OUInsider Weekend Wrapup (6/25)

See inside for a recap of the week's news and notes surrounding Oklahoma football. Plus, an in-depth look at Oklahoma's top defensive recruits, inlcuding Garland, Texas defensive lineman Brandon Antwine (pictured above).

Hitting the Summer with 'Schmitty'

One key to the success of Oklahoma during the Bob Stoops era has been the serious work that the Sooners have employed each summer. Obviously, every program in America also shows similar effort in the summer, and the top programs all recruit from the talent same pool, yet Oklahoma has continued to dominate despite graduation losses and complete turnover of athletes.

What's the difference?

After spending hours with Sooner strength and speed coach Jerry Schmidt over the past few weeks, we believe that the major distinction is that Schmidt simply knows what he is doing, while many others just work hard.

Jerry knows each athlete and what the strength, agility and speed demands of their position are. He understands their body makeup, bone and muscle structure. With this knowledge he prescribes an ideal formula, including a target playing weight and body fat count, with a unique set of exercises, drills and diet necessary to attain the goals, and charts their progress along the way.

With dedication and desire, good athletes are transformed into great tackles, running backs and safeties over time. This week we noted a few progress reports on next years leaders. In the offensive line, Davin Joseph and Chris Bush have become team leaders. Schmidt has set a 300 pound playing weight for Chris Chester, who played at 278 last year.

At receiver, Travis Wilson is positioning himself for a terrific senior year, as he has gone from 215 to 226 pounds while maintaining amazing 10.3 speed in the 100 meters and 4.43 in the 40. Wilson had a high of nine pass receptions last year in the Nebraska game (135 yards), and is now No. 2 in career TD receptions at Oklahoma.

Schmidt has Carl Pendleton slated to play 280 to 285 this year, which is about 15 pounds heavier than last season when Pendleton finished his freshman year at 265. Carl says he now understands the importance of bulk along the line.

"He went through it and saw first-hand," said Schmidt. "He knows he can't be light playing in the trenches. Nobody outworks Carl Pendleton. He is a great guy who is always on time and works his tail off, and he understands what he needs to do to be successful."

Like Pendleton, middle linebacker Zach Latimer is another guy that had trouble keeping weight on last year. Latimer was up to 238 following the spring game, but Schmidt wants him to hit 245 in August.

"Zach has really matured since he has been here and he has a ton of talent. He just needs to put his weight on and keep it on."

Latimer's time has come and he is having his best off season.

Speed Kills

Many of the drills Schmidt prescribes are designed to increase speed — both straight ahead and agility. Schmidt pointed out some impressive speed numbers as well. (All legitimate times).

"At receiver, obviously Travis, at that size (226) had a time of 4.43, which is pretty amazing. We have to watch him because we don't want him to get too big. Jejuan Rankins is a legitimate 4.4 guy. Lendy Holmes is a 4.5 guy. He is not as fast as Mark Clayton and those guys, but he has that start-and-stop like Clayton had."

"At quarterback, you look at Rhett Bomar, who is a high 4.6 guy that can run and is real impressive. Paul Thompson is a 4.58 guy consistently, but he is really fast, and at times can run faster than that."

Of course, there's Adrian Peterson. "I timed A.D. the first day he was on campus and he ran a 4.42 and a 4.43 with some funky shoes (Reebok high-tops) on. Very impressive when you consider that he just drove up here from home, stepped out of the car and runs a 4.4. Same story (4.4) with Marcus Walker last year on his first day."

"At linebacker, I think Rufus Alexander can work to get back to 4.55 and Clint Ingram is a 4.58 guy who has a ton of talent. He just needs to keep his weight and stay physical."

"Along the line, Dusty Dvoracek is a high 4.8 guy, who weighs 305. Larry Birdine is a 4.85 guy, but a guy who plays faster than that. Alonzo Dotson is in that range as well. We have guys on defense that can run, but we just need to continue to help them mature."

First Impressions: More Freshmen Marvels

This freshman class is the most impressive yet under Bob Stoops. It is not just their athletic ability, but their intelligence and work ethic. Before arriving at OU, Reggie Smith (208 pounds) was considered a speed guy and a gifted skill athlete, but he has been stronger in the weight room than anybody expected. Nic Harris is a workout jewel and continues to impress, as does Keenan Clayton. Another pleasant surprise has been cornerback Brian Jackson, a fantastic athlete with 4.48 speed at 210 pounds.

If freshman wide receiver Manuel Johnson travels this year, we expect him to battle for the holder's job on extra points. Imagine the possibilities with this dual threat dynamo as your holder? We've also talked about Malcolm Kelly showing up at an impressive 6-4, 210, and running like a mad man.

Another 6-4 receiver, Eric Huggins, is just now getting into the flow of things at OU, but there is no question about his speed and athletic ability.

Hold on Berry

A Daily Oklahoman article suggested this week that Rhett Bomar and Paul Thompson would rotate to begin the year. We have no idea if that's true or not, but both Chuck Long and Stoops appear to be open to it. We object, however, to the fact that Tommy Grady was not mentioned.

What happens if Grady comes in and has the best camp of the three? What happens if Grady, not Bomar or Thompson, wins the back-up slot? Too many times we try to predict the future. Perhaps it's best to see what happens before we say what will.

The week in Recruiting: Offensive news

Last week we talked offense, this week we'll cover the 'Most Likely Defensive players' that OU has a chance on. But first, there were some new developments on the offensive side of the ball.

Michael Goodson (5-11.5, 188, 4.5), who is ranked as the top RB in Texas, has returned home after visiting OU and OSU this week and will announce his decision early next month. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and USC are all solidly in the running.

"It will come down to Mike putting all four schools on a board and weighing everything, because they all have something unique to offer. It's going to be a really tough decision," his father said yesterday on Friday.

With every week and every visit, speculation changes on the Goodson saga. Early on, A&M appeared to be the clear leader, but took the expected backseat after an eye-popping trip to USC. OU was thought to be barely alive until this week's visit, and OSU is a relatively newcomer to the drama.

Although the in-person evaluation period is officially over, OU coaches continue to discuss and judge film as a staff. New scholarship offers on offense went to several prospects this week, including:

Offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert, (6'6 ½, 285, 4.9), Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas HS). Gilbert is the third Aquinas linemen to get an OU offer, joining Sam Young and Dan Wegner, on what has to be the best high school line in the nation.

"We've played together a long time, so we don't think about how good or how highly we are ranked nationally," said Gilbert. "We dominate the line of scrimmage pretty well. The majority of the time we like to run the ball. I play offensive and defensive tackle, so I go both ways. I am the only offensive linemen that does that."

"I haven't narrowed down my choices at this point. My dad and I are going to sit down and discuss the schools and try to narrow down my choices this weekend. I am considering Miami, LSU, Oklahoma, North Carolina State, North Carolina, and maybe Michigan."

What is it about Oklahoma that he likes at this point?

"I like their tradition and coaching staff," said Gilbert. "I like coach Kevin Wilson and the opportunity that I would have at Oklahoma. I'm pretty sure I am going to visit Oklahoma."

Last week, we mentioned that OU was making a push to get on Cincinnati's All American lineman Aaron Brown's (6'6, 285, 5.1), list. A week ago, we doubted that Oklahoma even had a chance here, but the sun did shine a little brighter this week. Brown has been offered by close to 50 schools at this point, and he is keeping the recruiting process wide open.

"We're breaking everything down now, so I am not just looking at one or two schools at this point," said Brown. "We need to find out who has my major (sports medicine or education) and we need to find out what schools are doing in the offensive line."

Does he have any interest in OU?

"Yes, Oklahoma is one of the schools that I am interested in. I hope to get out there this summer."

Brown also says that his is considering Florida, Florida State, Auburn, Louisville, Ohio State, Purdue and Tennessee among a number of schools at this point.

On paper, Houston Aldine's Terrance Anderson looks good, but not outstanding. In person and on film, however, Anderson, (5-10,161,4.6), literally lights it up. Anderson currently plays quarterback, but we'll label him a pure playmaker.

"Schools like me as an athlete," says Anderson. "I played defensive back when I was a sophomore. It doesn't matter to me where I play in college."

His leading five emerge from this group. "My top two are Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the other three would be Wisconsin, Northwestern and Nebraska."

Dayton, Fla. Wide Receiver Tony Wilson, (6'0, 175, 4.45) also received a Sooner offer early this week. Wilson goes into his senior year at Mainland as a three-year starter, having lettered as a freshman at quarterback and wide receiver.

"This year I am going to start at receiver and safety," said Wilson. "I am also going to return kicks and punts and be on all special teams. In college, I don't care where I play, but most schools are recruiting me more as a receiver. Some of these schools are telling me that I can try to go both ways, but I know that I will be involved in the return game no matter where I go. Maybe I can get a Champ Bailey type deal going."

Wilson is not kidding about his ability in the return game.

"I averaged over 100 yards returning kicks every game," said Wilson. "Returning kicks and punts are something that I really enjoy. I love to break a game open on special teams."

In track, Wilson won the state 200M in class 4A title with a time of 21.7. Wilson has also posted a 100M time of 10.7, while also running the second leg in the 4X100 relay.

"I want to run track and I am listening to those schools that want me to run track," said Wilson. "Most schools tell me that they don't have any problem with me running both sports."

OU will have to make up some ground pretty fast in order to convince Wilson to visit.

"I have a top two," said Wilson. "Georgia would be first and Florida would be second. The others in my top five are LSU, Tennessee and Michigan. Florida State is another school that I am looking pretty hard at. I like Oklahoma, but I haven't heard that much from them. Their coach came by and offered me a scholarship, but that is about it up to this point. If they get serious with me then I might end up getting serious about them."

An early look at Oklahoma's Most Likely DEFFENSIVE prospects

What we are showing is a list, by position, with the prospects not ranked by name or athletic ability, but by OU's current chances of signing them. Because OU will only sign 25 prospects in February, we can expect this list will change dramatically several times over the next four or five months. As we saw this week, we can also expect that a few names will be added.

Again, we only report on prospects that OU has offered and mention those who we believe will get an OU offer soon. We do not, and will not, detail high school seniors that list Oklahoma as their favorite if they are not on the Sooner offer list at this time.

Defensive Line: OU expected to take five or six

We'll begin by giving you the D-Line prospects who we currently rank as the best bets to sign with the Sooners in February. Remember that these are the very best in the country, and it's reasonable to assume that Oklahoma will lose far more than they get off of this list, as they can only take five or six. Keep in mind too that many of these prospects are talented enough to play either DE, DT, or in some cases, another position:

Gerald McCoy, (6-4, 280), Oklahoma City, Okla.
Chaz Washington, (6-3, 288 ) , Destrehan, La.
Tim Johnson, (6-5, 265, 4.7), Northeastern A&M JC, Okla.
Derek Burton, (6-3, 250), Muskogee, Okla.
Brandon Antwine (6-2, 270, 4.8 ) , Garland, Texas
Greg Banks (6-5, 260, 4.8 ), Denver, Colo.
Louis Holmes, (6-6, 270), Scottsdale, Ariz.
Ugo Chinasa, (6-5, 230), Richardson, Texas
Jeff Miller, (6-6, 250) DL Westlake Village, Calif.
Lamar Houston, (6.4, 257, 4.6), Colorado Springs, Colo.
Audie Augustine, TE/DE, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Jermaine Cunningham, (6-4, 220) Stone Mountain, Ga.
Josh Minton, (6-4, 247) Pulaski Co, Ky.
Na Derris Ward, (6-5, 245, 4.8 ), Oakland, Calif.

Gerald McCoy, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive tackle from Southeast High School in Oklahoma City, is a rare local prospect that's as good as any nationwide. He previously has stated:

"How can I not like Oklahoma a lot? They are a powerhouse team and they are right down the street. I mean, it is really simple. I can't help but like Oklahoma," McCoy said a few weeks ago after his campus visit.

McCoy also talked about what he's looking for in a school:

"Playing time is important to me and how the coaches treat the players," McCoy said. "I want to play for a coach that cares about his players and who always wants the best for his players. The facilities and the campus environment are also important to me."

Also at the top of the Sooner shopping list is defensive tackle Chaz Washington, (6-3, 288, 5.2), of Destrehan, La. The last time we checked in on Chaz, he was almost ready to commit to OU but still thought it best to look around. Chaz gave us an update Tuesday (6-21).

"I went to Ole Miss and their camp, and our coach wanted all of us to go the LSU camp. At that camp, I beat the No. 1 offensive tackle in Texas several times. I think his name was Curtis Bailey, (OU OL prospect). I know he was a real big guy, but I had my moves working on that day. He is a great player, but I was just on with my game."

"I am considering Nebraska, Miami, USC, Georgia, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Auburn. There are other schools, but Oklahoma is my clear No. 1. I just need to pray about it and make sure that I am making the right decision because my family is going to move with me wherever I go. So, this is a big decision for me and my family."

"I'm going to keep my options open and take a couple of visits. I just want to see what is out there for me. Oklahoma will be one of those visits, and I will visit a couple more. Right now I think I am going to take those during basketball season. I have been playing three sports, but with recruiting and everything I think I am going to have to drop basketball. I am going to be looking at depth charts and the stability of the coaching staff. I think I am a raging bull out there and I think I can play early in college. That is something that I am going to be looking for."

You can bet that the Sooners are also praying.

Perhaps the best shot at a pure defensive is NEO's Tim Johnson, (6-5, 265, 4.7). Tim will have three years of D-1 eligibility after redshirting last season.

"I can't wait to get back out on the field because I have only played one year of organized football," said Johnson. "I was a basketball player up until the end of my junior year and I just starting thinking that my body was better suited for football. I started looking at some of the guys on our team and they were bulking up and I was a 250-pound guy at 6-5, and I didn't think I was going to get many offers my senior year for basketball. I switched over to football my senior year and I did pretty well with 75 tackles. My grades kept me from getting all the offers I could get, so I decided to go to NEO where I can get my grades and play some good football."

"I have it narrowed down to three schools," said Johnson. "I like OU, Arizona State and LSU. Easily, my favorite is OU. I like their team and they have always been one of my favorite teams. I have always wanted to go there. I love their coaches and I just love their program right now. I am very close to committing to OU."

Johnson would be an excellent get as the Sooners are looking for immediate help at DE in 2006.

It's not that the Sooners are not high on Muskogee's Derek Burton, the 6-3, 230-pound defensive end who has developed into one of the nation's top prospects. But you almost get the idea that OU wants to give Burton a bit of room as opposed to smothering him with a barrage of attention.

"My dad went to Oklahoma State, but he is not pushing me to go there. I know a lot more about Oklahoma and OSU, but I need to learn a lot more about the other schools that have offered me."

Hopefully, Burton will eventually fall the Sooners way after he digests the information being directed his way.

Brandon Antwine (6-1, 270, 4.8 ) from Garland, Texas, is another prospect literally on the Sooners doorstep. One thing that Antwine does not lack is confidence.

"I am smart and aggressive. The game moves in slow-motion for me. I know what is going to happen before it does."

What is happening in Antwine's recruitment is tremendousm as he now has almost 50 written offers.

"Some of the bigger schools that have offered me are USC, Florida, Miami, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Auburn, and Georgia. USC, Florida and OU are my favorites. I would put USC as my leader. My top three schools would be USC, Florida and Oklahoma."

Colorado's Greg Banks is a 6-5 defensive end prospect that the Sooners love. Montbello head coach Oliver Lucas says of Banks, "He is outstanding on and off the field. He is a stellar individual with great leadership qualities. He has an excellent work ethic and can really run. Greg reminds me of (former Colorado Mackey award winner and current New England Patriot) Dan Graham, but he is a bit bigger. He will play on Sundays."

Banks has received three offers from Big 12 schools and it sounds like he wants to stay in the region.

"I am Big 12 all the way. I was born and raised and Colorado and I definitely want to stay in the Big 12.". "Colorado is No. 1, then OU, then Texas, then Nebraska, then Iowa State, then UCLA."

Louis Holmes, (6-6, 270, 4.8 ) who now playing at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona, has become a franchise defensive end prospect, and possibly the best defensive player in junior college football.

Holmes can bench 380 pounds, squats 515 and he posted a 38-inch vertical jump.

"I haven't narrowed my choices down at all," said Holmes. "I am still trying to find out information about all the schools. I want to find that one school that for me is different than all the rest. I am looking at USC, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arizona and Nebraska."

Here's hoping that last year's Scottsdale teammate, Mike Knall, the JC punter who recently signed to play at OU, can sway Holmes to Norman for a visit this fall, and possibly more.

Could Richardson, Texas defensive end Ugo Chinasa, (6-5, 229, 4.6), be a nightmare replay of Tennessee All-American Jesse Mahelona? If you recall, Mahelona committed to Oklahoma but did not hear from an OU coach for several weeks after he did so. After three weeks he gave up and committed to Tennessee, where he is expected to be one of the first three DT's taken in this year's NFL draft.

This week, Chinasa says: "LSU is my leader right now, They've got the edge on the other schools in my top five right now. I like LSU, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor as my top five."

"Oklahoma and Texas are my No. 2 and No. 3 schools. I like how Oklahoma is kind of close to home and they're a championship program. I just haven't spoken with the coaches there in a real long time, and I've never been to Oklahoma either. They've got some depth at my position there, but I don't mind that. I'd like to get on the field early, but I wouldn't mind waiting for that starting spot. It would just give me some time to get used to a program."

If the OU coaches can find a phone, they may still have a good shot here.

Westlake Village, Calif. defensive end Jeff Miller, (6-5, 240, 4.8 ), has six or seven schools still in the mix, including OU. At this time, Miller is deciding on Oklahoma, UCLA, Oregon State, Washington State, Arizona, Boston College and Colorado.

"I really am wide open, and am definitely keeping an open mind," said Miller.

"I'm most likely a defensive end," he said. "I think when more coaches see me play tight end, they could recruit me there, but I'm really a defensive end."

"Of course, my brother is trying to get me to go to USC with him, but he told me that wherever I decide to go, make sure I am comfortable with it. He also told me to keep my options open and to take trips, which is something that he didn't do."

"I really don't have a top three. I am keeping my options open to everybody."

Other DL's high on OU's radar at this time are: Lamar Houston, DE (6-4, 257, 4.6), Colorado Springs, Colo.; Audie Augustine DE, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Jermaine Cunningham, (6-4, 220) of Stone Mountain, Ga.; Josh Minton, (6-4. 247) of Pulaski Co, Ky.; and Oakland's Na Derris Ward, (6-5, 245, 4.8 ) . Of course, there are others, and while the chances may be less at this time Oklahoma still has interest in the following prospects:

Adrian Taylor, DE, Mansfield, Texas
Micah Johnson, (6-2, 277), Fort Campbell, Ky.
Dedrick Epps, (6-4, 227), Huguenot HS - Richmond, Va.
Jerry Brown, (6-5, 260), St Louis, Mo., (Vashon HS)
Jared Odrick, (6'6, 290, 4.9), Lebanon, Pa.
Alleric Mullins, (6-2.5, 295, 4.9), Wendell, N.C.
Bart Eddins, (6-4, 260, 4.9), rinity Presbyterian, Montgomery, Ala.
John Paul, 6-4 / 250), Immokalee, Fla.
Leslie Stirrups, (6-1 / 270), Tampa, Fla.
Adam Patterson, (6-3, 255, 4.8 ) Columbia, S.C.
Phillip Taylor, (6'4½, 340, 5.16), Brandywine (Gwynn Park) Md.
Ricky Sapp, (6-5 / 225), Bamberg, S.C.

Among the Sooner 'long shots' at this time is Pennsylvania's Jared Odrick, who is one of the most respected and versatile linemen in the country. Odrick, who was once thought to be an offensive lineman in college, and listed in early WW's as such, is now being recruited heavily on both sides of the ball.

"I tried to tell coaches at the first of the year that I was a defensive lineman and that I was really a better defensive lineman than offense," said Odrick.

Odrick has been offered by 40 schools at this point, but he is working to narrow that list down.

"I have narrowed it down to 10 or 15," said Odrick. "I am looking at Florida, Penn State, Minnesota, Miami, Georgia, Virginia, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma and USC. I am looking all over and I am not afraid to leave home."

We're adding a few names to the confirmed offer list this week:

Corpus Christi Carroll DL Pryce Macon, (6-1/251/4.79), has been offered by OU, as well as Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Colorado, and Arizona.

"Overall, right now I'd have to say that Texas, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma are a little bit ahead of Colorado and Arizona."

Macon will be attending a Camp at Oklahoma on June 28th.

The school Macon chooses will have a few qualities.

"I want to fit into the schemes at the school I choose," he said. "I want a school in a good location, somewhere that I can see myself waking up every morning, just an overall good environment. All of the schools recruiting me so far are all great academically, so that isn't a problem."

Macon is easily qualified with a 3.2 GPA and a SAT score in the 1300's.

Oklahoma is among the 10 finalists for Adam Patterson, (6-3, 255, 4.85), Columbia, S.C.

"I have narrowed it down to 10 final schools, in no particular order," said Patterson. "Maryland, Virginia Tech, N.C. State, Clemson, [South] Carolina, Auburn, Georgia, Michigan, Penn State, and Oklahoma. They all share a sense of pride about football. I feel like I can develop at all ten of those schools."

Patterson plans to take unofficial visits to most of the campuses on his list this summer and during the football season, paying attention particularly to three things.

"I'm looking at atmosphere, if I can start as a freshman at defensive end, and also if I can graduate from that school," said Patterson. "I want to get my degree."

Phillip Taylor (6'4 ½, 340, 5.16) of Brandywine (Gwynn Park HS) is yet another Maryland athlete to receive a Sooner offer. Taylor will be a three-year starter this year on both sides of the ball at offensive tackle and defensive tackle. Last season, Taylor finished with 79 tackles, six sacks, six pass deflections, one fumble and recovered one fumble.

He has attended the Maryland summer camp twice and Penn State once. Taylor as been to combines in Texas, New Jersey, Maryland and the Scout Combine in Akron, Ohio.

"I think I performed well at all those combines. I won the MVP award at the Elite Combine in New Jersey."

"Right now I am looking at Maryland, Penn State, Virginia, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Florida, Miami, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Nebraska and Pittsburgh," said Taylor. "I don't really have a favorite among those teams, but I have been to Maryland more than any school. They were the first school to offer me and they are one of my top schools."

What about the Sooners?

"Oklahoma is a very good school. I love the freshman running back (AD) that they have. One thing about Oklahoma that I like is that they produce on the field and they send guys to the pros. I am thinking about visiting Oklahoma during the season some time."

Linebackers: OU expected to take three

Linebacker is the one list that has more changes than the Dow Jones. One reason is frankly the unbelievable talent that the list contains. We will give you the most likely linebackers to become Sooners, as of this week:

Mike Morgan, (6-3.5, 185, 4.59); Dallas, (Skyline HS) Texas;
Anthony Lewis, (6-2.5, 220, 4.6), Haltom City, Texas
Bani Gbadyu, (6-1.5, 203, 4.6), Gaithersburg, Md.
Brandon Spikes, (6-4, 230, 4.6), Shelby, N.C.
Allen Bradford, (6-0, 222, 4.55), Colton, Calif.
Joshua Tatum, (6-,2, 220, 4.5), Oakland, Calif.
Morrice Richardson, (6'1½, 228, 4.6), Atlanta (Westlake HS), Ga.
Akeem Hebron, (6-2, 198, 4.5), Wheaton, Md.
Bo Harris, (6-2, 210, 4.65); Conyers, Ga.
Jarrell Miller, (6-3, 235), Highland Springs, Va.
Marcus Ball, (6-0, 208, 4.4), from Stone Mountain, Ga.
Toryn Smith, (6-0, 241, 4.8 ), Rome, Ga.

Mike Morgan and Anthony Lewis are two Metroplex linebackers in a dogfight for the designation of top linebacker in the Lone Star State, while Maryland's Bani Gbadyu might easily be considered one of the nation's top LB prospects. The Sooners have a decent shot at any of the three, but all three would easily qualify as a miracle.

Lewis (6-2, 220, 4.6), who is from Haltom City, Texas, says he has around 27 scholarship offers, but denies having a leader.

"My goal is to have a top 10 by the end of summer. I want to be comfortable wherever I go and I want to check them out first. I've already been to Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas A&M. I really like the coaches at Oklahoma. They all made me feel at home. I plan to go through the whole process and take all my official visits before I commit."

Some say Gbadyu favors LSU and Miami, but there's a long time left and Gbadyu refuses to tip his hand. Bani, a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder with 4.5 speed, already holds offers from national powers like LSU, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Tennessee and Georgia, and is "waiting to see if Miami is going to offer."

"I am trying to think through things and am not in any hurry. I still have 12 schools that I am looking at. They are LSU, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Tennessee, Clemson and Georgia. I wouldn't say that I would have a leader at this point. I can't place these teams in an order right now."

"I plan to fly up to LSU, Nebraska and Oklahoma in the month of July."

Brandon Spikes is also a legitimate candidate for national top dog at LB. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound linebacker from Shelby, N.C. now has over 30 offers.

"It's crazy," said Spikes. "I'm just overwhelmed really."

Originally, Spikes had claimed a fairly firm five favorites. However, with all the new offers and increased pressure Spikes has since retracted somewhat.

"I want to stay open right now," said Spikes. "Miami is going to be in the top five all day. Florida and Oklahoma are in there, too."

The California linebacker duo of Allen Bradford (6-0, 222, 4.55), and Josh Tatum may be the best in the land, and the Sooners have at shot at both. Bradford is from Colton and says he's narrowed his list of schools down to fifteen, with UCLA, USC, Washington, Cal and Oklahoma his top five.

"I think Oklahoma's program is going to be competing for another national championship next year. And they're one of those programs that's going to be good for years to come," he said.

Josh Tatum is already one of the most heavily recruited players in the entire state of California, and is a full academic qualifier. This week he renamed his college favorites.

"In no particular order, USC, Cal, Miami, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Michigan, Ole Miss," he said. "I do not have a leader right now. Everything is neutral right now. Pretty soon I'll be narrowing my list to 4-5 schools in August. I will definitely have a top five by the time the season starts. "

Tatum claims 24 written scholarship offers, including all of his favorites mentioned earlier.

"I'll have to compete anywhere I decide to go," he said. "I am happy to compete because usually I come out on top."

One of the latest OU offers at LB went to Morrice Richardson, (6'1½ / 228 / 4.6), Atlanta, Ga. Richardson is one of those linebackers that takes your breath away when you watch him in action on film. Richardson went to camp at Auburn, Alabama and Georgia, as well as the Scout combine at Auburn University. Richardson went to Georgia Tech and Georgia's senior day and attended a spring practice at Georgia Tech. Sometime in early July, Richardson plans to take an unofficial visit to Oklahoma.

"Right now I am wide open, but off the top of my head I like Virginia Tech, Florida State, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Auburn, Alabama and Tennessee. It is hard to get down to a top five because I like all the schools. All of them are noted programs," said Richardson. "You can't go wrong with all with them, but the schools that I feel the most comfortable with are the schools where I can fit into their scheme."

What is it he specifically likes about the Sooners?

"They are a powerhouse," said Richardson. "They have seven National Championships, so what else can you say? I like Coach (Brent) Venables and Coach (Cale Gundy), they are great guys. Coach Venables has coached a lot of guys who have won Butkus Awards."

Akeem Hebron, still has Georgia on top, with the Sooners having a chance. Other relative long shots, as of July 1st, are: Bo Harris, Jarrell Miller, Marcus Ball, and Tory Smith.

Defensive Backs: OU expected to take four or five

The Sooners are in almost a can't-miss position here. The collection of talent at DB this year is almost stunning, and most of the nation's top prospects have Oklahoma on their list thanks to a reputation built by six solid years of Thorpe finalists and winners. Any group of four or five from this list would make any coach in the country ecstatic. Here are OU's best bets, headed of course by Sooner commit James Henry, top prospect Myron Rolle, and top CB Johnathan Nelson:

James Henry, (6'2 / 205 / 4.5), Schertz (Clemens HS), Texas; (Committed)
Myron Rolle, (6-2, 210, 4.5), Princeton, N.J.
Jonathan Nelson, (6-0, 175, 4.4), of Mansfield, Texas
Perrish Cox, DB / Ath (6'0, 175, 4.4), Waco, Texas
Terrance Anderson, (5-10, 161), Houston, (Aldine Nimitz HS) Texas
Darian Hagen, (6-1, 186), Los Angeles, Calif.
Jonas Mouton (6-2, 212, 4.6), Los Angeles, Calif.
C.J. Gable, RB /DB (6-1, 190, 4.5) Sylmar, Calif. Jai Eugene, (5-11, 185, 4.4), Destrehan, La.
Antwine Perez, (6-2, 200), from Camden, N.J.

Jonathon Nelson, who previously had a top five, says (Friday, June 24): "I want to change that. I have a top four now. They are OU, [Texas] Tech, Oklahoma State, and Kansas." Nobody leads at this point.

Waco's Perrish Cox says he likes "Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and LSU as his top three schools."

Yes, Darian Hagen is the son of former OU recruit and Buff quarterback, Darian Hagen. Hagen spreads his interest among Pac 10 teams California, Oregon, Washington State, and UCLA and CU and OU in the Big 12. (Old timers may remember how badly Barry Switzer wanted dad).

Los Angeles safety Jonas Mouton, (6-2, 212, 4.6) said, "It's still Michigan, Nebraska, LSU, Arizona, Oregon, USC and Oklahoma."

Jai Eugene, another Destrehan, La. prospect (along with DT Chaz Washington) says he no closer than he was, still listing Georgia, Auburn, Arkansas, Miami, USC, Oklahoma, Florida, Nebraska, LSU, Florida State and UCLA all as co-favorites.

Camden, N.J. safety Antwine Perez (6-2, 200, 4.5) recently narrowed his list of schools from near 50 to eight.

"My list is still pretty solid with USC, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, LSU and Ohio State. "I'm going to be graduating early in December, so I want to take at least three official visits before I commit to a program."

"It's kind of unfortunate but I'm not going to be able to camp at USC this summer. They're the only school that I've decided I'm going to take an official visit to when the time comes. They're a top priority of mine and I definitely got to make it out there for an official visit," he said.

"I also really like coach Bob Stoops from Oklahoma. They've always had a strong defense and they're always have one of the top defenses in the country. They're a winning program every year and it's their defense that always puts them at the top. I'd love to be in a program like theirs," he said.

Very possible defensive back prospects that the Sooners are still serious about - and hope to get visits from, include:

A.J. Wallace, (6-1, 195), Pomfret, Md.
Devin Ross, RB / CB (5-11, 180, 4.4), Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Darrin Walls, (6-1, 175), from Pittsburgh, Pa.
Jordon Pugh, (5-11, 183, 4.4), Plano, Texas
Jashaad Gaines, Las Vegas, Nev.
Reshad Jones, (6-2, 180, 4.5), Atlanta (B.T. Washington HS), Ga.
Wesley Lyons, (6-5, 205, 4.5), Pittsburgh (Woodland Hills HS), Pa.
Mister Alexander, S (6-3, 188, 4.6), Houston, Texas

Pomfret, Md. cornerback A.J. Wallace (6-1, 195, 4.4), continues to deny a leader out of almost 40 offers, but still hopes to have a top 10 later in the summer. Oklahoma hopes to make that cut, but admits it may be tough. We're calling A.J. a longshot for now, but only because of the number of schools still involved.

Of course, the 'longest shot' becomes a 'moon shot' - and that honor belongs to Houston safety Mister Alexander, who shocked Sooner coaches earlier this week by telling them that dad (The real Mr. Alexander), "did not want Mister playing football in the Southwest Conference." Never mind that the Sooners last played in the SWC in 1919 and the conference has not been around for a decade.

For reasons such as that, there simply are no comebacks.

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