Weekend Wrapup: Army All-American Game Edition

See inside for a recap of the week's news and notes from the U.S. Army All-American Game last week in San Antonio. Plus, a rundown of who is still on OU's recruiting board and who the Sooners have a the best chance to sign. Five-star linebacker Ryan Reynolds (pictured above) committed to Oklahoma on Saturday.

On the Road Again . . .
OU coaches hit the recruiting trail last night, waking up this morning (Monday), coast to coast as they try to get last minute commitments and sneak in an early peek or two at prospects for next year.

All American Game & Junior Combine in San Antonio
What a great week we had at the Army All America game in San Antonio. As event sponsors, we had the run of practice and interview opportunities, both formal and informal. We talked to a ton of players and parents and have a much greater perspective on the overall recruiting landscape this year.

First the rosters, were these the best 74 players in the USA? No, and for several reasons. One Tom Lemming was an early selector, before Scout became involved late this summer, and formally on November 1st. It's no secret that some players were picked because of their promise to commit on screen. Lemming also chose a few based on geography and who they are committing to.

Hopefully we saw that for the last time this year. But it's a fact that the television network prefers regional representation. However, the Army backed Scout and promised that no more would players be chosen because of hometown, a promise to commit on air or based on what school they had committed to. As the game grows in importance, the selection process will become more just.

Who was left off? "I can name three OU commits right now," said Scout's Jamie Newberg. "Start with Malcolm Kelly, Curtis Lofton and Keenan Clayton. Those guys are as good as anyone here." We agree.

Many of those top juniors were on hand after the Army All Star game and we had a chance to 'scout' several names that appear on OU's wish list next year, including the youngest player to ever get a scholarship offer from Bob Stoops, Myron Rolle, who is expected to be the nation's top prospect beginning February 3rd. We'll keep you posted, but let's just say for now that the Sooners have a great shot here.

But before we get into next year's prospects, Oklahoma has some unfinished business to attend to this year.

Linebacker U gets an All Star Bonanza
With Oklahoma suddenly down to a handful of scholarship linebackers due to the unexpected medical loss of Wayne Chambers, Brent Venables was hyperventilating before he received this week's mountain of great news. It was already good news with Curtis Lofton on board, but suddenly an avalanche of LB talent descended on OU in Lamont Robinson, Antonio Clay and Ryan Reynolds.

Regardless of rankings, you can bet that Venables would not trade this class for another, not just this year but anytime in memory. The trio of Lofton, Clay and Robinson were late additions to OU's list compared to Ryan Reynolds, who the Sooners have had targeted for two years or more. Lofton barely showed a slight interest in Oklahoma only a year ago, and Clay and Robinson were just names on a long list of talented linebackers last spring.

Certainly Lofton and Robinson made the biggest strides up the OU want list. Perhaps Venables thought he had no chance at either last spring, but you can bet that he's a very happy man now that he has these four.

The commitment of Reynolds is particularly pleasing. Not just because he's been the top LB target on the OU radar screen for several years, but because he plays for powerhouse Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. Actually, Reynolds and many other 'Gale' players are not from Las Vegas. Reynold's family really lives in nearby Lake Havasu City, Arizona, where Mr. Reynolds is a major real estate developer of luxury property.

Like many 'power high schools' in the West, Gorman attracts top regional players from Southern Nevada and Northwestern Arizona. Their facilities rival many small colleges and the team often travels via chartered jet. Which in the end means nothing, except that Gorman is home to several top OU prospects next year, including a QB, a highly touted running back and several other players who will get major D1 attention.

Disappointments and Pleasant Surprises
Ryan Reynolds was the big news Saturday, but there was plenty of news outside the commitment table. Roy Miller committed to Texas, and ended the nightmare of 'is he or isn't he?'. Seems that Mack used some major smack on Miller senior and the military man bought the goods. Too bad as the Sooners loved Miller and still may be in contact. If there is ANY possible recruiting day surprise, this one could be it - but don't count on it.

At this point in the process it's always surprising to hear that OU coaches have dropped any top prospect, until they explain that they only have so much time and it's a far better investment to go after kids that we have a good shot at, rather than continue to mess with kids that want to be drama queens and use Oklahoma as their big story prop.

Among those OU dropped; Ekom Udofia, who the OU coaches think will pick Stanford.

As further proof that this 'cut bait' strategy has an effect, Kansas City's D.J. Hord now says the Sooners have 'no chance' to get him, as he was miffed when they went after Derrick Williams with all guns blasting. As a revenge tactic he'll sign with Notre Dame on February 2nd, and the Sooners will have to settle for Juaquin Iglesias, (6-1/180/4.5) of Killeen, Texas if they are to get any more receivers. You really can't blame the Sooners here, as Williams and his family gave many signs that they would likely commit to Oklahoma.

Fred Rouse was also a disappointment. Not for lack of talent, but total lack of effort. No doubt this is one of the most gifted players in high school football, but he chose not to show it this week in San Antonio.

Remember when we told you back in July that this year's top quarterbacks would not make the Elite 11 camp last year? We were bombarded with abuse for that one, however please send us your congrats as we pull a Traber and 'give it up to ourselves' for that bold statement. On the whole, the quarterbacks at the game seemed very average.

Ryan Perrilloux, however, was a very impressive young man. Polite, not at all arrogant as we suspected, (and much less flamboyant than his website suggests). However he's no Rhett Bomar, (or Tommy Grady for that matter). He may not be as good as current 'Horn Vincent Young, but he can move! And Mark Sanchez will never remind you of the current USC QB, (who we'll choose to not name at this time).

OK, some pleasant surprises. Dajleon Farr and Martellus Bennett are taller than we thought, and much thinner. We were expecting to see hulks inserted into football gear. Not so. Either would look more at home in basketball uniforms, and they are almost carbon copies physically.

Believe it or not, (and we kept going back and forth on this one ourselves), TE Martellus Bennett may sign with Oklahoma. Easily the craziest player on either roster, Martellus is no shrinking violet. He does not mind in engaging in conversation, on any subject, and is quick to tell you his feeling about anything, anytime.

All of this makes us totally discount all previous recruiting reports on this young man. He's likely to say anything - anytime, (including yelling 'Boomer Sooner' as he left the practice field one day). However, he is a very likeable guy, maybe our favorites, (along with Ryan Reynolds (who is steady rock solid reliable), and super nice guy Ryan Perrilloux).

Just so you'll know . . .
The commitments are somewhat staged. Players are asked early in the week if they plan on committing. Those who do confirm their decision with AA Game staff Friday night before the game. After that it's final. There's only one hat in that bag, not two or three as the TV suggests. So the player picks the school he named the night before, or looks like a total fool as he announces for 'Alabama' only to see a Florida Gator hat staring at him. What would happen if they put the wrong hat in the bag? Believe me, one OUInsider thought it would be great fun to pull a switch. (We talked him out of it).

Best Bets for Six to Seven Remaining Spots . . .
With 21 current commitments, the Sooners only have 6 or 7 left in order to hit this year's quota of 28 scholarships maximum, (a few counting on last years numbers). We had three off our top ten candidates list of last week commit, (and one, Udofia, was dropped by OU), so we're feeling pretty good. At this time, the eight prospects MOST LIKELY to sign with Oklahoma would include these: (in no particular order): DeMarcus Granger; Aaron Cummings; Curtis Crouch; Duke Robinson; Reggie Smith; Nic Harris; Juaquin Igelsias and yes, Martellus Bennett.

1) Demacus Granger, (6-2 / 325/ 5.2). The Sooners have to sweat out a visit to Tennessee this week, and unless Fulmer pulls another Meachum - this Dallas Kimball star has 'Oklahoma' written all over him but Texas, Arizona State and LSU are also remote possibilities.

2) OU still has Aaron Cummings, (6-4 / 240 / 4.7), in a holding pattern, but our guess is that they take him, based on athleticism alone. If there's a scholarship for Aaron, the Sooners will offer it to this eight man star - who is deserving.

3) The Sooners have liked North Carolina OL Curtis Crouch, (6-5 / 312 / 5.2), since day one, and have always been one of his favorites. However, you still think that Crouch may be looking for a team closer to home to top his trip to Norman. "I like Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, North Carolina State, Clemson and Florida, all are equal now." Curtis said.

4) Duke Robinson is a big (6'6, 330), Georgia offensive lineman that holds forty plus scholarship offers. "I like Georgia, Oklahoma and Arkansas now. They're all even. Florida is still in there too, but those are my top three," Robinson says this week.

5) The Sooner's top DB prospect is Edmond all star Reggie Smith, (6-0 / 192 / 4.5), who could not help but notice the 'Vacancy' sign hanging around one of next year's safety positions as Brodney Pool flirts with the NFL. Reportedly, Mom and Dad slightly favor the North's version of the Big Red, but we say his heart beats crimson. Regardless, Reggie will not be announcing his collegiate decision for another week or two, so we'll have plenty to sweat out here.

6) Nic Harris, (6-3 / 210 / 4.7), the outstanding 'athlete' from Alexandria, LA, will likely announce on signing day. LSU, OU and Texas A&M may be the leaders, Harris refuses to say. OU coaches really like Nic as a person and would love to see him land here.

7) Martellus Bennett, (6-6 / 240 / 4.7), of Houston, Texas who now says basketball will be a major factoring his decision. Kelvin Sampson and OU assistant Ray McCallum could have an impact here, and it looks like this is going to be another signing day shocker. But for who?

8) New to the list is Killeen receiver Juaquin Igelsias, (6-1 / 180 / 4.5), who was offered by Oklahoma last week. What wre the Sooners thinking? We'll have to wait until signing day to figure this one out. But Juaquin does have nice numbers, strength and plenty of speed. He also plays basketball and runs track. "I'm a good physical possession receiver. I can get things done over the middle. I am much better at going up and getting passes. And I feel that if a ball is thrown my way that I am going to come down with it." At least he has confidence.

Other Possibilities:

After our 'best bets' are several possibilities. The Sooners could get one or two out of this group, but the question is who?

OU needs offensive linemen and the best still available include Orlando Florida offensive lineman Matt Hardrick (6-5, 342, 5.7), Scout's #9 OL. Hardrick now says Florida State leads slightly over Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Florida. "Florida State leads slightly right now, and Oklahoma is my number two school." Matt visits FSU today and OU gets their chance to pull ahead on January 16, and it will be critical to make an impression then. "My trip to Oklahoma is going to be at the beginning of the week. I'm leaving for there right after the All-American game on January 15."

Although rumors continue to fly regarding Louisville DT James McKinney (6-3, 263, 4.9), Scout's #9 ranked DT - and Michigan, he's denies that he's all Blue, but mast experts say Hail to the Victors. Sooners could pull even, if they get a visit and time is runing out.

Chris Barney, 6-5 and 330 pounds, has been on two official visits so far and plans on taking three more. "I went to NC State on the 3rd and Rutgers on the 10th," he said. In January, I have Miami on the 21st and then my final visit will either be to USC or Oklahoma. I haven't decided on that last one yet." If the Sooners can just get Barney to visit, they have a shot.

Roy Miller, (6-2 / 295 / 4.9), is now unofficially a Texas Longhorn, just as he once was unofficially firmly committed to Oklahoma. Can the Sooners edge the Horns out at the last moment? It's looking very unlikely . . . but he's changed his mind before.

OU Commitments

DE JC **** C.J. AhYou 6-5 / 250 / 4.6
DE 27 *** Brody Eldridge 6-5 / 230 / 4.7
DE 48 *** Auston English 6-3 / 220 / 4.6
DT 31 **** Brian Simmons 6-5 / 305 / 5.0
-L 38 *** Billy Blackard 6-3 / 292 / 4.9
LB 10 **** Curtis Lofton 6-2 / 240 / 4.6
OL JC JC Brandon Keith 6-6 / 320 / 5.2
OL 34 **** Jesse White 6-3 / 287 / 4.8
OL 45 *** Jon Cooper 6-3 / 273 / 4.9
OL 71 *** Ben Barresi 6-6 / 282 / 5.0
RB 51 *** Matt Clapp 6-2 / 235 / 4.7
SS JC *** Allen Patrick 6-3 / 200 / 4.4
SS -6 ***** Keenan Clayton 6-2 / 210 / 4.5
WR-4 ***** Malcolm Kelly 6-4 / 190 / 4.5
WR 10 **** Eric Huggins 6-3 / 190 / 4.5
WR 29 **** Manuel Johnson 6-0 / 170 / 4.6
DE 46 *** Cordero Moore 6-2 / 260 / 4.9
CB 27 *** Brian Jackson 6-1 / 210 / 4.5
LB -7 ***** Ryan Reynolds 6-2 / 220 / 4.6
LB 16 **** Antonio Clay 6-1 / 207 / 4.7
LB 28 **** Lamont Robinson 6-2 / 220 / 4.6

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