Senior Bowl Surprise
'TFY Draft Preview' did a story today on the ten biggest 'winners' in Senior Bowl workouts this week. It's no shock to Sooner fans - but apparently NFL scouts doubted Sooner receiver Mark Clayton. No more. Here's what they had to say, in ranking Clayton as the 2nd biggest surprise of the camp:
"Flights full of scouts, coaches and general managers lifted off from Mobile starting Wednesday as they now decipher the players that gained the most from last weeks experience, and who went in the other direction.
The Big Winners
1) Khalif Barnes - The only question that remained after Thursday's practice is how high Barnes will go in round one. Barnes was consistently dominant in all aspects and "wowed" scouts every day.
2) Mark Clayton - Clayton proved he is much more then a receiver that benefited from Oklahoma's wide open offense rather a complete pass catcher with a variety of skills. While some may doubt whether or not he is a number one receiver in the NFL there's no question his skills warrant a pick in the middle of the first frame."
This is great news for Mark, but it may worry some Sooner fans who wonder how OU will miss Clayton next year. Oklahoma loses four senior receivers, (Clayton, Ataleo Ford, Brandon Jones and Will Peoples), from the current squad and has four commitments as of today. And they are still in the hunt for Quan Cosby, who some say could immediately step in and take Clayton's spot.
But Longview Texas head coach Pat Collins has another suggestion: Sooner commit Malcolm Kelly, (6-3.5 / 190 /4.5). "It's a travesty that Malcolm was not in the (US Army) All Star game, I feel so strongly about it that I may not ever send another player to that game. He was, by far, the best receiver in the state of Texas this year. I saw those receivers in that game, and I only saw one that could hold his jock. Kelly's the 'real deal' - he's special - just a tremendous athlete. He's the next Roy Williams. He's a natural."
Another candidate would be Eric Huggins, (6-3 / 190 /4.5), who is on campus this weekend with former Conway team mate Allen Patrick. But folks in Gilmer, Texas say they have the answer in Manuel Johnson, (6-0 / 170 / 4.6), and if you don't believe it take a look at his video in our recruiting vault. Johnson is already 15 pounds heavier than Clayton was after his senior year, and possesses the exact 'lightning in a bottle' YAC explosiveness. The fact that he had to play quarterback this year did not give him the stats of other all star receivers, but he did complete his assignment and come home with Gilmer's first ever Texas State Championship trophy, instantly giving him permanent 'all time hero' status in this small East Texas town that's turned out it's share of college talent.
Recruiting, ALMOST over . . .
With recruiting down to just ten prospects, the Weekend Wrap Up does tend to get shorter, and so does our patience with those left uncommitted. At this time, OU has five (or as many as six), openings left, and eight (or nine), solid prospects.
1. DeMarcus Granger - OU chances: 99+%
2. Duke Robinson - OU chances: 75%
3. Reggie Smith - OU chances: 50%
4. Kyle Moore - OU chances: 40%
5. Nic Harris - OU chances: 35%
6. Aaron Cummings - OU chances: 90 % (if offered)
7. Martellus Bennett - OU chances: 5 %
8. Syd'Quan Thompson - OU chances: 5 %
9. Mystery Man - OU chances: 25%
Certainly, the top five or six off of this list could make any coach happy. Regardless of how this class is ranked, it probably would be Stoop's best if four of the 'top five' sign with the Sooners Wednesday.
How about . . .
Sure we could also throw Gremon Coffman's name in there, and the Sooners would certainly take him if Smith and Harris both opt elsewhere. Texas A&M does not have that luxury and is going after Coffman with all guns blazing, and it appears that OU would need a miracle to get him if they do not get Smith or Harris.
As we have said for months, the recruitment of Reggie Smith has crippled OU's efforts to get others such as Coffman or Nic Harris. But Reggie is just that good - and the OU coaches want him that bad. Forget the Nebraska love fest, If OU coaches did not think the world of Reggie they would have long ago gone after others. Harris was thought to be waiting on Smith's decision, and the wait has probably placed Michigan in the lead here. So now OU likely will drop to a secondary position with Harris, if Smith indeed goes through with current plans to announce on signing day.
However, if Smith announces for SC or Nebraska next week, it's certainly a fact that it would have been far better for OU if he'd announced a month or two ago. If Reggie does elect to wear Crimson, all is forgiven very quickly. If 'Big Monday's' "we want Reggie" chants did not hit home, nothing can convince this family that he would be a huge crowd favorite in Norman.
Think we might push all of these kids too hard?
The recruiting pressure on Nic Harris has been astronomical. Nic was hospitalized Thursday evening for exhaustion. "I have been pushing myself too hard with training, school and recruiting, and then more training, school and recruiting. At this point I don't know of any other way to go about my life. This is my last year in high school and I want to finish well in school and my training can never take a back seat. My decision where I am going to go to school is going to be one of the biggest decisions that I am ever going to make and I have to make sure that I make the right one. I guess everything caught up with me and now I need to rest a little bit."
"Man, this is really tough on me and it is getting real hard," said Harris. "There is so much to like about both schools and both schools are so great. I don't have a decision yet. This, (OU vs Michigan), is going to be a very tough decision to make."
One prospect that has slipped almost out of contention is QB Chris Todd, who is a soft verbal to the Texas Tech Red Raiders. OU likes Todd - but it may be too hard to hide Grady and Bomar to a high school senior. Todd is still in the picture, but it very likely he'll stick with Lubbock. There has been much talk, (primarily through Robert Allen), about OU bringing in Littleton, Colorado QB Zac Robinson, (6-3 / 185 /4.50), for a last minute push. It could happen, and Robinson could also delay a commitment until after this week, but last moment recruiting deals usually do not come together.
We are not counting Quan Cosby, (5-10, 200, 4.4), in the group either. Quan will decide between OU and Texas with Tennessee and Baylor possibilities later this spring. Cosby has plenty of time, and is getting ready to report for his final spring (baseball) training before he maps out a potential return to football.
OK, what about the Mystery Man?
Every school always makes a last minute push for someone. One 'under the radar' Sooner target was OL Nick Stringer of Topeka, Kansas, but he decided to stick with K-State this week after a semi 'secret' visit to OU last weekend. Who knows what 'might have been,' but it did not help that his name got out there. (Folks, some of you are in positions to know things and all we ask is that you respect the program enough to NOT tell everything in sensitive situations like this: Loose Lips Sink Ships!).
We bring this up to say that there is one more prospect that has committed elsewhere that is close to switching to Oklahoma. (No, we can not tell you his name as that would kill the efforts to sway him, but if there is one potential signing day surprise, he would be the one. Please don't ask us to comment further on this until early in the week). We will talk about it this later week, and certainly after Wednesday morning.
And now for the really good news . . .
Dallas Kimball All-American defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger did not visit Tennessee and will announce his decision to become a Sooner on Sunday night.
Although we have known about this for a few weeks - we'll tell you and let the members here relax. (Please do not post this on Owen Field, let's let this young man have his big day on FOX). About the only thing in doubt here is what DeMarcus will wear and we'll also see that first hand Sunday as well.
Could he change his mind? Yes. Will he? No.
All American DT DeMarcus Granger - set to be a Sooner Sunday!
More good news . . .
OU appears to still be in very good position for Duke Robinson of Atlanta Washington, Georgia as the Sooners still lead over the 'Dawgs after a huge push from 'tween the hedges' this week.
And that alone is enough to keep star DE Kyle Moore, (6-6 / 249 / 4.9), Warner Robins, GA. in the Sooner's sights. Just a week ago it looked like OU's chances had gone stone cold, but Moore is having second thoughts about former favorites Miami and USC, and at least has moved OU into the final selection as a solid contender. If OU scores this upset, (and it would still be a big one), break out the champagne and toast Kevin Sumlin, who is close to joining such aces as Brent Venables, Darrell Wyatt, Bobby Jack Wright and Jackie Shipp as a recruiting Top Gun.
Not to imply that every Sooner coach has not had success and contributed to this year's class. They all have. In some years you're assigned an impossible task, or territory, and some years you just get lucky. Lucky or good, don't matter on signing day, as long as that FAX rolls in on time. The bottom line is that this staff is now working together, many times as a team, to land one of the best classes in OU history. We'll take it, no matter how they do it, or who gets credit.
As James posted, TE Aaron Cummings is in this week and will sit down and look at film with OU coaches. Truth is that Aaron can probably play several positions, in addition to TE, and that could be the focus of the film study. It's no secret that TE is a top ten OU target next year and one young man in Ardmore may just be the nation's best. So Oklahoma has to at least consider his recruitment here as well.
Also, recent evaluations project Joe Jon Finley to be much more involved in the passing game next year as defenses stack to stop Adrian Peterson and a more mobile OU quarterback.
If so, could Cummings eventually play DE or elsewhere? We hear he could, and we expect the Sooner coaches to offer Sunday morning. What does this say about Martellus Bennett? Probably nothing, as Bennett may be the wackiest prospect still out there, (but also one of the most lovable, and talented). But at some point in time, you have to march forward and go on. Hopefully the Sooners can get a last minute commitment for Bennett, but reality says it's not likely.
This week . . .
Join us at O'Connell's Pub on signing day. James and Brian will be manning the phones, (and giving live updates), and the rest of us posting the commitments on the board as we receive them. The OU coaches always come by to say 'hello' and you'll want to hear their comments as well.
And, if you've not signed up for the Recruiting Luncheon on the day AFTER signing day, (next Thursday), do it now as we are getting short on seats.
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 6-3 / 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
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