66 Duke Robinson 6-5 / 326 / 5.7 Atlanta, GA GA, OU, and others
LB 1 Luther Brown 6-2 / 227 / 4.7 Lakewood, CA USC, LSU, Miami, OU, AZ, UCLA
LB 15 Antonio Clay 6-1 / 207 / 4.7 Jeffersonville, GA GA, OU, Miami
LB 16 Alex Daniels 6-3 / 225 / 4.5 Columbus, OH Ohio St, OU, FSU
LB 28 Adrian McCovey 6-3 / 218 / 4.6 Lakewood, CA OU, Miami, Ore St, AZ
LB 3 Eugene Hayes 6-1 / 218 / 4.6 Madison, FL Aub, OU, USC, TN
LB 4 Ryan Reynolds 6-2 / 220 / 4.6 Las Vegas, NV OU, LSU, ND, UCLA
LB - Jodie Richardson 6-2 / 215 / 4.4 Duncanville, TX A&M, OU
DT 2 DeMarcus Granger 6-3 / 325 / 5.2 Dallas, TX OU, LSU, UT, OSU
DT 3 Jerrell Powe 6-2 / 322 / 5.1 Waynesboro, MS Aub, MS, MSU, LSU, A&M, OU
DT 4 Vince Oghobaase 6-6 / 300 / 5.2 Houston, TX OSU, A&M, OU, AZ, Miami
DT 5 Ekom Udofia 6-1 / 290 / 5.0 Scottsdale, AZ Stanford, USC, OU, Miami, OSU
DT 16 Terrel Nemons 6-2 / 323 / 5.3 Cedar Hill, TX KU, OU, CU, NU
DT 20 Kyle Moore 6-6 / 249 / 4.9 Warner Robbins Miami, USC, OU, Aub, Mich, TN
DT - Brian Simmons 6-5 / 305 / 5.0 Hargrove Military OU, NC State
DT - Lorenzo Jones 6-4 / 294 / 5.1 McKinney, TX TX, OU, ISU, A&M, OSU
DE 1 Averell Spicer 6-2 / 265 / 4.6 Rancho Coca, CA USC, FSU, OU, NU, LSU, Mich
DE 7 Travis Beckum 6-5 / 218 / 4.5 Oak Creek, WI Miami, Ohio St, OU, TN, WI
DE 16 Richard Gordon 6-4 / 255 / 4.7 Miami, FL Miami, OU, FSU, SFL, LSU
CB 8 Michael Ray Garvin 5-8 / 178 / 4.4 Ramsey, NJ GA, FSU, OU, ND, CU
CB 11 Syd,Quan Thompson 5-10/ 180 /4.4 Sacramento, CA Cal, OU, USC, AZ, UCLA
CB 13 Alton Dixon 6-0 / 180 / 4.4 Lufkin, TX A&M, OU
CB 19 Corderra Hunter 6-2 / 180 / 4.4 Longview, TX Texas Tech, A&M, OU
CB 27 Brian Jackson 6-1 / 210 / 4.5 DeSoto, TX AZ, OU
SS 2 Reggie Smith 6-0 / 192 / 4.5 Edmond, OK OU, NU, A&M, ND, USC
Ath - Nic Harris 6-3 / 210 / 4.7 Alexandria, LA LSU, Mich, OU, A&M, NU
As we reported last week - the Sooners appear to be in great shape with Derrick Williams (6-0 / 193 / 4.4), the nation's top prospect. Williams will likely be a December high school graduate, and early enrollee. If Williams chooses another school, the Sooners will scramble to pry D.J. Hord away form LSU and Notre Dame at the last moment. Either would give the Sooners the top group of receiver prospects in the nation, replacing perhaps the finest group of proven WR's that graduates this year.
At tight end, the choices have narrowed to three, and perhaps two if #1 TE prospect's DajLeon Farr's, (6-5 / 240 / 4.6), LSU commitment holds. With Nick Saban a silent candidate for several pro jobs, that situation may simmer for another month. Number two TE prospect Martellus Bennett, (6-6 / 240 / 4.7), is only a hair behind Farr in terms of ability and still has the Sooners in a tight race with Miami and Texas. If that doesn't pan out Ed Dickson, (6-5 / 225 / 4.6) who is ranked as the #17 TE in the country appears to be the best bet at this time. The Sooners would take any of the three and close the books on the position for this year.
OU needs several more offensive linemen and has eight top prospects in the wings. Three would be nice and two are a must. The nation's top ranked OL is Reginald Youngblood, (6-5 / 285 / 5.3) and OU may have a slight lead over Miami and LSU at this point. This one is going to be close, but if Reggie looks at the depth charts, Sooners will win out, as their need is greater than the other two.
Ranked right behind Youngblood is Illinois' Dace Richardson, (6-6 / 300 / 5.0) from the hometown of Chuck Long. Although Richardson continues to mention OU, but right now Iowa and Notre Dame lead Tennessee Oklahoma and others. Ditto for Dan Doering, (6-6 / 290 / 5/0), also from Illinois. It's hard to get kids out of the Big Ten mindset, but if the Sooners ever do, either of these guys would flourish under Kevin Wilson. The Sooners also covet Cory Zirbel, (6-7 / 292 / 5.3), but even a loss to Ohio State has not dimmed his thoughts of Michigan. Zirbel remains somewhat of a long shot, (unless it snows 30" or more on his official visit to Ann Arbor). He currently lists Miami, Oklahoma, and Michigan as his favorites.
Better bets would be either Paul Duncan, (6-6 / 288 / 5.4), of Dallas, GA or Curtis Crouch, (6-6 / 316 / 5.2) of Fayetteville, NC, both of whom are ranked among the top 20 OL's in the country. It's interesting to note that word of the Sooners interest in Crouch has sent his stock soaring, and he's now ranked at #19 in the country.
Rounding out the OL shopping list are Jon Cooper, (6-3 / 270 / 4.9), of Ft, Collins, CO and Duke Robinson, (6-5 / 326 / 5.7), of Atlanta. And yes, local favorites Dain Wise and Craig Roark remain on Oklahoma's board. Either could move up quickly if any one the top OL decide to go elsewhere.
At linebacker the Sooners would like to sign three, with Kingfisher's Curtis Lofton already an OU commit. Their top target for at least a year has been Ryan Reynolds, (6-2 / 220 / 4.6), of Las Vegas, NV who lists OU slightly ahead of LSU and Notre Dame. The nation's top ranked LB is Luther Brown, (6-2 / 227 / 4.7) of Lakewood, CA who most figure will sign with USC. However, Brown admits that LSU, Miami, OU and UCLA all have a chance. Eugene Hayes, (6-1 / 218 / 4.6), of Madison, FL is expected to stay south but both OU and USC have a chance if he decides to shun Auburn. Alex Daniels, (6-3 / 225 / 4.5), of Columbus, OH is a linebacker - athlete that Oklahoma would love to sign, but first the Sooners need to score a visit from Daniels, who has been too busy with playoff action to visit. Ohio St and Florida State are also possibilities here.
Once listed as a soft OU commitment, Antonio Clay, (6-1 / 207 / 4.7), stil has the Sooners high on his list along with Georgia and Miami. And the nation's #28 linebacker, Adrian McCovey, (6-3 / 218 / 4.6), of Lakewood, CA probably has OU slightly ahead of the Hurricanes and Pac 10 entries Oregon State and Arizona. Although Jodie Richardson, (6-2 / 215 / 4.4), Duncanville, TX is officially a Texas A&M commitment he continues to consider Oklahoma, and is a possibility.
Defensive Tackle is the Sooners most pressing need in the next two years and their recruiting efforts reflect the opportunity. They appear to be in good shape with the country's #2 ranked DT, DeMarcus Granger, (6-3 / 325 / 5.2), of Dallas. LSU and Texas refuse to budge and who could blame them? , TX Mississippi's Jerrell Powe, (6-2 / 322 / 5.1), is a possibility but a probable SEC commit, and the nation's #4 ranked DT Vince Oghobaase, (6-6 / 300 / 5.2), remains fixated with OSU over A&M, OU and Miami. Vince is another mid term enrollee and teams better hurry if they plan to head off the Cowpokes.
Ekom Udofia, (6-1 / 290 / 5.0), Scottsdale, AZ still lists OU along with USC, Miami and again, OSU, and Terrel Nemons, (6-2 / 323 / 5.3), of Cedar Hill, TX is now seriously considering Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska as well as OU. The #20 ranked DT is Kyle Moore, (6-6 / 249 / 4.9), from Warner Robbins, GA and he's down to Miami, USC, OU, Auburn, Michigan and Tennessee.
Although Brian Simmons, (6-5 / 305 / 5.0) of Hargrove Military is not listed among the nation's elite, he's very high on the Sooners DT board. They would gladly take Simmons without any hesitation and consider him to be a huge prize. Another unranked DT that OU is looking at is Lorenzo Jones, (6-4 / 294 / 5.1), of McKinney, TX. Jones also lists Iowa State, Texas A&M and OSU as schools that he is considering.
The Sooners appear to be in 'dire straights' at DE next year due to the graduation of Dan Cody and Jonathan Jackson. OU has commitments from two DE's and would like to secure one more. Number one on everyone's list is Averell Spicer, (6-2 / 265 / 4.6), of Rancho Coca, CA. Spicer visited OU several weeks ago and admits that the Sooners have a chance. Others in the hunt are USC, Florida State, Nebraska, LSU and Michigan. Travis Beckum, (6-5 / 218 / 4.5), Oak Creek, WI fits the Oklahoma DE mold exactly and OU coaches had hoped to keep him under the radar. But when you're 6-5 and can run a 4.5 40 it's difficult. Other suitors are Miami, Ohio St, Tennessee and Wisconsin. At #16, Richard Gordon, (6-4 / 255 / 4.7), is a name barely mentioned yet he remains on the Sooners list after making the final cut. The usual suspects are also in the hunt here, Miami, Florida, FSU and LSU, so the Sooners are thinking Gordon will likely stay in-state.
Oklahoma wants two cornerbacks and would take any two from their final list. The prospects are: Michael Ray Garvin, (5-8 / 178 / 4.4), Ramsey, NJ who like Georgia, FSU, Notre Dame and Colorado in addition to OU; Syd'Quan Thompson, (5-10/ 180 /4.4), of Sacramento, CA who lists Cal, OU, USC, Arizona and UCLA; Texas A&M 'soft-commitment' Alton Dixon, (6-0 / 180 / 4.4) of Lufkin, TX; Corderra Hunter, (6-2 / 180 / 4.4), who most likely will attend Texas Tech and Brian Jackson, (6-1 / 210 / 4.5), of DeSoto, TX who is choosing between Mike (Arizona) and Bob Stoops.
At safety Reggie Smith, (6-0 / 192 / 4.5), has forced OU coaches into a recruiting corner. The Sooners already have Keenan Clayton committed at safety, and only want one more. Smith is their far and away first choice, but the OU coaches may have to go to plan 'B' if Reggie continues to decline to disclose his intentions. Not to say that OU will give up on Smith, they won't. But they can ill afford to not recruit another safety if Smith plans to go elsewhere.
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