The Quarterback battle . . .
We've heard every opinion from every media type that can talk or type on who will be the quarterback at Oklahoma in 2005. Other than the coaches, (who aren't talking), the players are the only people to witness the QB candidates on a daily basis, in side by side comparisons and competition.
So what do the players think nine - ten weeks before kickoff?
Believe me, we don't go around asking players, (or coaches), about the quarterback race! It's pointless. But it does come up on it's own during informal interviews with players. In general conversation, with several players, the current consensus is that all three candidates are very talented and more than capable. Apparently, the players respect all three but obviously see, and discuss, differences in all of them.
Yes, Rhett Bomar and Paul Thompson have the most respect as team leaders, but the players also have a great deal of confidence in Tommy Grady as well. Grady and Bomar get the best grades on passing ability, but also say that Paul is very good here as well.
"Maybe Rhett is just a little more demanding then Paul, but I'll tell you, I'd take either one in a foxhole," one player said. Another said that the team would do well with any of the three. Then he volunteered his assessment - on this day, at this point in time.
"With Paul we'd have a 'Nate Hybl type' offense, only better." (Nationally, OU had a top ten offense that year). "What Paul would do better is not get slammed in the backfield, he's just so fast. And we have the best running back in the country as well. That's got to help. We love Paul. He's fought with us and he's been through it with us. In the huddle he has confidence and takes command, but in an almost polite manner. Don't get me wrong, you still know who's in charge."
"With Tommy, honestly, we may win more games than with Paul. Two minutes to go in the game with us down he'd probably do a better job. He can throw any pass, anywhere. As for the rap about his mobility, I think he's very good at knowing where in the pocket to be. He has that innate pocket sense about him that just keeps him out of trouble. And he runs better than you think."
"Rhett comes into the huddle like a wild man, intense and full of fire. He's liable to grab your face mask and say, "OK *&$^%@#!'s - we're gonna score!" He finds the third or fourth options so quickly. Boom he sees it - like that! It's just more natural with him. On the negative side, he's maybe a bit too reckless with his own body - I honestly think he'd try to run over Dvoracek if he had to. But he could take us to the 'promised land'. He's that good."
So does the team have a preference? "I don't really think so. We honestly like all three. They're our teammates and we're one. We're actually focused on our own assignments more than who's calling the plays. We'll be fine with any of the three."
Bottom Line: To us, it looks like Tommy Grady is the player that the media forgets about, but not the players. Everyone assumes a Thompson - Bomar battle, but after talking to players, you get a sense that this forgone conclusion is a bit premature.
Summer Conditioning . . .
More freshmen sightings: Colorado's Jon Cooper has arrived in Norman and is very impressive in the weight room. The coaches will first try Cooper at OG, but center is possible, as the Sooners need a back-up. Of course Jesse White is the odds on favorite to start out at center, but like Cooper, OG is also possible at some time.
Atlanta's Duke Robinson is a certified giant. Whether or not he ever plays, starts or wins the Outland, he'll at least scare the 'be-jeezers' out of the opponents as we get off the bus. One coach confirmed his awesome size,"Yeah, he and Granger both have grandpa hands."'Grandpa hands?' "You know, when you were a little kid and you first remember holding your grandpa's giant hand? That's what these guys make you feel like when you shake hands with them."
(Fast forward to RRS pre game coin toss . . . "Mister Granger, Mr Robinson, shake hands with Texas captain Mr Young.")
Newest Sooner . . .
A week ago we had Corpus Christi DE Pryce Macon, (6-1 / 263 / 4.7), listed as an OU long shot. Then out of the blue Macon and his dad called OU early last week and told OU that they were on their way to check things out in Norman.
When you were coming up to Norman did you have an idea that you were going to commit to the Sooners? "Not right at first, but to tell you the truth when I first got here Coach Stoops took me and my family to watch some of the guys work out. I was in the weight room watching some of the guys working out and they were working so hard and looked like they were having so much success, that it just hit me that OU was the place I wanted to play my college football. Then I saw DeMarcus Granger, who I met about two years ago. He stops what he is doing and comes over to shake my hand, and that so impressed me that I said that this is the place for me. It just felt right for me."
What is it that Macon likes about OU's style of play? "They're really an attack defense and the defensive linemen that I have seen there all have great speed. They can all get off the ball, and I think that is the kind of defensive lineman that I am. Coach (Jackie) Shipp is a great defensive line coach and I am going to go in there and get it done."
Interesting that two weeks ago we heard one Texas High School scout nominate who he thought was the most underrated player in Texas. His answer was quick, "Pryce Macon of Corpus Christi."
We'll take his word for it.
Recruiting . . . "Oklahoma is Oklahoma"
As our people call the recruits around country who have received OU offers, we always try to get their early feelings on Oklahoma. When we ask what their thoughts on the Sooners are, this year the most common comment universally is: "What can I say, Oklahoma is Oklahoma'". There is obviously a profound awe and respect for OU football that has not been evident nationally since the days of Switzer & company.
This admiration is obviously a result of six years of insane winning under Bob Stoops, (67 - 12) and the fact that OU has played in three national title games during that time period. Most of this years prospects were only in the 6th grade when Stoops first arrived in Norman. Their recollections of any college football program simply do not extend to earlier times.
We believe that this bodes well for the Sooners. One, the reputation of the program allows the Sooners to recruit kids from areas that were literally an impossibility just a few years ago. Most of these prospects are firmly in the country's Top 100, and many have 40 or more offers. So at this point time, Oklahoma just wants to make their 'Top Five' list and secure an official visit.
Secondly, when the campus visits do occur, all of the five finalists (schools) need unique, impressive elements to present to prospects that set them apart from the other suitors. Although many recruits will come to Norman ignorant of the Sooners past, few will leave unimpressed after a visit Oklahoma's Switzer Center. OU's unparalleled past will suddenly appear before them, probably for the first time, and only enhance their already favorable pre-conceptions of Sooner football.
The Super Prep - Scout Top 100 list - with a grain of salt:
The Scout Top 100 was released earlier this week. Before we go on let's consider that only 3,000 high school football players national will get a D1 scholarship. That in itself is a huge honor, and one we should never discredit. To be named one of the Top 500 players is exceptional - but Top 100 is an almost incredible achievement for any prospect.
As most of our readers know, we are certainly not apologists for the Scout network. But we do think that this year these rankings are as accurate as any 'prospect' rankings can be nationally. For the most part, and the first time ever, all of the (known), top prospects in the country have participated in one of a dozen national combines.
At these combines athletes are weighed, measured, timed and tested - and then participate in their respective position drills in front of Super Prep and Scout regional experts, (with some 'experts' obviously being more skilled as evaluators than others).
The problem we see with combine evaluations is that you do not see all the players at once. We also wonder if there is some regional bias. Also, these combines do not identify and encourage the obscure player tucked away in some remote corner of the country to showcase his talents. Nor do these rankings take into account character and grades. So please take all of that into consideration when viewing any of these lists.
While it's much easier to get a feel for who's 'better' in these head to head combine match ups, than watching highlight tapes, still it's a very inexact science. However, as these lists become more popular, we do endorse the combine evaluation system as by far the best available method of ranking at this time.
In the end however, you have to trust your coaching staff over guru's, and the Sooner staff is proving to be a pretty good staff at evaluating talent. Please remember that this IS NOT the OU staff's ranking list of prospects. And it's very likely that their top receiver, tackle or linebacker may not be ranked at the top or may not even appear on this list.
Here is the initial Top 100 list as released this week:
1 - Myron Rolle S Princeton , NJ 6-2/210/4.5 Florida, FSU, Miami, Mich, OU, Penn St
2 - Andre Smith OL Birmingham , AL 6-4/315/5.2 Bama,Aub,Florida, UGa, LSU, Tenn, USC
3 - Chris Wells RB Akron, OH 6-1/220/4.5 Committed to Ohio St
4 - Steve Schilling OL Bellevue , WA 6-5/290/5.0 Miami, Mich, Neb, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Wash
5 - Allen Bradford LB Colton, CA 6-0/222/4.5 Cal, OU, UCLA, USC, Wash, Ole Miss
6 - Vidal Hazelton WR Staten Island, NY 6-4/200/4.5 Boston College, FSU, Maryland, Miami, NC, Pitt, U Va
7 - Percy Harvin WR Va Beach, VA 5-11/182/4.3 Florida, FSU, Miami, Mich, Tenn, USC
8 - Ian Symonette OL Houston, TX 6-9/330/5.4 Houston, LSU, Miami, OU, O-St, Texas, A&M, USC
9 - Sam Young OL Fort Lauderdale, FL 6-7/280/5.2 Florida, Miami, Mich, NC, No Dame, Penn St, Stanford, USC
10 - Micah Johnson DT Fort Campbell, KY 6-2/277/4.9 UGa, KY, Louisville, LSU, Mich, Ohio St
11- LeSean McCoy RB Harrisburg, PA 5-11/200/4.4 Bama,UGa, Neb, Ohio St, OU, Penn St, Tenn, USC, VaTech
12 - Brandon Graham LB Detroit, MI 6-2/251/4.6 Mich, FSU, UGa, Miami, No Dame, Penn St, USC
13 - Sergio Kindle LB Dallas, TX 6-3/225/4.5 Committed to Texas
14 - Mitch Mustain QB Springdale, AR 6-3/200/4.7 Arkansas, Louisville, Miami, Mich, No Dame, Texas, A&M
15 - Taylor Mays S Seattle , WA 6-3/220/4.50 Cal, Mich, Neb, No Dame, OU, USC, Wash
16 - Stafon Johnson RB Los Angeles, CA 6-0/200/4.4 Cal, Florida, Miami, Mich, Tenn, USC
17 - Jamar Hornsby WR Jacksonville, FL 6-4/195/4.5 Florida, UGa, Georgia Tech, Mich, USC, Florida St
18 - Gerald McCoy DT OKC Southeast, OK 6-4/280/5.0 Kansas, Kansas St, LSU, Neb, OU, O-St, USC
19 - C.J. Spiller RB Lake Butler, FL 5-10/185/4.4 Florida, Aub,FSU, Miami, UGa, Tenn
20 - Michael Goodson RB Klein, TX 5-11.5/188/4.53 OU, O-St, A&M, USC, LSU
21 - Connor Smith OL Cincinnati, OH 6-5/295/5.1 Florida, LSU, Mich, Ohio St, OU, Tenn
22 - C.J. Gable CB / WR Sylma, CA 6-1/190/4.5 LSU, Miami, OU, USC, Wash, Florida, FSU
23 - Clifton Geathers OL Georgetown, SC 6-7/280/4.9 Aub,FSU, UGa, Miami, Mich, S Carolina, USC
24 - Joshua Tatum LB Oakland, CA 6-2/220/4.50 Cal, Miami, Mich, Ole Miss, OU, Tenn, USC
25 - Carl Johnson OL Durham7, NC 6-6/335/5.0 Committed to Florida
26 - Akeem Hebron LB Wheaton, MD 6-2/198/4.5 UGa, Florida, LSU, Ohio St, OU, USC, VaTech
27 - Matthew Stafford QB Dallas, TX 6-2.5/212/4.7 Committed to Georgia
28 - Justin Boren OL Pickerington, OH 6-3/315/5.1 Committed to Michigan
29 - James Aldridge RB Merrillville, IN 6-1/215/4.6 Committed to Notre Dame
30 - Nate Byham TE Franklin, PA 6-4/220/4.65 Iowa, Miami, OU, Pitt, Tenn, USC, FSU
31 - Matt Carufel OL Saint Paul, MN 6-5/288/5.3 Iowa, Minn, No Dame, Florida, Miami, Mich, Neb
32 - Eddie Jones DE Kilgore, TX 6-2.5/230/4.7 Committed to Texas
33 - Konrad Reuland TE Mission Viejo, CA 6-6/240/4.7 Cal, Miami, Neb, No Dame, Ohio St, Stanford, UCLA, USC
34 - Ricky Sapp DE Bamberg, SC 6-5/225/4.70 Committed to Clemson
35 - Tim Tebow QB St Augustine, FL 6-3/225/4.6 Bama,Clemson, Florida, FSU, Miami, Mich, USC
36 - Jeff Cumberland WR Columbus, OH 6-4/221/4.4 Miami, Minn, Ohio St, OU, Penn St, USC
37 - Antonio Logan-El OL Forestville, MD 6-6/320/5.2 Committed to Maryland
38 - J'Marcus Webb North Mesquite, TX 6-7/2555/5.2 Committed to Texas
39 - Justin Anderson OL Ocilla, GA 6-4/315 Committed to Georgia
40 - DeMarco Murray RB Las Vegas, NV 6-1/190/4.5 Florida, FSU, Mich, OU, A&M, USC, Wisconsin
41- Antwine Perez DB Camden, NJ 6-2/200/4.5 LSU, Mich, USC
42 - Jonas Mouton S Venice, CA 6-2/212/4.6 Arizona, LSU, Mich, Neb, OU, Oregon, USC
43 - Bart Eddins DT Montgomery, AL 6-4/260/4.9 Aub,Florida, FSU, Louisville, LSU
44 - Dorin Dickerson WR Imperial, PA 6-2/205/4.6 Committed to Pittsburgh
45 - Brandon Wood DE Tallapoosa, GA 6-1/245/4.6 Committed to Georgia
46 - Chris Bel WR Norfolk, VA 6-3/205/4.4 Miami, Maryland, Mich, Va, Florida, Neb, NC, Penn St, VaTech
47 - Thaddeus Gibson LB Euclid, OH 6-3/205/4.5 Boston Coll, Iowa, Miami, Mich, Ohio St, USC, West Va, Wisc
48 - Jai Eugene CB Destrehan, LA 5-10.5/185/4.4 Florida, LSU, Miami, Mich, OU, Tenn, USC
49 - Devin Ross CB Rancho Cucamonga, CA 5-11/180/4.4 Ariz, Colo, Neb, OU, Oregon, OreSt, Wash, USC
50 - Derrick Hill DT Oakland, CA 6-2/270/5.3 Cal, Arizona, Az St, Ole Miss, Oregon, USC, Wash, Wash St
51 - Emmanuel Moody RB Coppell, TX 5-11/190/4.5 Committed to Texas
52 - Tim Hawthorne WR Homewood, AL 6-2/192/4.6 Bama,Aub,Florida, UGa, Louisville, LSU, Tenn
53 - Na Derris Ward TE Oakland, CA 6-5/245/4.8 UGa, Arizona, Florida, FSU, OU, Cal, Oregon St, Wash
54 - Marcus Ball Stone Mountain, GA 6-0/205/4.5 Aub,Florida, FSU, UGa, LSU, Tenn, VaTech
55 - Ross Homan LB Coldwater, OH 6-1/227/4.7 Committed to Ohio St
56 - Jarred Fayson WR Tampa, FL 6-0/195/4.4 Miami, Florida, Iowa, OU, West Virginia
57 - Knowshon Moreno RB Middletown, NJ 6-0/205/4.5 UGa, Maryland, Miami, Mich, OU, Rutgers, Virginia
58 - Ken Beasley WR / CB Orange, TX 5-9.5/163/4.5 Committed to Texas
59 - Butch Lewis OL Aurora, CO 6-5/280/5.2 Cal, UGa, Mich, Neb, No Dame, Texas, USC
60 - Josh Chichester WR West Chester, OH 6-8/210/4.7 Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, No Dame, Ohio St
61 - Darian Hagan Jr Los Angeles, CA 6-1/175/4.5 Cal, Colo, OU, Oregon, UCLA, Wash St
62 - David Ausberry WR/TE Lemoore, CA 6-4/215/4.7 USC, Ariz, Az St, UGa, Mich, Neb, ND, Ohio St, UCLA
63 - Jarrell Miller LB Highland Springs, VA 6-3/235 LSU, Maryland, Neb, NC, OU, Tenn, Va, VaTech
64 - Mark Johnson LB Los Angeles, CA 6-3/230/4.5 USC, LSU, Miami, Ohio St
65 - Bruce Campbell OL Hamden, CT 6-6/270/4.7 Maryland, MichSt, Neb, OU, Penn St, Rutgers, Virginia
66 - Lee Tilley OL Springfield, OH 6-5/321/5.1 Az St, Aub,Florida, UGa, LSU, OU, Wash
67 - Alex Cate QB Salt Lake City, UT 6-2/198/4.7 Committed to LSU
68 - Jake Ballard TE Springboro, OH 6-6.5/255/4.8 Committed to Ohio St
69 - Jamere Holland Woodland Hills, CA 6-1/180 Cal, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Wash
70 - Cordera Eason RB Meridian, MS 6-0/235/4.6 Aub,Ole Miss, LSU, Miami, Ole Miss St, OU, Tenn
71 - Cory Brandon OL Corsicana, TX 6-6/260/5.4 OU, LSU, A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor, Neb
72 - Al Woods OL Elton, LA 6-4/327/5.2 Committed to LSU
73 - Aaron Brown OL Cincinnati, OH 6-6/283/5.1 Aub, Florida, FSU, Louisville, Ohio St, Purdue, Tenn
74 - Perrish Cox CB Waco, TX 6-0/170/4.4 LSU, OU, Baylor, Neb, O-State
75 - Dustin Earnest LB Texarkana, TX 6-2.5/217/4.6 Committed to Texas
76 - Terrence Austin WR Long Beach, CA 5-10/171/4.5 UCLA, Az St, Colorado, No Dame, Oregon, USC, Utah
77 - Brandon Spikes LB Shelby, NC 6-4/230 Florida, LSU, Miami, OU, Mich, Va, VaTech
78 - Darrin Walls CB Pitt, PA 6-1/180/4.4 Florida, Mich, No Dame, Pitt, USC, Penn St, West Virginia
79 - Ramone Johnson OL Chicago, IL 6-4/315/5.0 Illinois, Iowa, Miami, Ohio St, OU, Tenn, USC
80 - Jacques McClendon DT Chattanooga, TN 6-3/275/5.1 Tenn, Bama,Aub,LSU, USC
81 - Kurt Coleman CB Clayton, OH 5-11/180/4.4 Committed to Ohio St
82 - Ray Small CB Cleveland, OH 5-11/170/4.4 Ohio St, Florida, Iowa, LSU, USC, Miami, Wisconsin
83 - Charles Deas DT Lauderdale Lakes, FL 6-4/326 UGa, LSU, Miami, USC, Aub,Florida, FSU
84 - Cobrani Mixon LB Cincinnati, OH 6-2/225/4.6 Florida, Louisville, LSU, Mich, MichSt, Ohio St, Tenn
85 - Derrick Odom LB Jackson, MS 6-2/205/4.5 LSU, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Bama,Aub,Iowa, Ole Miss St
86 - Maurice Evans DT Middle Village, NY 6-3/252/4.7 Maryland, Miami, MichSt, Penn St, Syracuse, USC, UVa
87 - Navorro Bowman LB Forestville, MD 6-1/218/4.7 Maryland, Ohio St, OU, Penn St, Pitt, Va, VaTech
88 - Isiah Williams QB Chicago, IL 6-2/220/4.7 Committed to Illinois
89 - Stanley Havili RB Salt Lake City, UT 6-1/215/4.5 Arizona, Az St, Boise St, BYU, Iowa, Neb, Utah
90 - Lee Smith TE Powell, TN 6-5/240/4.8 Committed to Tenn
91 - Cameron Elisara DT Spokane, WA 6-3/275/4.9 Arizona, Az St, Cal, LSU, Neb, Oregon, Stanford, Wash
92 - Steve Brown CB Columbus, IN 6-1/200/4.4 Florida, K-State, Mich, No Dame, Ohio St, Purdue, Tenn
93 - Charles Scott RB Jonesboro, LA 6-0/220/4.5 LSU, Bama,Florida, OU, USC
94 - Justin Burke QB Lexington 96, KY 6-2/185/4.7 Kentucky, Louisville, Mich, NC St, NW'ern, Purdue, Tenn
95 - Jeremiha Hunter LB Manheim, PA 6-0/200/4.5 Connecticut, Florida, Mich, No Dame, Ohio St, Penn St, Tenn
96 - Cody Williams DE Longview, TX 6-4/235/4.6 Committed to A&M
97 - Jake Locker QB Ferndale, WA 6-2/210/4.6 Cal, Mich, Oregon, Oregon St, Stanford, USC, Wash, Wash St
98 - Jermaine Williams DE Phoenix, AZ 6-4/247/4.7 Committed to Az St
99 - Pat Devlin QB Downingtown, PA 6-4/200/4.7 Iowa, Maryland, Miami, Mich, NC St, Pitt, Virginia
100 Jason Adjepong DE Carteret, NJ 6-2/254/4.7 Connecticut, MichSt, Penn St, Rutgers, Syracuse, Va, VaTech
New Offers . . .
There was one OU recent offer and it went to linebacker Navorro Bowman, (6'2, 218, 4.6), Forestville, (Suitland), Maryland. Bowman, who combines size and speed into his game, is one of the top linebackers in the country, as well as a Top 100 player nationally (#87) according to Scout.com.
"Most schools are recruiting me to play inside linebacker," said Bowman. "I might also play running back in college. Last year I rushed for 1,230 and 22 touchdowns. But I am pretty sure in college I'll play on the defensive side of the ball."
Bowman has been offered by 29 schools at this point, and he is trying to find out more information on a number of different schools. "I like North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Ohio State, Tennessee and Maryland. I am also looking at Oklahoma. They are one of the schools I am considering. The schools that I am taking the closest look at right now are North Carolina, Penn State and Maryland because I have visited those schools and I know more about them. At a school like Oklahoma, I need to take an official visit there to see what they are all about."
Defensive Line - OU expected to take 5 or 6
We'll run through the DL prospects that OU has offered and rank them in the order that we think are the 'best bets' to sign with the Sooners in February.
Pryce Macon, (6-1 / 261 / 4.7), Corpus Christi, TX. (Committed to Oklahoma)
Gerald McCoy, (6-4 / 280), OKC Southeast;
Chaz Washington, (6-3 / 288), Destrehan, LA;
Tim Johnson, (6'5 / 265 / 4.7), Northeastern A&M, Oklahoma;
Derek Burton, (6-3 / 250), Muskogee, OK;
Brandon Ant (6-2 / 270 / 4.8), Garland, TX;
Greg Banks (6-5 / 260 / 4.8), Denver, CO;
Louis Holmes, (6-6 / 270), Scottsdale, AZ;
Ugo Chinasa, (6-5 / 230), Richardson, TX;
Jeff Miller, (6-6 / 250) DL Westlake Village, CA;
Lamar Houston, (6-4 / 257 / 4.6), Colorado Springs, CO;
Jerry Brown, (6-5 / 260), St Louis, MO, (Vashon HS);
Audie Augustine, TE / DE, Ft. Lauderdale, FL;
Jared Odrick, (6'6, 290, 4.9), Lebanon, Pa (also listed at OL)
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, CA
We did hear from a couple of DL prospects this week beginning with Jerry Brown, (6-4½, 258, 4.9), St. Louis (Vashon). "I am still looking at everybody at this point," said Brown. "There were some schools that I really enjoyed looking at like Illinois, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri. I have been thinking about these four schools because they have been recruiting me longer than anybody else, but other schools are just now getting into the picture and I am taking a look at them."
Brown had this to say about the Sooners: "Oklahoma is a really good team and they are always playing for championships," said Brown. "I have a great relationship with Coach (Jackie) Shipp and Coach (Kevin) Wilson. They are great guys to talk to. Plus, Coach Shipp coached my head coach (Reginald Ferguson) at Langston. I like how OU plays defense and I think I can fit into that defense. At the spring game, I was really impressed with how the defensive line played, but I think the O-line was handicapped a little bit."
The Atlanta area is loaded with prospects and a great one is Jermaine Cunningham, who most project as a DE. Cunningham has offers from all the top programs and knows he has to cut down his list. "I'll probably just talk with the coaches and with my parents and try and cut down the list in the fall," said Cunningham. "Right now I like teams like Florida, Auburn, Georgia, Florida State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Tennessee."
OU loves Lamarr Houston, (6'3½, 258, 4.6), from Colorado Spring and believe us when we tell you this versatile athlete is very high on the Sooner wish list. "I have played D-tackle, D-end, linebacker, fullback and now tailback. This year I am going to start at tailback and middle linebacker. I like to play tailback and fullback, and on defense I like to play linebacker. Those are my favorite positions, and most teams are recruiting me as a linebacker and as a fullback."
Houston, who has been offered by 25 different schools at this point, is still considering everyone on his list. "I don't have a favorite," said Houston. "I am praying about this process right now, and I hope to a top five to 10 soon." What are his thoughts on Oklahoma? "They have a great school. They contend for the National Championship almost every year and I think they will continue to do that. I have a legitimate interest in Oklahoma. They have a good chance to be among my final five or so."
Here are the other DL's that OU has offered, but at this time may need a little luck to sign. However, recall that Corpus Christi's Pryce Macon was on this long shot list just last week but after a surprise visit this Wednesday, cast his lot with the Sooners.
Adrian Taylor, DE Mansfield TX;
Micah Johnson, (6-2 / 277), Fort Campbell, KY;
Dedrick Epps, (6-4 227), Huguenot HS - Richmond, VA;
Jared Odrick, (6'6 / 290 / 4.9), Lebanon, Pennsylvania:
Alleric Mullins, (6-2½, / 295 / 4.9), Wendell, NC;
Bart Eddins, (6-4 / 260 / 4.9), Trinity Presbyterian, Montgomery, AL;
John Paul, 6-4 / 250), Immokalee, FL;
Leslie Stirrups, (6-1 / 270), Tampa, FL;
Adam Patterson, (6-3 / 255 / 4.8) Richland HS, Columbia, SC;
Phillip Taylor, (6'4½ / 340 / 5.16), Brandywine (Gwynn Park) MD;
Ricky Sapp, (6-5 / 225), Bamberg, SC.
Linebackers - OU expected to take 3
We've said for a month now that Oklahoma is in on the top Linebackers in the country. The Top 100 bears this out as most of these names appear on that list. We again give you the most likely linebackers to become Sooners, as of this week:
Mike Morgan, (6-3½, / 185 / 4.59); Dallas (Skyline);
Anthony Lewis, (6-2½, / 220 / 4.6), Haltom City, TX;
Bani Gbadyu, (6-1½, / 203 /4.6), Gaithersburg, MD;
Brandon Spikes, (6-4 / 230 / 4.6), Shelby, NC
Allen Bradford, (6-0 / 222 / 4.55), Colton, CA.
Joshua Tatum, (6-2 / 220 / 4.5), Oakland, CA;
Mark Johnson, (6-3 ½, 230, 4.4), Los Angeles Dorsey
Morrice Richardson, (6'1½, 228, 4.6), Atlanta (Westlake), Georgia;
Akeem Hebron, (6-2 / 198 / 4.5), Wheaton, MD;
Bo Harris, (6-2 / 210 / 4.65); Conyers, GA;
Navorro Bowman, (6'2, 218, 4.6), Forestville, (Suitland), Maryland.
Jarrell Miller, (6-3 / 235), Highland Springs, VA;
Marcus Ball, (6-0 / 208 / 4.4), Stone Mountain, GA.
Tory Smith, (6-0 / 241 / 4.8), Rome, GA;
New LB on Sooner Radar Screen . . .
We already mentioned that Navorro Bowman has an OU offer. Another relatively new name at linebacker is Mark Johnson, (6-3 ½, 230, 4.45), from Los Angeles Dorsey. Mark Johnson is almost your prototype middle linebacker in that he has the size and strength that you look for, but he also may be one of the fastest 'backers in the country.
Nationally people are just now finding out about Johnson but he is ranked in the Top 100 (#64), and OU believes that he could be ranked at the top of all linebackers when the season is finished.
"USC is one of my favorites because they are local and they have a good program," said Johnson. "Oklahoma is another one because they have great weather and they have another great program. I want to be the best and that is why I have chosen those two as my top two schools. Oklahoma has been in three National Championship games in the last five years and they put out good linebackers every year. I am also looking at LSU, Ohio State, Miami, Cal, and Florida. There are more, but those are the main ones right now."
Defensive Backs - OU expected to take 4 or 5
As with linebackers, you'll find many of the names of OU's defensive back prospects embedded in the Top 100, headed by number one Sooner target, and also the number one prospect in the nation, Myron Rolle. Myron has four visits down, one to go, and his dad said early this week that while the entire family would have input in the decision, it would ultimately be Myron's to make.
"We've given Myron the tools to make the right decision. We all set around the table, categories of information, each person, and offer our opinions on such things as the head, depth chart, the position coach, family travel, all Americans, championships, NFL opportunities, academics, Academic all Americans, who the defensive coordinator is. But in the end, it's going to come down to what is best for Myron Rolle. We feel that among his final choices, he can't make a bad decision."
That decision is expected in a month and you can bet Sooner fans and coaches will be gasping for air before this one is over with. The finalists are: Oklahoma, Michigan, Miami, Florida, Florida State and Penn State.
Also making the top 100 was Destrehan, LA. cornerback Jai Eugene (6-0, 190, 4.4), who Scout's has tabbed as the #48 prospect overall nationally. Has he narrowed things down to a certain group of schools? "Not really," he said. "I'm still looking and listening to everybody. But you could say I'm looking a little more closely at LSU, USC, Miami, Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, UCLA and Oregon," he said. "By the beginning of school I plan having a final 10 and then a top five by the middle of the school year."
Jonathan Nelson, (5-10½, 165, 4.5), Arlington, Texas (Mansfield Summit), is one of OU's top corner prospects and was on WWLS with James Friday when he admitted that he works out on his own on top of supervised team workouts. "I just think that I have to do more in order to be the best." He also admits to having a preference of playing CB, "I love to play 'press man coverage, where it's just me and the receiver. I'm looking for a place with coaches I can relate to, coaches that can bring out the best in me. I'm also looking for some playing time, but I don't mind red shirting if I'm not high on the depth chart."
"I'm still considering a dozen or so schools, and my list my change week to week right now, but OU and OSU are probably the two that are highest on my list at the moment."
What is it about OU that has Nelson considering them? "I like them a whole lot because they develop their players. They also have older corners there, they don't have a lot of depth at corner. I know they only signed one corner last year, so they don't have a lot of young depth at corner. I know that I could go and redshirt there and get bigger and stronger, and then have a great chance to play for four solid years. At OU, I would expect to do that and that would allow me to get my body ready to be a major factor during my career. Oklahoma is setting pretty well with me. They are a great program, they have a great coaching staff and I like the style of defense that they play."
We also heard from Terrance Anderson, (5-10, 161, 4.48) , of Houston (Aldine), Texas: "Right now there are two schools that I like very much. I like Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Those two schools are showing the most interest in me."
What is it that Anderson likes about the two rivals? "Oklahoma is Oklahoma. They have been one of the top programs in the nation for a while now. Any athlete that gets an offer from Oklahoma is one of the best athletes in the nation, and I am very proud that they offered me. They are winning and they play great defense. As far as Oklahoma State goes, I actually got to meet the coaches and get to know them a little bit. I got a chance to meet Coach (Mike) Gundy at our school and he is a great guy. I would like to drive up to the state of Oklahoma this summer, because my two top schools are there. I would also like to see LSU."
Also highly ranked nationally(#42) is Jonas Mouton of Venice, California. This top safety prospect was born and raised on the bayou and the LSU is doing their best to bring him back home, along with at least 30 other serious contenders. "I'm starting to narrow things down to a top five but I don't have it done yet," he said. "By the time school starts I should have it then."
The Sooners did not make the cut for New Jersey defensive back Antwine Perez who narrowed his list down to three, "My 'final' three are USC, LSU, and Michigan. But Perez does hold a slim glimmer of hope: "There is still a possibility that I would visit Oklahoma because there are in my final eight. I am still looking at other schools besides these three. There is still a chance that I would sign with a school outside of these three, especially if I take a visit there and feel real comfortable there."
James Henry, (6'2 / 205 / 4.5), Schertz (Clemens), TX; (Committed to Oklahoma)
Myron Rolle, (6-2 / 210 / 4.5), The Hun School, Princeton, NJ;
Jonathan Nelson, (6'0 / 175 / 4.4), of Mansfield, TX;
Perrish Cox, DB / Ath (6'0 / 175 / 4.4), Waco, Texas:
Terrance Anderson, (5-10 / 161), Houston, (Aldine Nimitz), TX;
Darian Hagen, (6-1 / 186), L.A. CA;
Jonas Mouton (6-2, 212, 4.6), L.A. CA;
C.J. Gable, RB / DB / (6-1 / 190 / 4.5) - Sylmar, CA;
Jai Eugene, (5-11 / 185 / 4.4), Destrehan, LA;
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, CA;
Darrin Walls, (6-1 / 175), from Pittsburgh, PA
Jordon Pugh, (5-11 / 183 / 4.4), Plano, TX;
Jashaad Gaines, Las Vegas, NV;
Reshad Jones, (6-2 / 180 / 4.5), Atlanta, (B.T. Washington), GA;
Wesley Lyons, (6-5 / 205 / 4.5), Pittsburgh, (Woodland Hills), PA;
Antwine Perez (6-2, 200, 4.5) , Camden (Woodrow Wilson Hs), New Jersey
Quarterback - OU expected to take 1
Sam Bradford, (6-4 / 190 / 4.7), Putnam City North, (committed to Oklahoma).
Even with the commitment of Sam Bradford, OU still is thin at the position, with Thompson graduating after next (2006), season. While Bradford may be the only 'true' quarterback taken this year, we would expect that the Sooners would look at someone as an insurance policy. As we have said before, D'Vontrey Richardson, (6-1 / 205 / 4.6), of Leesburg, GA is the one prospect nationwide that could play quarterback if needed and at the same time almost any other skill position on the team. The Sooners would be lucky to land him.
Running Back - OU expected to take 2
There are several running backs at the top of OU's list. All of the backs listed below have a different quality to offer. Charles Scott may be the best power back in the country. Note: 'Power back' is not a fullback - think of a Lindale White at USC and you get a good picture of Scott's abilities.
Many of these guys appear somewhere in the Top 100, a huge honor - although none merits the accolades of an Adrian Peterson. OU would be happy with anyone off of this list, and in time, could be thrilled.
Charles Scott, RB (6'1 / 225 / 4.5) Jonesboro Hodge, LA; (LSU leads OU, USC, and Alabama).
DeMarco Murray, RB (6-0 / 180), Las Vegas (Gorman), NV; (Favors: OU, USC, Florida State, Florida, Miami, Michigan, and Wisconsin).
Evan Royster, (6-0 / 190 / 4.4), Chantilly, VA; (OU, Tennessee, Va Tech, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, FSU and Miami).
Michael Goodson, RB (5-11 / 185 / 4.48), Klein, TX; (A&M, USC, OU).
Mon Williams, (6-1 / 190 / 4.5), Mesquite, TX; (Florida, A&M, KSU, Texas, OU and OSU).
Chris Brown, (5-11 / 195 / 4.45), Alexandria, LA; (Arkansas, OU, LSU, and Alabama).
Knowshon Moreno, RB (6-0 / 195), Middletown, NJ; (Miami, Florida, Maryland, OU, Michigan).
LeSean McCoy, RB (5-11 / 206), Harrisburg, PA; (Georgia, Alabama, USC, OU, Tennessee, Penn State, Ohio State and Va Tech).
Javarris James, RB (6-2 /205), Immokalee, FL. (Miami, USC, Florida, Nebraska, OU).
Stafon Johnson, (6-0 /200 /4.5), L.A. Dorsey, CA; (Michigan, USC, Cal, Tennessee, Florida and Miami).
Some say Demarco Murray is the Sooners top pick. We think that might apply to any of the ten. But right now, Murray favors Florida over OU. He's going to take his official visits early with the hope that he can make his announcement at the Scout - US Army All-American Game in San Antonio in January. We doubt if the Sooners can hold out for that long, but Murray might be worth the gamble.
Evan Royster (6-0, 190, 4.45) still claims to be "pretty much wide open" with schools. "I still plan on going on a road trip with my parents through the Midwest and through Florida this summer. "I like how Oklahoma runs the ball a lot and they've got a great coaching staff there. I really like coach (Cale) Gundy (running backs) there too. Nebraska also has a great coaching staff. I really like how they like to throw the ball out of the backfield, and they've got a good program."
Knowshon Moreno, (6-0, 205, 4.5), Middletown (South Hs), New Jersey, is one back that we've not talked about, but that does not mean that the Sooner coaches don't covet this dynamic talent. The early signs seemed to indicate that New Jersey is just too far away. However, recent developments put Sooner chances at Moreno higher than first expected.
Moreno said this week that, "I still don't have any favorites. I am going to start narrowing it down pretty soon. I know that Georgia and Florida have a good chance to be in the mix along with Oklahoma, but I am going to have to think about it a little bit more. The Sooners are doing very well with me right now, on and off the field. Hopefully, OU can continue to have great success and they will continue to recruit me, and just maybe I could be a Sooner. I need to think things through a lot more. I have a lot of things to consider, but OU is a great school and certainly one that I am considering."
Receivers - OU expected to take 3 or 4
You don't see a lot of these names on the Top 100 list, and no where does the Sooner staff disagree more with the Scout experts than on receivers. Oklahoma is adamant that the following receivers are the best anywhere. And in a gun fight, I'm going with Darrell Wyatt and proven winners over guru's. Best bet Sooner targets at receiver are:
Jermaine Gresham, (6-7 / 235), Ardmore, OK. (OU, Nebraska, LSU, OSU, Missouri).
Terrell Reese, (6-4 / 200 / 4.5), Pflugerville, TX. (OU, Nebraska lead several).
Adron Tennell, (6-5 / 195 / 4.5) Grand Prairie, TX; (Texas Tech, OU, A&M, Miss State, TCU).
Brandon Caleb, (6-0 / 195 / 4.55), Atlanta, GA (OU, Ga Tech, Va Tech).
Jeremy Maclin, (6'0 / 180 / 4.4), Kirkwood, Missouri. (Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, OU, Michigan State).
Artrell Woods, WR / DB / RB (6-0 / 180), Bryan, TX; (A&M, OSU, OU).
Markeith Summers, (6-4 / 190 / 4.6), Olive Branch, MS; "LSU, Florida, Ole Miss, OU
Nate Byham, TE (6-4 / 220), Franklin, PA; (Miami, USC, OU, FSU).
Damian Williams, (6-0 / 177 4.5), Springdale, AR; (Arkansas, LSU, Florida, Texas, Missouri and OU).
Richard Dickson, TE / DE (6-4 / 238 / 4.7), Ocean Springs, MS; (LSU, Miss State, Ole Miss, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, OU, Florida).
Damon McDaniel, WR / RB (6'0 / 195 / 4.4), Virginia Beach, VA; (Virginia, Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida State, Florida, Miami and LSU).
Jonas Mouton, WR / S (6-2 / 212 / 4.6), Los Angeles, CA; (Michigan, Nebraska, LSU, Arizona, Oregon, USC, OU).
Tony Wilson, (6'0 / 175 / 4.45) Dayton, Fla.
It's been a while since Damian Williams, the All-World wide receiver from Springdale, Arkansas, name was mentioned here. Although we'll call him a long shot, he still continues to sniff around the Sooner camp. At present Williams seems most enamored with the Florida Gators. Anything but the Razorbacks however gives everyone else hope.
Williams has made trips to Texas, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma to visit their campuses. "I am looking at the coaching staffs and their families, their facilities and academics. I want the facilities to be somewhere that I can get my workouts in and have all the resources I need available to maximize my abilities."
We've said that it's only a matter of time before the nation wakes up and discovers Brandon Caleb, (6-1, 195, 4.5). Caleb likes OU - but probably would prefer Florida due to distance alone. He said he will camp at Florida later this month (July 23), hoping to get offered. "I definitely want to play wide receiver over safety in college, and I want to go to a program that's got a passing offense. Florida has got the edge on the other schools that I'm looking at right now. I definitely see myself as a playmaker there," he said.
"Oklahoma (first to offer) and Virginia Tech fall in as my #2 and #3 schools. I've had a great conversation with coach (Cale) Gundy from OU and he told me a lot of great statistics about their receivers coming out of college and going to the NFL. I see myself as a playmaker there too, and I really like coach (Bob) Stoops and the rest of his staff there."
Folks, we're serious when we say that Caleb is being overlooked at the moment. Oklahoma would take him in a heart beat and feel like they were lucky to do so.
Again this week we're listing these Oklahoma offers at receiver as long shots, but certainly possibilities:
Sam Shields, (6-1 / 175 / 4.4), Sarasota, (Booker) Florida
Justin Williams, (6-2 / 185), Folkston, GA.
Brandon Heath, WR (6-1 / 195 / 4.5), Palm Beach, FL;
Andrey Baskins, (6-4 / 200), Camden, NJ;
Anthony Summers, (6-3 / 200 / 4.5), Olive Branch, MS;
Chris Slaughter, WR (6-3 / 165 / 4.6), Fort Valley, GA;
Chykie (C.J.) Brown, WR (6-1 /185 / 4.35), Galena Park, (North Shore), TX;
Brandon Warren, TE (6-4 / 235), Alcoa, TN;
DeAndre McDaniel, WR / S (6-1/180/4.5), Tallahassee, FL;
Jamar Hornsby, (6-4 / 185), Jacksonville, FL,
Kenny Britt, WR (6-3 / 180 / 4.5), Bayonne, NJ;
Percy Harvin, WR (5-11 / 182 / 4.4), Virginia Beach, VA;
Richard Jackson, WR (6-2 / 195/ 4.6), Clermont, FL;
Ricky Dixon, (6'2 / 208 / 4.5), East St John, Louisiana.
Trent Pupello, TE / DE (6-3 / 250 / 4.75), Tampa, (Jefferson), FL.
Offensive Line - OU expected to take 6 or 7
Unlike receivers, the Sooner OL targets do litter the Top 100 list. Whether that's good or bad is a matter of debate, for top notch 'hogs' are tough to come by, and sometimes seem to be almost impossible to corral when the whole world is knocking down their door. Again we list them in the order of Oklahoma's chances to sign them:
Cory Bradford, (6-6 / 255, 5.1), Corsicana, TX; (soft OU verbal).
Curtis Bailey, (6-6 / 360 / 5.6), Dallas Carter; (USC, OU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Florida, Nebraska).
J.B. Walton, (6-3 / 270 / 5.1), Indian Head, MD; (OU, Florida, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Maryland).
Ian Symonette, (6-9 / 330), St. Pius X HS, Houston, TX; (Miami, Texas, OU, LSU and USC).
Daniel Wenger, (6-4 / 285 / 5.3), Fort Lauderdale, FL. (Duke, Florida, Florida State, Miami (Fl), Nebraska, OU).
Jim Barrie, (6-5 / 305), Tampa, FL; (OU, South Carolina, LSU, FSU, Florida).
Lee Tilley, (6-5 / 321), Springfield, OH; (Arizona State, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, OU, Washington).
Maurice Hurt, (6'3½ / 340 / 5.7), Baldwin, Georgia. (Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Ohio State, OU).
Connor Smith, (6-6, 300, 5.1), Cincinnati, OH.
Matt Carufel, (6-5 / 288) , Saint Paul, MN; (Notre Dame, Iowa and Minnesota, OU).
Jovon Hayes, (6-2½ / 320 / 5.3), L.A. Dorsey, CA; (USC slightly over Arizona, Arizona State, Florida, LSU, Oklahoma).
Steve Schilling, (6-5 / 290), Bellevue, WA; (USC, UCLA, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee, OU).
Kiante Tripp, (6-6 / 250), Atlanta, Westlake;
Aaron Brown, (6-6 / 283) Cincinnati (OH) Princeton;
Cruz Barrett, (6-4 / 315), Daytona Beach, FL;
Antonio Logan-El, (6-6 / 320 / 5.2), Forestville, MD. (Maryland commit);
Matt Allen, (6-3½, / 280 / 5.3), an early LSU commit out of Klein (Collins), TX.
Marcus Gilbert, (6'6½, 285, 4.9), Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas HS)
Jovon Hayes was named the MVP at the Arizona camp and has generated a flood of letters from Mike and the UA staff. Hayes says top eight are: "in no order, USC (no offer), Arizona, Arizona State, Florida, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon and Miami."
The Sooners are still strong with Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas standout Marcus Gilbert who says, "I really haven't narrowed it down yet," he said. "My dad and I are gonna be doing that real soon. Miami, Oklahoma, LSU, NC State, Michigan, South Carolina, and Florida are the main ones I'm looking at right now."
Like wise Cruz Barrett, Mainland High School Daytona, FL is still weighing his offers, "I am still very open-minded to all the schools until I can take my visits," said Barrett. "I am not sure who I am going to visit, but I guess it is safe to say that I will visit Florida State and Miami. Oklahoma is a good team and I like them a lot. I will probably take a visit to Oklahoma. Along with Florida State and Miami, I would say that I have a good interest in Oklahoma as well."
We are still predicting that Jenks' OL Chase Beeler, (6-3 / 275), will get a Sooner offer before the summer is over, and OL Doug Stroud, (6-7 / 345), Evangel Christian in Shreveport, La., is also a likely offer.
Still appearing on the Sooner list are what we'd call long shots as of this report. But the Sooners have not cooled on any of the prospects listed below and would welcome a commitment from any one mentioned.
Alex Stadler (6-6 / 300), Bealeton, VA;
Andre Smith, (6-4 / 315), Birmingham, AL;
Bartley Webb, (6-6 / 280), Springdale, AR.
Butch Lewis, (6'7/ 280 / 4.8), Denver (Regis Jesuit Hs), Colorado;
Carl Johnson, (6-6 / 335), Durham, NC;
Corey Hobbs, OL / DT (6-5 / 310 /5.2), Oveido, FL;
Jeff Adams, (6-8 / 315); Kentucky's
Daron Rose, (6-5 / 310), Tampa, (Jefferson) FL;
Jared Odrick, (6-6 / 285), Lebanon, PA; (also a DT)
Jermarcus Ricks, (6-4 / 285), Leighton, AL;
Josh Hawkins, (6-7 / 295), Greenville, AL;
Kenrick Ellis, OL - DL (6-5 / 320 / 5.1), West Palm Beach, FL.
Marcus Gilbert, (6-6 / 280 / 4.9), Fort Lauderdale, FL;
Sam Young, (6-7 / 280 / 4.9), of Ft Lauderdale.
We're off a few days for the fourth - but will be checking in to answer questions this weekend. Thank you and have a SAFE weekend.
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