Dvoracek's Return . . .
As many Oklahoma fans were hoping, Dusty Dvoracek has been reinstated to the football team and now has an open door to return to the field in 2005. While he has not completed the final lap, he has made the sincere effort to address his problem, and most predict a very positive outcome.
"When Dusty was removed from the team he looked for ways to overcome the difficulties he was having," coach Bob Stoops said. "A number of outstanding people worked with him for several months and continue to so now. I am satisfied, as are they, that he has earned another opportunity with our program. He paid a penalty in missing most of last season and has impressed me with the way he approached and is approaching his self-improvement."
"Dusty understands the expectations we have for him and the kind of scrutiny he will face in making this return. We'll do everything we can to make this a good situation for him, but the choices he makes in personal conduct will ultimately dictate how successful he can be. I believe he is a young man with tremendous potential, both athletically and academically, and I am confident that extending this opportunity for him to finish his career in a positive way is the right thing to do."
Dvoracek, a senior from Lake Dallas, Texas, said he plans to make the most of this opportunity.
"I squandered an opportunity to be on a great football team last fall and embarrassed a number of people, including myself," Dvoracek said. "It was a hard lesson to learn, but I learned it. The people at OU held me to a high standard before I was considered for a return and I recognize that nobody was required to do this for me. I want to show them that their trust in me is deserved. The only way I can do that is to come back and be the kind of citizen, student and football player that they expect me to be. No amount of talk will do that. It will only be apparent in my actions."
On October 2nd - two weeks after he was removed from the 2004 squad, we first reported in the Weekend Wrap-up that there was a possibility of a return in 2005:
"Dusty Dvoracek's spotlight has only heightened the focus of most OU fans on defensive tackle recruits. But even before his problems, Dvoracek was due to graduate and leave a hole at DT. There have been discussions of Dusty taking a redshirt year to get his life re-aligned, and returning next year. All of that depends on three factors: his willingness and his progress in licking his problems; Coach Stoops' consent, and his NFL prospects next spring. If Dvoracek's issues dropped his NFL stock, he may elect to return, but that door is not yet open, and will depend on several factors beyond his control."
Obviously Dvoracek's sincerity opened up those closed doors, both of Stoops and OU President David Boren, who had to sign off on the return.
White continues to Shrink?
Jesse White has had a tough two weeks. First he was ill at the Army All Star game, and now he's being accused of being Eschbach's half brother, (with some reporting his height to be 5'11"). While we did not take a measuring tape with us to San Antonio last week, we did talk to Jesse 'one on one' several times. (Although he did not participate in practice, he did attend them and other game events).
How big is he? OK, when we asked him point blank; he said; "six -two and a quarter." Is he really? We don't know, but if someone was going to give me a million dollars if we could come within half an inch we'd say "6'1". The point is: How big is he in a game? One witness, who has seen plenty of film, says the Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year is very impressive on film; "He blows people away, totally dominates. He'll make a terrific guard or center." (By the way, All America center Vince Carter and White are very close to the same height).
Another fact to consider, White is one of the strongest players in the nation with a 475 bench and a 650 pound squat. He also has a vertical jump of 30". No other O-Linemen at San Antonio could match those numbers. And, to be honest, all of the OL's at the camp looked smaller than advertised save for Reggie Youngblood, (6'5") and Michael Oher, who were both huge. Still Youngblood, who was at the top of OU's OL list all year, 'only' benches 315 and his vertical is 28." White tops both numbers.
Bottom line here is that Oklahoma is very happy to have Jesse on board, whether he's 6'1 or 6'2, who cares. He'll play as quick as any of the incoming linemen, and someday will challenge for honors.
Final Push for Top Honors and a Last Minute Scramble . . .
Most of the Sooners recruiting work is done, but the finals days will be very important to the 2005 Sooner recruiting class. OU is going to have a highly rated class, probably in the top five. OU could finish number one of they can land Reggie Smith, DeMarcus Granger and Martellus Bennett during the final 10 days. Also if the Sooners can sign Syd Quan Thompson, Nic Harris or Riuchard Goodman, that would provide positive rating points.
As James reported last night, it's a mad scramble for the few remaining scholarships. Which begs the question, why does it seem to be so disjointed?
Basically, you have several different opinions within the staff for the remaining spots. Defensive coaches naturally want to give the remaining scholarships to players on their side of the ball, just as offensive coaches want to reload their side. Also, is it 27 or 28 total? Going into the recruiting process the Sooners felt they 28 (total) scholarships to give. That number may now be 27 with WR Tristen Ross coming back to the team after one semester in JUCO.
That leaves six scholarships and how the Sooners could spend those scholarships depends on a number of things.
OU is obviously holding scholarships for FS Reggie Smith (OU, NEB, USC), OL Duke Robinson (OU leads GA) and DT DeMarcus Granger (OU Leads). OU is also holding a scholarship for a TE in either Martellus Bennett (OU trails UT) or Aaron Cummings (soft verbal TU, but an OU Lean).
OU would also love to sign another WR and they are in on two very good ones in Syd'Quan Thompson and Richard Goodman of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, who they hope to bring in sometimes this week. OU just got into the recruiting fray for Goodman and they lead on Thompson. Both are outstanding players. Goodman is a late surprise and there could be a few others this last week as other teams learn they have to make adjustments the final week.
There was a rumor posted that the Sooners are no longer interested in Syd'Quan Thompson, as they do not have a scholarship. That's not true, the Sooners are still recruiting him and until Thompson, and others still out there make a decision, the total numbers are impossible to project by any human.
Why the fixation with Receivers and DB's?
One, OU is short, and two, these recruits mentioned above are some of the best athletes in high school football nationwide. Any could play several positions. You can never have too many athletes like Antonio Perkins or Andre Woolfolk. Besides Thompson, the best two athletes still out there have to be Reggie Smith and Nic Harris. OU is very much in the mix for Louisiana's Harris, (his decision is down to OU and Michigan). Meanwhile Smith says he is going to announce before signing day, or close to it, while Harris says he will announce on signing day.
OU should know what is going on with Smith before Harris is ready to announce his decision. And is that what Harris is really waiting on? If so, it shouldn't matter, as OU sees each as a different type of player, with Harris making a perfect 'RoyBacker.'
Every year we have 'secret recruit, secret - commitment 'stories, (most started by folks who want to tease you into buying their stuff). There are always cases where staffs try to get in on players that have committed elsewhere in the last month. OU, and every other school out there does it. It's no 'secret' that everyone continues to hammer prospects rated higher than those on their board up until signing day. So what then is the definition of a 'secret recruit?' (Did Adrian Peterson qualify last year as A&M and UT were still trying to make last second runs at AD)?
Since when were any recruits a secret in the first place? OK, let's address the question: Are there ANY 'secret recruits' this year?
Here's the real story: There is one prospect that is committed to another Big 12 school that the Sooners are hoping to get a commitment switch from. He'll decide by Thursday. (And no, it's not a Longhorn). There are a couple of other kids that are committed elsewhere, but continue to call OU, (and vice versa), some openly such as Syd'Quan Thompson, (Cal), Chris Todd, (Texas Tech), and Aaron Cummings, (Tulsa).
As to secret commitment rumors, there might be one or two 'unofficial' pledges from prospect s that do not want it announced yet, (but that's not all that uncommon). Again, what is the definition here? Kids 'commit' and rethink all the time, although at this time of year they become pretty solid as scholarships disappear faster than dessert at a picnic.
He's no secret . . .
We've avoided talking about former Texas commit Quan Cosby, (5-10, 200, 4.4), who was a very highly rated 'five star' prospect before deciding to play MLB. Earlier, UT had not yet released Quan, and although they have now, he still must go through one more year of spring training in order to fulfill his obligations and secure his full compensation under his contract.
Crosby will decide sometime this spring and will not be counted in this years numbers, but it's no 'secret' that the Sooners would love to land this unbelievable athlete.
Crosby visited both UT and Baylor this week, will visit OU next weekend and admits that early PT will enter into his decision: "It's very rare that a freshman can come in start, but it does happen. Now, at my age, I will be looking to come in and start. I am going to get into great shape and go into camp looking to start. Academically, it doesn't change that much because I am still going to be a freshman. But athletically, I am looking at it a little bit differently."
OL down to a few options . . .
If the Sooners do not land Robinson, James hinted that they might make a late run after in state players Craig Roark and/or Dain Wise. Is it too late on both those players? As James said, it's never too late on in-state kids who grew up wanting to be an Oklahoma Sooner like these two. However, both have committed to other schools and they may feel such loyalty to those schools that even if OU does offer this week they stick with those commitments.
This is also where the 'secret' recruit, (see above), might enter the photo. So a number of things could happen here, but the most likely scenario is that the Sooners end up with Robinson and call it a day.
Then you have the QB Chris Todd who will decide between OU and Texas Tech and he is a soft verbal to the Red Raiders. OU likes Todd a great deal and they hope they can add him to the roster. As for former OSU commitment Gremon Coffman, the Sooners are still talking, but it's hard to show the same dedication as A&M when Smith, Harris and Thompson are more highly thought of, at least nationally.
Attitude fits . . .
One reason the Sooners were desperate for offensive linemen earlier this fall was the uncertainty surrounding massive Brandon Keith, (6-6, 320), of NEO. Brandon's progress is one reason that the OU coaches can relax and subtract one scholarship offer at the tackle spot. Keith has great size, numbers, (435 bench press, 650 squat, 4.8 40), and the aggressive, confident attitude that will be sorely needed along Kevin Wilson's 2005 offensive line.
"The guys up there are good, and I talk regularly with Akim(Millington). We talk all the time so he knows that I feel that I can come up there and get that job this season. I feel I am better than him, but he has experience in the system that I don't have. Athletically, there is no comparison. If I come in and rock-n-roll and get everything down I can start any where on the line. Akim is a great player, and I know that Coach Wilson will play the best five players so it may be better that Akim plays left tackle and I play guard. Or maybe I will play right tackle and Davin Joseph can stay at right guard. Kelvin Chaisson has started a number of games at left guard and Chris Bush will be a good center, so if it is us five on the offensive line then I don't think we will miss a beat."
"OU had a real good O-line last year, but Davin, Kevin and Chris are back and I think Akim and myself and help keep everything going. That is why I think I have grown as a player in that I realize that playing in the O-line is not all about me and that a coach has to put together his best line. I know Coach Wilson will be looking to get his best five offensive linemen on the field, and I know I am going to be one of those five."
Recording Star or football player?
What's with the 'out of the woodwork' pledge from Juaquin Igelsias, (6-1 / 180 / 4.5)? Answer; Bobby Jack Wright. That's the same Bobby Jack Wright that brought us such 'no-bodies' as: Quintin Griffin, Derrick Strait and Mark Clayton. Bobby Jack is one coach who laughs at lists, (thank goodness). His talent is finding kids that can play, and apparently Igelsias fits that description. His high school coach says Juaquin is as good of an athlete as he's ever coached, and if you recall, Killeen, Texas is no football wasteland.
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.
We'll have to trust Bobby Jack on this one, and if Juaquin turns out like any of the above trio, we may all have to forget the rankings and just ask coach Wright who he likes every summer.
Best Bets for Five to Six Remaining Spots . . .
At this time, the eight prospects MOST LIKELY to sign with Oklahoma would include, (this time, in order):
1. DeMarcus Granger
2. Duke Robinson
3. Reggie Smith
4. Nic Harris
5. Marcellus Bennett or Aaron Cummings
6. Syd'Quan Thompson or Gremon Coffman
Current Oklahoma Commitments
DE C.J. AhYou 6-5 / 250 / 4.6 Snow J.C. (Utah)
DE Brody Eldridge 6-5 / 230 / 4.7 La Cygne, KS
DE Auston English 6-3 / 220 / 4.6 Canadian, TX
DT Brian Simmons 6-5 / 305 / 5.0 Hargrave Military
-L Billy Blackard 6-3 / 292 / 4.9 Claremore, OK
LB Curtis Lofton 6-2 / 240 / 4.6 Kingfisher, OK
OL Brandon Keith 6-6 / 320 / 5.2 NE Oklahoma JC
OL Jesse White 6-2 / 287 / 4.8 Denver, CO
OL Jon Cooper 6-3 / 273 / 4.9 Ft. Collins, CO
OL Ben Barresi 6-6 / 282 / 5.0 Edmond, OK
RB Matt Clapp 6-2 / 235 / 4.7 Phoenix, AZ
SS Allen Patrick 6-3 / 200 / 4.4 Independence JC
SS Keenan Clayton 6-2 / 210 / 4.5 Sulphur Springs, TX
WR Malcolm Kelly 6-4 / 190 / 4.5 Longview, TX
WR Eric Huggins 6-3 / 190 / 4.5 Conway, SC
WR Manuel Johnson 6-0 / 170 / 4.6 Gilmer, TX
DE Cordero Moore 6-2 / 260 / 4.9 Mesquite, TX
CB Brian Jackson 6-1 / 210 / 4.5 DeSoto, TX
LB Ryan Reynolds 6-2 / 220 / 4.6 Las Vegas, NV
LB Antonio Clay 6-1 / 207 / 4.7 Jeffersonville, GA
LB Lamont Robinson 6-2 / 220 / 4.6 Salem, NJ
WR Juaquin Igelsias 6-1 / 180 / 4.5 Killeen, TX
OUInsider Weekend Wrapup (1/23)
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