OUInsider Weekend Wrapup (12/25)

A recap in the week's events in recruiting and a breakdown of who's left on OU's board.

Just Stop It. . .

Isn't the AP telling the BCS to ‘stop using their poll' kinda like saying; "quit putting any stock in what we say?" If the AP poll serves no purpose - why publish one? And what's with saying that the BCS has no right to ‘use it?' The AP said; "such use was never sanctioned and had reached the point where it threatened to undermine the ‘independence and integrity' of the poll."

So, we'll publish it, but don't look at it, talk about it, or put any stock in it - or we'll sue you! A real classy argument loaded with logic. Does that mean that the BCS brass can't sneak a peek on selection Sunday? Somehow we bet they do, even if it means a version of the dreaded ‘Selection Committee' format.

And speaking of the BCS, why not make it simple? Keep the formula to determine the top two teams. Then select the top 8 to play in the games. Forget conferences, independents, special rules for Notre Dame and handicapped teams, whatever. Top eight teams: 1 vs 2; 3 vs 4; 5 vs 6; and 7 vs 8. No more Mack Brown worrying about disrespect and begging votes out of the boondocks. And really, isn't that where the threat to the independence and integrity actually came from?

Obviously the problem is once again the good ole boys from the Pac 10 and Big 11 who still think it's 1958 and insist on a Big 10 – Pac 10 Rose Bowl. (We know, you officially need 12 to play. Ask for a waiver). Here's our solution, since neither conference wants to belly up and play a conference championship game, play the Rose Bowl on the first Saturday in December. Big 10 Vs Pac 10, winner takes all.

And while you're throwing fruit at the Rose, toss in ‘Conference Commissioner Greed' as another BCS culprit. Isn't that why we really do have the guaranteed conference-bowl tie in? Of course the corporate line is: "The BCS was set up to reward conference champions." Fine, give ‘em a trophy and let the top eight teams play in the top four bowls.

Of course it won't happen, it makes sense!

In 2006 the BCS bowls will accommodate 10 teams as we add an additional bowl. The added bowl is not a ‘Plus One' game, as many tend to think, nor is it an also ran BCS held in a once proud but dilapidated facility like the Cotton Bowl, for teams from the MAC and WAC and wherever. The ‘Fifth' will simply be the national championship game.

If the new system was in place THIS YEAR for example, you'd have ten BCS teams instead of eight, (Cal is in, but now in the Rose Bowl, Texas in the Orange), with teams three through ten matched in the Fiesta, Rose, Orange and Sugar. Those games would be played on or as close as possible to January 1. One week later, the number one and two teams, (USC, OU), would square off in not the ‘Orange Bowl,' but in the National Championship Game Played (this year), AT the Orange Bowl, aka Joe Robbie Stadium.

Meanwhile, we enter an almost two week ‘Dead Period' in recruiting. But before that curtain fell, a few big names did also, headed by a big one that the Sooners had hoped to get.

Loves Joe Pa . . .
Apparently, Joe Paterno's turmoil and fight with senility was not enough to keep one of America's top prospects out of Beaver Valley, as Derrick Williams, one of the Sooners top prospects, threw in with the Lions on Tuesday. Things began going south over a week ago and many in the Sooner camp began smelling bad cookin' by last weekend.

Williams was reportedly checking several top programs with one eye on the roster, making sure that no other potential Heisman candidates were in residence. Before we blame Derrick, recruits look at rosters all the time, perhaps not with the same idea in mind, but every player wants to play early and start as quickly as possible.

If we read the information right, (and we may be wrong), but we think the Sooners would be better served to find a recruit with a slightly smaller ego, and perhaps one who is more team oriented. It will be hard to match the talent however, and the loss of Williams, who at one time looked like a near Sooner lock, will be hard to forget.

In fairness to Derrick, Penn State is the closest 'power school,' although Va Tech would probably be more qualified to be called a power than the downtrodden lions. And yeah, there are void of Heisman candidates.

OK, now what?

When you break up with Cindy Crawford, just give Denise Richards a call . . . The unexpected loss of Williams does hurt, but a few highly regarded receivers could make Sooners feel better. DeSean Jackson, (5-11 / 175 / 4.4), of Long Beach Poly now becomes a target, as does Fred Rouse, (6-3 / 187 / 4.4), the current #1 ranked WR from Tallahassee, Florida.

The Sooners need speed and are looking for a deep threat burner as the last of the WR recruits. Both Jackson and Rouse exhibit the necessary speed and either would be a huge consolation prize. Jackson visited Oklahoma last weekend and seemed to enjoy his time here. "I had a great time. I learned some things about OU that I didn't know — like they are losing a lot of receivers. I didn't know that, and that is important for me to be able to come in and have the opportunity to play early."

"I really like their offense. They were showing me how many times they are in three wide receivers 60 percent of the time. They spread the offense out and they use the wide receivers a lot. OU would be a real nice place to play football and go to school. I like what they have going for themselves. They have a nice stadium and their locker room is huge. They have a nice weight room and their indoor facility is nice." DeSean is also looking at USC, CAL, and LSU. Whoever lands Jackson will be getting arguably the fastest player on the west coast in this recruiting cycle.

Rouse, the nation's top overall prospect, was scheduled to visit OU last weekend. But Rouse had to cancel his visit at the last second to Norman, due to final exams and the inability to catch a flight. It remains to be seen whether this 6-foot-3, 190-pound wide receiver will re-schedule a visit to OU, there may not be any more weekends available. He will play in the U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio in January and he currently has visits set up to Alabama, Texas, Miami and Florida State next month as well. Chances are Rouse decides between the 'Canes and 'Noles and they get his last two visits, with his final one being in Tallahassee on Jan. 28. He has family in South Florida and he grew up around the FSU program. Rouse's mother wants him at Miami while his father wants him at Florida State. Rouse continues to say all the right things about Oklahoma, Texas and Alabama and that this trio has a realistic shot at him. Odds favor Florida State, but Miami is closer than most people think. This could very well be a signing-day decision.

A long shot is D.J. Hord, (6-1 / 190 / 4.4), who the Sooners admittedly cooled on when holding the last dance for Williams. It may be too late as Hord says he's narrowed it down to Kansas State, LSU, Notre Dame and Wisconsin. But don't be surprised if he finds time to visit Norman before making his choice.

Don't forget about MJ . . .

This August we told you that one member of the OU staff said the Manuel Johnson, (6-0 / 170 / 4.6), might be the best receiver Oklahoma signed this year. After the show he put on in Gilmer's first ever Texas state championship run, (16 games), we just might agree.

Playing quarterback in the state championship game, Johnson threw for 308 yards three touchdowns, (3 interceptions), and also rushed for 41 yards. But that wasn't all as he had two 60-yard punts in the 49 – 47 win. "I'll miss playing quarterback a little bit, but when I go to OU I need to adapt and become a great receiver."

Two Tight Ends in contention . . . plus

LSU coach Nick Saban put both the Miami Dolphins and LSU on 'hostage hold' Thursday, apparently still hesitant about making the leap to the NFL. Saban previously has said he'd prefer to resolve the situation by Christmas, when LSU travels to Orlando for its January 1 bowl game against Iowa.

As we said last week, we expect Saban to take the job, but whether he does or does not effects Oklahoma recruiting. The Sooners and Tigers are in on half a dozen common prospects, among them top TE DajLeon Farr, Nic Harris; WR DeSean Jackson; LB Luther Brown; DT DeMarcus Granger; TE Martellus Bennett OL Paul Duncan and DE Richard Gordon.

Although Martellus Bennett, (6-6 / 240 / 4.7) says OU is still in the hunt, some believe that Texas is holding the cards as he is interested in both football and basketball and family members are reportedly heavily involved. But Bennett denies that he's already committed; "I don't know why people would think that. I like Texas, but that doesn't mean that I am going there." However OU basketball may keep the Sooners in the race; "The OU basketball team is good. They have won three out of the last four Big 12 Championships. I know and respect Coach (Kelvin) Sampson pretty well. I know Coach (Ray) McCallum pretty well too."

Obviously Farr is the other candidate the Sooners covet at TE. Although Farr is currently committed to LSU, he did remark that Saban's eye ball to eye ball pledge to remain in Baton Rouge was a factor in his selection. That pledge, made just over two weeks ago, seems somewhat hollow now as Saban has admitted to everyone that he may not stay in Tigerland. The question is,do the recruits also question Saban's promise, and how much it may mean next year, even if he does stay?

Defensive Backs

Patience paid off for OU on DeSoto, Texas CB Brian Jackson, who has been trying to choose between Arizona and Oklahoma for several weeks. Oklahoma got the good news on Christmas Eve. Jackson visited Arizona back on September 17 and Oklahoma on December 10. "I really loved the coaches at both of these schools. The Stoops brothers are great. I have a great connection with all of them. They seem to be real sincere and down to earth."

OU coaches felt that is was far better to not put pressure on this one, as Jackson is very impressionable and they did not want a commitment from someone who may change his mind later. A description which, realistically, fits about a third of the class of 2005, as there have been a ton of early Roy Millers, nationwide - who have pledged early and ‘de-committed.' Every school has at least one of these, and some have several. Meanwhile the Sooners made up some much need real estate with their top DB recruit, Reggie Smith, (6-0 / 192 / 4.5) last week on his official visit.

Offensive Line

Not much change here, as the Sooners need at least two or three, and still have an honest chance at six tackles; Chris Barney, (6-6 / 330 / 5.2), Miami, FL; Dan Doering, (6-6/290/5.0), Barrington, IL; Matt Hardrick, (6-5 / 340 / 5.2), Orlando, FL; Curtis Crouch, (6-6 / 316 / 5.2), Fayetteville, NC; Duke Robinson, (6-5 / 326 / 5.7), Atlanta, GA and Paul Duncan, (6-6 / 288 / 5.4), East Paulding, GA.

If the Sooners fail to get two or three of those, they will likely offer Matt Pipho, (6-6 / 260 / 5.1), La Porte, Iowa, who could visit in January.

No question that Dan Doering and Paul Duncan head the ‘most wanted' list, with best bets appear to be Curtis Crouch and Duke Robinson. Although he's made it clear that Georgia and Oklahoma lead the race for his signature, Robinson is still going to take at least a couple more visits before naming a winner. Both Florida (Jan. 14-16) and Arkansas (Jan. 21-23) will see Robinson (6-6, 335, 5.1) next month and get a chance to knock the leaders off their pedestal.

"I'll be honest with you," Robinson said. "I have already visited Georgia and Oklahoma and I'm probably going to go to one of those places. They are clearly my leaders, but I am going to take at least those two other places."

There's a few more schools in the mix for Robinson, who averaged 6 pancake blocks per game and had a high of 15 in one game, but he is not sure whether he will visit either UCLA, Alabama, Auburn or Mississippi State with a fifth one.

On the defensive side, OU has had great visits with several DT's and expects DeMarcus Granger (6-3 / 325 / 5.2), to be in it unto the end, and possibly Ekom Udofia who is still undecided. Walker Ashley, (6-5 / 285 / 4.8) of Eden Prairie, MN. is the fastest rising star on the D-Line nationwide and the Sooners are still hoping for a visit. USC, Ohio State and Minnesota are the primary competition here, although every school in the country has discovered this stud.

Kyle Moore, the outstanding DE from Warner Robbins Georgia entertained Bob Stoops on Tuesday and Bulldog Head Coach Mark Richt on Wednesday. Afterwards, the visits seemed to have appositive impact on Moore: "It was really nice, and that was quite an honor. I liked that a whole lot. They were different personalities. "I liked my visit with Coach Stoops, but I liked talking to the other coaches as well. I told Coach Stoops that I was very interested in Oklahoma and they were right up there with Miami and Georgia." Although Warner Robbins is in Georgia, the military town is not particularly a UGa stronghold. OU appears to have a great chance here.

Oklahoma dropped Vince Oghobaase off their list at DT last week, fully expecting him to go to A&M. Guess what? It's Duke. Oghobaase, who was once considered an OSU lock until academics entered the photograph, picked the ACC doormat Blue Devils this week in a completely unexpected surprise.

Best news of the week came from most of the all star cast who visited Norman last weekend, including Reggie Smith, S, Edmond (Santa Fe); Alex Daniels, ATH, Columbus (Brookhaven), Ohio; Luther Brown, LB, Lakewood, CA; Adrian McCovey, LB, Lakewood, CA; Coderro Moore, DE, Mesquite (Horn HS), TX; Neefy Moffett, LB, Melbourne (Palm Bay), FL; Ekom Udofia, DT, Scottsdale (Chaparral), AZ; C.J. AhYou, DE, Snow Junior College, UT; Jeff Owens, DT, Plantation, FL and DeSean Jackson, WR, Long Beach (Poly), CA. Obviously, C. J. AhYou committed on the visit and the others appear to have Oklahoma in a strong position.

Twenty Eight prospects are still on the board . . .

Pos / Nat'l Rank / Prospect / Vitals / Hometown / Top Contenders (current)

WR 1 Fred Rouse 6-3 /187/ 4.40 Tallahassee, FL FSU, Miami, AL, OU, TX
WR 7 DeSean Jackson 5-11/175/4.40 Long Beach, CA CAL, USC, AZ State, LSU, OU
TE 1 DajLeon Farr 6-5 / 240 / 4.6 Galena Park, TX LSU, OU, UT
TE 2 Martellus Bennett 6-6 / 240 / 4.7 Houston, TX Miami, OU, UT, Duke, AZ, LSU
SS 2 Reggie Smith 6-0 / 192 / 4.5 Edmond, OK OU, NU, A&M, ND, USC
OL Chris Barney 6-6 / 330 / 5.2 Miami, FL Miami, NC State, KU, OU, USC
OL 3 Dace Richardson 6-6 / 300 / 5.0 Wheaton, IL Iowa, ND, TN, USC, OU, WI
OL 5 Dan Doering Barrington, IL Iowa, OU, ND
OL 9 Matt Hardrick 6-5 / 340 / 5.2 Orlando, FL FSU, Miami, FL, OU, MS
OL 18 Curtis Crouch 6-6 / 316 / 5.2 Fayetteville, NC OU, NC St, TN, VT
OL 66 Duke Robinson 6-5 / 326 / 5.7 Atlanta, GA GA, OU, FL, and others
LB - Antonio Clay 6-1 / 210 / 4.7 Atlanta, GA Miami, GA, OU
LB 2 Luther Brown 6-2 / 227 / 4.7 Lakewood, CA USC, LSU, Miami, OU
LB 4 Ryan Reynolds 6-2 / 220 / 4.6 Las Vegas, NV OU, UCLA, LSU, ND,
LB 16 Alex Daniels 6-3 / 225 / 4.5 Columbus, OH Ohio St, OU, FSU
LB 25 Lamont Robinson 6-2 / 220 / 4.65 Salem, NJ VA, OU, Ohio St, GA, Iowa
LB 28 Adrian McCovey 6-3 / 218 / 4.6 Lakewood, CA OU, Miami, Ore St, AZ
LB 54 Neefy Moffett 6-1 / 220 / 4.6 Palm Bay, FL FSU, GA, Miami, OU, USC, Aub
DT 2 DeMarcus Granger 6-3 / 325 / 5.2 Dallas, TX OU, LSU, UT, OSU
DT 7 Ekom Udofia 6-1 / 290 / 5.0 Scottsdale, AZ Stanford, USC, OU, Miami, OSU
DT 15 Terrel Nemons 6-2 / 323 / 5.3 Cedar Hill, TX KU, OU, CU, NU
DT 17 Roy Miller 6-2 / 295 / 4.9 Killeen, TX TX, OU
DT 19 Walker Ashley 6-5 / 285 / 4.8 Eden Prairie, MN USC. Ohio St, OU, MN, PSU
DT 20 Jeff Owens 6-2 / 274 / 4.9 Plantation, FL GA, FSU, Miami, OU
DT 21 Kyle Moore 6-6 / 249 / 4.9 Warner Robbins Miami, USC, OU, GA, TN
DE 16 Richard Gordon 6-4 / 255 / 4.7 Miami, FL Miami, FSU, OU, SFL, LSU
Ath - Aaron Cummings 6'5 / 240 / 4.7 Bray-Doyle, OK
Ath 9 Nic Harris 6-3 / 210 / 4.7 Alexandria, LA LSU, Mich, OU, A&M, NU

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