OUInsider Weekend Wrapup (7/9)

A recap of the week's news and notes surrounding Oklahoma football and recruiting.

Overrated?

Just when Bob Stoops returns from a highly publicized NASCAR appearance with Steve Spurrier, Trev Alberts fires up the 'overrated' chant to breathe life in a listless summer program.

Wow, this is likely to get worse before it's gets better, but every Sooner fan should send 'Trevy' a dozen roses, as there's nothing like some cheap smack talk to twist Stoops into an compulsive rage hell bent on proving the offender wrong as rain.

Our own James Hale was able to get into the coach's office for a few moments before the airwaves became saturated with factoids from ESPN. Bob was able to give us a few reasons to discount the former Huskers' envy, and why he's not counting the Sooners out of the Rose Bowl race before the opening gun goes off.

"Everyone talks about the guys we lost, but we still have 16 to 17 starters back if you look at guys who have started five or six games or more. That is a lot of guys who are strong, experienced and who have been winning for us. A lot of these guys have been rotating in, sharing time, and have gotten equal snaps with some of the guys that we have graduated."

"Offensively, we will be fine. I think the pluses are that we'll probably have five seniors on the O-line in the two deep. That gives up a lot of experience up there. Our backfield comes back with Adrian Peterson, Kejuan Jones and J.D. Runnels, who took the bulk of the snaps last year. The tight ends, the same thing."

"At receiver, we'll look to Travis Wilson, who was our leading touchdown receiver a year ago. He had a great, great year. JeJuan Rankins started 10 or 11 games the year before (2003), and will team with Travis to give us some experience. Then we have some young guys coming up that we are going to count on. Quentin Chaney had a real strong spring, and he is big guy who can run. Then we have some young guys coming into the program, so those guys will have to pick it up, and we believe that they will."

"At the quarterback position, we have always had guys earn it around here and we have not had time for anyone to earn and solidify themselves yet. That is the only way teammates respect them, and that is if they earn it on the field, and we know that will happen. "

"What I like is that all three are capable and are good. It would be a problem if all three weren't very good, then you would have an issue. There will be good competition, and then in the end the guy who will have earned it will have the respect of his teammates and coaches. We will see where it goes."

Hold on . . . more ammo . . .reload - fire!

As you can see, it didn't take much to get Coach Stoops going. And if that were not enough, he took a quick breath and proceeded to also gave us a tour of the defensive unit and why he has confidence in it:

"First, we have excellent experience and ability in the front line when you look at Larry Birdine and Dusty Dvoracek. Carl Pendleton also started almost every game for us a year ago."

"We have to get some young guys going, like Alonzo Dotson and John Williams. We have Calvin Thibodeaux back and he looks recovered from injury. They will all work hard and share time in there. We also have Remi Ayodele, who has played and Steven Coleman who looked good in the spring. Actually, the names go on and on. We have some excellent depth up front with players who have a lot of experience and ability."

"With the linebacker crew, you look at Clint Ingram and how well he played in the spring. Clint Ingram is not new to our program. I read some where that he was new this year, but Clint has had a great career here at Oklahoma. Look at the Texas game a year ago, Clint had a strong game against Texas and made a huge impact a year ago at a SAM linebacker. He had a great spring and everybody recognized that he is an excellent player. Clint was a full-time starter a year ago, as well as Rufus Alexander."

"Zach Latimer had an excellent spring. He and DeMarrio Pleasant will be excellent players in the middle. Zach really had an excellent spring, and we have a great group of young guys that are coming in as freshmen."

"It's the secondary where we have the most to replace, but I still believe that there is excellent experience there. We have Marcus Walker back, and he did an excellent job in his starting role a year ago. Then you have guys who have played a great number of snaps in Eric Bassey and Chijioke Onyenegecha, both who have really progressed well. Those guys have played in a lot of games for a good number of years here."

"At the safety positions, Darrien Williams had an excellent spring in there at the free safety spot. Jason Carter, Lewis Baker and Tony Cade at strong safety will continue to battle, but they all have ability. I thought they made great strides in the spring. If they keep working here in the summer, then we are going to be solid back there."

Should we send a' thank you' note?

Too bad that ESPN only runs 30 second sound bites or Stoops could teach the entire country some 'Boomer Sooner' baby. But on the other hand, Trev may be doing the Sooners a big favor just by giving them airtime. While OU may not be quite ready to adopt the old adage, 'there's no such thing as bad publicity,' even Stoops admits that the national attention the program is drawing is paying off in recruiting coast to coast.

"I don't want to sound boastful or conceited, but the name 'Oklahoma' is very common when we go and recruit and travel around. We can recruit anywhere in the country now, and nine out of ten times we are going be one of the top four of five schools that a top prospect is going to look at. You feel good about the fact that — not only have we won championships, but it is also out there that people like the way we play."

"They like the style we play with and the way the players have represented themselves in interviews, as well as on the field. I get a lot of comments about how well our players handle themselves in media interviews, as well as on the field during games. All of that is a positive definitely."

Changes coming . . .

Ever since Kevin Wilson arrived from Northwestern, he has been anxious to deploy the quarterback run game in the offensive package, and install more elements of the Northwestern spread run game.

It starts with a mobile quarterback that requires the linebackers to account for his whereabouts at all times. All three of OU's QB candidates can run better than Nate Hybl or Jason White, (after his knee injuries), and if Rhett Bomar or Paul Thompson win the job, better put on your track shoes as the Sooners will be light years ahead of the past four years and better than the magic year of 2000.

We should see a return to the QB 'speed option' with Adrian Peterson the intended target, and a true QB draw. These two plays alone will keep the crowd on the edge of their seats in '05, and cause opposing defensive coordinators to miss a few more home cooked dinners.

Although the summer pre-season magazine experts are focusing on the loss of Vince Carter, Wes Sims and Jammal Brown, and predicting a steep fall-off for Adrian Peterson and the Sooner offense, they are not remembering that under this scheme Northwestern consistently had a running back rush for over 1,500 yards or more. And no, not one was ever in the same class as No. 28. But obviously, in order for Peterson to get over 1,500 yards, the offensive line will have to perform. With only four weeks left until two-a-days, we'll try to predict how that unit will come together.

Progress Reports - this week the OL

Now that Brandon Keith has finally made it to Norman, all of the essential components are at least located and ready to insert into a lineup. The best battle may be between Akim Millington and Keith for the starting right tackle spot.

If the season started tomorrow, Millington would start at right tackle opposite Davin Joseph at left tackle. But there is a possibility that Kevin Wilson could move Millington to right guard if Keith proves to be superior at the tackle spot. Although we may see these two flop positions a bit during two-a-days, it's a forgone conclusion that Keith is the more capable guard prospect, where Millington may not be as versatile. It would be surprising if one slipped into a backup role.

Of course, senior Chris Chester will have plenty to say about the right guard position and he will not be easy to move out. Last year, Chris played primarily in short-yardage situations and could be used in several positions this year, including center where Chris Bush will start.

Either Jesse White or Jon Cooper could be pressed into backup duty at center in the unlikely event that something sidelines both Bush and Chester. It's certain that redshirt freshman J.D. Quinn, who made no qualms about his distaste and the frustration of trying to block Dusty Dvoracek during spring, will not be forced to play center again. Quinn will move back to the right guard spot where he is more comfortable and capable. In fact, Kevin Wilson swears that J.D. will start many games before his career is over, and would not be surprised to see him getting quality playing time by mid-season.

Freshman Duke Robinson and junior Chris Messner will backup the right side, most likely at tackle.

An athletic Davin Joseph is the big story on the left side and will anchor the line from the tackle spot. Behind him, freshman Branndon Braxton, who the coaches say can be a great one in time, will backup, although Duke Robinson could also be moved here. Redshirt freshman Cameron Schacht will provide depth.

Kelvin Chaisson enters his last year as the starting left guard, something he did eight times last year and has done 26 times as a Sooner. Behind him, Ben Baressi has been one of the most pleasant surprises so far and appears to be ahead of schedule for a freshman linemen. We'll call it a very close race with senior Brett Rayl to back-up Chaisson.

The coaches would prefer to give Ben, who like Braxton will only be a second semester freshman, the redshirt, but will play him if he continues to improve. We also look for Jon Cooper to start out at left guard, and it will be interesting to see what he can do when two-a-days open.

But as former offensive line coach Merv Johnson warns, it normally takes offensive linemen two years just to get physical enough to play, no matter what their talent level.

Help is on the way . . .

With five seniors, (Joseph, Chaisson, Bush, Chester and Rayl), and a lack of future depth, it becomes apparent that the offensive line is the primary concern for the recruiting efforts this year, with the Sooners looking to sign six or possibly seven top linemen.

OU took a huge step in meeting their goals with the commitment Tuesday (July 5) of Cory Brandon from Corsicana, Texas. Brandon, (6-6, 260, 5.4), who is a member of the National Top 100 (#71) and considered to be among the top three offensive linemen in Texas, has been near the top of the Sooner OL board since his evaluation this spring.

A commitment from a Top 100 player is huge. To put this in perspective, OU signed eight players ranked in the Top 100 last year and are in on many more this year. Generally, seven to eight players in the Top 100 will insure that your class is a top five class in the country.

Although Brandon's commitment was expected, it was also a relief to get one of the best available linemen in the nation on board in July.

Other OL targets . . .

Now that one top OL prospect is in the bag, who sits atop OU's wish list for the other spots? Two more towering Texans, Ian Symonette, (6-9, 330), and Curtis Bailey, (6-7, 345), would have to head the list. Symonette is rated as the top prospect in Texas now and may be the top OL in the country this year, while Bailey is almost as dominating.

Symonette remains mum about his choices, but the Sooners are certainly in the mix. However, we did hear from Curtis Bailey, who is astute enough to realize that he needs to lose 30 pounds and get stronger to be the player he wants to be.

"I am currently at 345 pounds. I actually don't know my height because I have no way of measuring that. I've lost a little weight and I think I have improved my bench and squat. My goal was to get to 405 by the end of the summer. I am pretty sure I am going to get there."

Bailey also said that he's reduced the list of schools he's considering.

"I have narrowed it down, in no particular order, Oklahoma, USC and Notre Dame. I hope to visit Oklahoma, USC, Notre Dame, Miami and Kansas State. I do not want to go to any Texas schools." (You're catching on fast Curtis).

"I like Oklahoma a lot. I like their school and combination of athletics and academics. I think their coaches have a good relationship with their recruits." If the Sooners could possibly get Bailey on board, it would lesson the OL pressure considerably.

We've been talking about Matt Allen, (6-3, 292, 5.2), from Collins High School in Klein High School in Texas for several weeks. Matt pledged to LSU early but wants to make sure of his decision before signing on the dotted line. Oklahoma remains the most serious suitor if not LSU. Allen visited OU recently and gave us his impressions.

"The winning tradition that they have really impressed me. They have great facilities and a nice training room. They have a nice school as I really enjoyed the campus. Right now I am committed to LSU, but I am keeping my options open to make sure that I am making the right decision. I still might visit Oklahoma (officially)."

(Gee, wonder what 'THAT COACH' thinks about Allen's [u]resolve?)

Here's OU's current shopping list for offensive linemen with their 'best chances' listed first. Making the biggest jump on this week's list was another prospect who had previously committed, Antonio Logan-El, a Maryland commitment who keeps thinking about a crimson jersey and playing for national championships. Logan-El is currently ranked as the 10th-best OL in the nation, and the Sooners chances here keep getting better.

You can bet that most of the prospects on this OL list are among the nation's best, and so far Kevin Wilson's national strategy is looking like gold. We again present the OU offer list ranked not by ability, but in order of OU's chances at an eventual commitment as of this date. (National position ranking 'NR' follows name, i.e. '17' = ranked as 17th best OL in nation; 'UR' = currently unranked).

OU Offer List - Offensive Line

Cory Brandon - (16) (6-6, 255, 5.1), Corsicana, Texas; (Committed to Oklahoma)
Curtis Bailey - (Top 25), (6-6 / 350 / 5.6), Dallas (Carter HS), Texas
J. B. Walton - (Top 25) (6-3, 270, 5.1) Indian Head, Md.
Ian Symonette - (3), (6-9, 330), St. Pius X HS, Houston, Texas
Daniel Wenger - (Top 25) (6-4, 285, 5.3), Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Jim Barrie - (UR) (6-5 / 305), Tampa, Fla.
Antonio Logan-El - (10) (6-6, 320, 5.2), Forestville, Md.
Matt Allen - (UR) (6-3½, 280, 5.3), Klein (Collins), Texas
Lee Tilley - (15) (6-5, 321), Springfield, Ohio
Matt Carufel - (9) (6-5, 288) , Saint Paul, Minn.
Maurice Hurt - (UR) (6'3½, 340, 5.7), Baldwin, Ga.
Connor Smith (5) (6-6, 300, 5.1), Cincinnati, Ohio
Jovon Hayes - (Top 25) (6-2½ / 320 / 5.3), Los Angeles Dorsey, Calif.
Steve Schilling (2) (6-5, 290), Bellevue, Wash.
Kiante Tripp - (Top 25) (6-6, 250), Atlanta, (Westlake) Ga.
Aaron Brown- (17) (6-6, 283, 5.1) OT Cincinnati, (Princeton), Ohio
Cruz Barrett - (UR) (6-4, 315), Daytona Beach, Fla.
Marcus Gilbert - (UR) (6'6½, 285, 4.9), Fort Lauderdale, (St. Thomas Aquinas), Fla.
Chase Beeler - (UR) (6-3, 275), Jenks, Okla. should get a Sooner offer before the summer is over
Doug Stroud - (UR) (6-7, 345), Shreveport, (Evangel Christian) La. expected to get an OU offer.

Other Oklahoma offers at this time, most could be considered long shots, but remain as possibilities as OU continues to have serious interest:

Bartley Webb - (Top 25) (6-6, 280), Springdale, Ark.
Daron Rose - (Top 25) (6-5, 310, 5.4), Tampa, (Jefferson) Fla.
Butch Lewis - (13) (6-6, 280, 4.8), Denver (Regis Jesuit), Colo.
Corey Hobbs- (Top 25) OL / DT (6-5, 310, 5.2), Oveido, Fla.
Jeff Adams- (UR) (6-8, 315)
Sam Young (4) (6-7, 280, 4.9), Ft Lauderdale, Fla.
Jared Odrick - (19) (6-6, 285), Lebanon, Pa. (also a DT)
Alex Stadler - (Top 25) (6-6 / 300), Bealeton, Va.
Andre Smith (1) (6-4 / 315), Birmingham, Ala.
Jermarcus Ricks - (Top 25) (6-4 / 285), Leighton, Ala.
Josh Hawkins - (UR) (6-7 / 295), Greenville, Ala.
Kenrick Ellis - (Top 25) OL-DL (6-5 / 320 / 5.1), West Palm Beach, Fla.

Run Away . . .

Shooting up the 'most likely to commit' running back chart this week is Chris Brown, who is one of the top running backs in the state of Louisiana from Alexandria High School. New Sooner, and former teammate, Nic Harris swears Brown is better than anyone he's ever seen. So what are the Sooner's chances here?

"My top three would be Alabama, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. I don't have an overall favorite. Those three schools are all equal."

Although Brown remains 'unranked' nationally, it's only a matter of time before the word on him gets out. If you recall, Nic Harris was also an unknown at Alexandria last year at this time. However, his name first surfaced in one our late summer weekend wrapup's when we reported that some members of the OU staff thought he was the best defensive player seen on film. Brown may not draw those kinds of accolades, but he was given an OU offer, and those were certainly reserved for those that the staff believed were the best dozen RB prospects in the country this year.

It's debatable who the best running back in the country is, but most folks agree that it's either Ohio State commitment Chris Wells or LeSean McCoy, currently ranked No. 2.

Oklahoma has a chance for McCoy, as they are one of four he currently favors, but the big news here is McCoy's gutsy ultimatum to Penn State icon Joe Paterno.

"I told coach Paterno and most of his staff that if they don't have a winning season this year, I won't go there. I want to go to one of the best programs out there that wins."

Talk about pressure. All Joe Pa needed was the state's top recruit giving him a sassy 'win or else' statement. McCoy said he'd have his five finalists at the end of this month. OU hopes to stay in the hunt.

"I'm still undecided on where I'm going to visit. But I know I want to take all of my official visits and commit somewhere closer to signing day," he said.

McCoy's only flaw is a less than perfect GPA, but if that were a consideration in rankings, a few others would be forced to wear the same yoke.

While DeMarco Murray is still the most likely prospect (at present) to commit to OU, we continue to be intrigued by Charles Scott, who may be the best power back in the country. Scott is one of the few top backs in the country, (currently ranked 13th), that has stated that running behind Adrian Peterson for a year would not be a such a shameful thing.

The OU offer list at running back, ranked not by ability, but in order of the Sooners chances at an eventual commitment, as of this date. (National position ranking 'NR' follows name, i.e. '17' = ranked as 17th best RB in nation; 'UR' = currently unranked).

DeMarco Murray - (8) (6-0, 180, 4.5), Las Vegas (Gorman), Nev.
Chris Brown - (UR) (5-11, 195, 4.4), Alexandria, La.
Charles Scott - (13) (6-1, 225, 4.5) Jonesboro Hodge, La.
Evan Royster - (UR) (6-0, 190, 4.4), Chantilly, Va.
LeSean McCoy - (2) (5-11, 206, 4.4), Harrisburg, Pa.
C.J. Gable - (6) (6-1, 190, 4.5), Sylmar, Calif. (also a top DB)
Knowshon Moreno - (10) (6-0, 195, 4.5), Middletown, N.J.
Javarris James - (Top 25) (6-1, 205, 4.5), Immokalee, Fla.
Stafon Johnson - (3) (6-0, 200, 4.5), Los Angeles Dorsey, Calif.
Mon Williams - (UR) (6-1, 190, 4.5), Mesquite, Texas
Michael Goodson - (5) (5-11, 185, 4.5), Klein, Texas

Michael Goodson announces Sunday on one of those riveting local news productions. Coaches from around these parts think Goodson will opt for A&M — if dad has his way or OSU, where he knows "he can be the next Adrian Peterson," according to one family member. USC is a slight possibility, but like OU the competition may be too tough and Goodson wants an empty stage.

OU Offer List - Receiver

As we said last week, no where does OU have a disagreement over top ranked players more than at the receiver position. Partly due to the fact that many receivers go two ways, and in some cases Oklahoma is recruiting at the WR position when the rest of the country sees defense.

A prime example is Atlanta's Brandon Caleb, who is described as a linebacker on most lists. However, in OU's eyes Caleb is a big, strong gifted receiver.

Obviously, any OU receiver list has to begin locally with Ardmore's Jermaine Gresham. Most of the controversy surrounding Gresham is not what school he'll choose, but at what position he'll play. Right now Gresham is a wide receiver, but at 6-6 and 230, some argue that he will easily grow into a dominating tight end.

Obviously, Gresham has no idea if he'll get bigger, but instead explains he is still working at getting better and is trying to not be complacent to just use his size to mismatch people.

"God has giving me such good talent that my ability just comes to me. Now, that doesn't mean that I don't work at it, and especially with the agility drills. I have to work hard at them."

Gresham is not remotely ready to think about recruiting, as he wants to concentrate on his senior season and will not make up any lists until this fall. However, you can bet that Gresham is very high on the Sooner board at receiver already.

Jeremy Maclin of Kirkwood, Mo. is one of the un-rated receivers that OU is very high on. Apparently, college recruiters agree with the Sooner staff - as Maclin has over a dozen offers on the table. Currently, Jeremy says Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Illinois and Missouri stand out the most, but he remains wide open.

When talking about OU, he says...

"I like their style of offense that they run. I think I could fit really well in the offensive scheme, and I also like the coaches up there, Coach (Darrell) Wyatt and Coach (Chris) Wilson are great guys to deal with. Oklahoma needs receivers and an opportunity to play early is one of the key things that I am looking for. I know it wouldn't be easy, but I think there would be some possibilities."

A new name on the offer list is Wesley Lyons (6-5, 205, 4.5), Pittsburgh, (Woodland Hills), Pa., who suddenly the Sooners like very much. Wes is the younger brother of Devon Lyons, who chose Ohio State over Miami two years ago, but has failed to crack the Bucks starting lineup. A month ago, it was thought to be a two team race between the exact same schools. It remains to be seen whether Wesley is really interested in OU or if he's so undecided between the two that the Sooners have a legitimate chance.

Texans Terrell Reese, (Pflugerville), and Adron Tennell, (Grand Prairie), also appear very high on the Sooner radar and an early commitment from either would get recruiting off to a great start at this position. At present, here is OU's offer list at receiver listed in order of signing possibility as of this date, along with their position ranking, if any:

Jermaine Gresham - (9 TE) (6-7 / 235 / 4.7), Ardmore, Okla.
Terrell Reese - (13) (6-4 / 200 / 4.5), Pflugerville, Texas
Adron Tennell - (16) (6-5 / 195 / 4.5), Grand Prairie, Texas
Jeremy Maclin - (UR) (6'0 / 180 / 4.4), Kirkwood, Mo.
Brandon Caleb (UR) (6-1, 195, 4.5), Atlanta, Ga.
Damon McDaniel - (UR), WR / RB (6'0, 195, 4.4), Virginia Beach, Va.
Artrell Woods - (UR - WR / RB) (6-0, 180), Bryan, Texas
Damian Williams (19) (6-0, 177 4.5), Springdale, Ark.
Jonas Mouton (4 - S) (6-2, 212, 4.6), Los Angeles, Calif.
Na Derris Ward - (3 TE) (6-5, 245, 4.8) Oakland, (McClymonds) Calif.
Markeith Summers (UR) (6-4, 190, 4.6), Olive Branch, Miss.
Brandon Warren - (15 TE) (6-2, 235, .7), Alcoa, Tenn.
Wesley Lyons - (UR) (6-5, 205, 4.5), Pittsburgh, (Woodland Hills), Pa.
Richard Dickson - (UR TE / DE) (6-4, 238, 4.7), Ocean Springs, Miss.
Tony Wilson - (14 CB) (6'0, 175, 4.45) Dayton, Fla.

Oklahoma offer list at WR's, who at this time could be considered long shots, but possibilities as OU continues to have interest:

Brandon Heath (6 - S) (6-1, 195, 4.5), Palm Beach, Fla.
Andrey Baskins (UR) (6-4, 200, 4.6), Camden, N.J.
Anthony Summers - (Top 30) (6-3, 200, 4.5), Olive Branch, Miss.
Chris Slaughter (UR) (6-3, 165, 4.6), Fort Valley, Ga.
Chykie (C.J.) Brown (18 CB) (6-1, 185, 4.35), Galena Park, (North Shore), Texas
DeAndre McDaniel (14 - S) WR / S (6-1, 180, 4.5), Tallahassee, Fla.
Nate Byham -(1 -TE) (6-4, 220), Franklin, PA; (Miami, USC, OU, FSU).
Kenny Britt - (UR) (6-3, 180, .5), Bayonne, N.J.
Percy Harvin - (2) (5-11, 182, 4.4), Virginia Beach, Va.
Richard Jackson (Top 30) (6-2, 195, 4.6), Clermont, Fla.
Justin Williams - (Top 30) (6-2, 183, 4.5), Folkston, Ga.
Ricky Dixon (Top 30) (6'2, 208, 4.5), East St John, La..
Trent Pupello (UR) TE / DE (6-3, 250, 4.75), Tampa, (Jefferson), Fla.
Jamar Hornsby (3) (6-4, 185, 4.5), Jacksonville, Fla.

Sooner Defense gets a key commitment . . .

Three weeks ago we told you that Jonathan Nelson, (5-11½ / 180 / 4.5) might be OU's No. 2 CB target behind the nation's top recruit, Myron Rolle. You can bet it was one happy moment yesterday morning in Norman when Nelson's decision became final.

"My decision came down to OU and Oklahoma State. After thinking it over, I just felt OU could develop me better. Nothing against OSU, but OU is known for developing their players and making them the best players they can be. OU has a great reputation for taking good players and turning them into first or high round draft choices."

Surprisingly, Nelson, who is ranked among the top 15 corners in the country, was not overly impressed by the trophy room and championship rings.

"Sure I like that, but I just wanted to see how I fit in there. When I went on my visit, everybody, including the players and coaches were first class people. They were having a camp and Coach Stoops left the camp and let his assistant coaches take over so that he could show me around campus. Here is coach Stoops, so high and mighty in his profession, but he showed me around and had fun doing it. He could have just told one of his assistants to do it, but he did it himself and that really impressed me."

As for the Nation's top recruit, and Oklahoma's number one target, Myron Rolle says that's it's going to be very difficult to chose a school next month as his intention is to enroll in January for spring practice.

"Every school is coming out hard and giving me the best they have when I visit."

The five finalists (Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, Miami and Florida State), have remained on his list throughout the recruiting process.

If there is a newcomer it is Penn State, where he has certain family ties.

"My brother and my sister-in-law went there," he said. "Right now I couldn't tell you which school it's going to be," he said, "But when we all get together and put everything together, I know that we'll come out with a school that is the best one for me."

"This can't be an emotional decision," he said. "If it's emotional, it would be easy to jump at the first one and in the long term, that might prove to be a mistake. For me what's best is to take time away from it and talk to the people who have my best interests at heart. That's our plan and that's what we're trying to execute."

There has been much speculation on the reported return trip to Florida. Myron explains that it is not an indication of the Gators position, but rather just an opportunity for his brothers to check out the school as they did not get to visit with the family initially.

"If it's going to be a family decision, then they need an opportunity to see that school as well," Rolle said.

Another new name on OU's board is Jashaad Gaines, (6'0, 198, 4.5), from Las Vegas, Nev. Gaines is a highly versatile DB that can play either corner or safety, and moved to Las Vegas two years ago from Sherman Oaks, Calif., where he attended Notre Dame High School. Upon moving to Nevada, he started (FS) his sophomore year at Cheyenne High School. Now he's at Las Vegas High and will start at FS.

"I am glad I don't have to move again, but moving around has been good because I have been able to see different cultures and how people live," said Gaines.

Gaines is flying low on the radar screens due to a torn ACL last season that caused him to miss over a month of playing time. But he came back after a month to finish out the year playing on the injured knee.

"I had surgery and when they went in there they found out that the ACL was only torn 20 percent. So, I didn't need total reconstructive surgery."

Gaines says his knee is 100 percent and so are recruiters, with offers so far from Oklahoma, San Diego State, Nebraska, Washington and Utah.

"I really don't have a leader," said Gaines. "I am trying to get to as many schools as I can this summer and check them out. Obviously, the schools that have offered me I am interested in more. I am going to try to have that leader by the time I start the school year."

What are his thoughts on OU?

"I really would not have a problem going to Oklahoma," said Gaines. "They are the No. 2 team in the country and I couldn't even believe that they offered me. I am trying to get down to the school this summer to check it out. If I could do that they would probably become my No. 1 school. I have to see the school to really say that." Gaines has qualified.

Suddenly, Maryland is a hot area for Oklahoma and one reason is DB A.J. Wallace, of Pomfret High School.

"I will have my list narrowed down towards the middle of July. I am still considering Ohio State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Miami, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, and Virginia Tech. There are other schools, but I am going to try to get my list down to ten sometime this month."

"Oklahoma is a good school and they have been recruiting me pretty hard. I might end up taking a visit down there his summer. I like them a lot, but I haven't had a chance to get down there yet. There is a good chance that I will take an official visit to Oklahoma."

Reshad Jones, S, (6'2, 177, 4.5), Atlanta, (Booker T. Washington), was a teammate last year of Duke Robinson when he finished with 72 tackles and 10 interceptions. He is ranked at No. 13 among safeties.

Jones has over 30 offers at this point and it appears that all 30 still have a chance to sign him.

"Right now I just like everybody and I just have to see how it goes," said Jones. "I am looking at a number of different schools and right now I am not ruling out anybody. I am not locked into this state or area. I could go anywhere to college."

And what has 'Big Duke' told him about OU?

"He said he liked Oklahoma and that if I came there I would have to come up there ready to work."

OU's offer list at defensive back - listed in order of signing possibility as of this date:

James Henry - (7 - S) (6'2 / 205 / 4.5), Schertz (Clemens), Texas(Committed to Oklahoma)
Jonathan Nelson - (13 CB) (6'0, 175, 4.4), of Mansfield, Texas (Committed to Oklahoma)
Myron Rolle - (No. 1 overall / 1 - S) (6-2, 21, 4.5), The Hun School, Princeton, N.J.
Perrish Cox - (5 CB) (6'0, 175, 4.4), Waco, Texas
Terrance Anderson - (UR) (5-10, 161), Houston, (Aldine Nimitz), Texas
Jai Eugene - (1 CB) (5-11, 185, 4.4), Destrehan, La.
Jashaad Gaines - (UR) (6'0, 198, 4.5), Las Vegas High, Nev.
Darian Hagen - (4 CB) (6-1, 186), Los Angeles, Calif.
Jonas Mouton (4 S) (6-2, 212, 4.6), Los Angeles, Calif.
C.J. Gable - (6 RB) RB / DB (6-1, 190, 4.5) - Sylmar, Calif.
A.J. Wallace - (UR) (6-1, 195), Pomfret, Md.
Reshad Jones - (13 - S) (6-2, 177, 4.5), Atlanta, (Washington), Ga.

Oklahoma offers at this time, could be considered long shots, but possibilities as OU continues to have interest:

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 - (6-0, 198, 4.5), Las Vegas, Nev.
Wesley Lyons - (6-5, 205, 4.5), Pittsburgh, (Woodland Hills), Pa.

Replacing the infamous Mister Alexander this week on the 'slim and none list' is Taylor Mays (6-3, 220, 4.5), from Seattle, who said that he didn't think he could go to school at Nebraska or Oklahoma because it was 'too rural'. Nice of him to tip us on his priorities, very impressive. Now 'Party On' Taylor.

Linebackers - OU expected to take 3

The Sooners are focused on the top linebackers in the country and hope to get three, but don't expect them to dip into a 'B' list of their top targets. There's plenty of talent on this list to make anyone, including Brent Venables, happy if he just gets a couple.

Among the candidates are the Texas duo of Michael Morgan and Anthony Lewis, both have close to 30 offers. Lewis, from Haltom City, says; "I believe I have been offered by 28 schools. I am still considering Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, OU, Washington State, Florida and LSU. I hope to narrow my choices down by the end of the summer."

Right behind Morgan and Lewis, the Sooners probably have the best chance at another Top 100 player, Brandon Spikes, who is No. 77 on the elite list. You can bet that schools across the nation are after the Shelby, N.C. linebacker and he is close to putting down his favorites. At present, he says:

"I like Miami, LSU, Oklahoma, Florida, Virginia Tech, and Virginia."

California has three of the nation's top backers, (Allen Bradford (1), Joshua Tatum (4), and Mark Johnson (10), and OU is in the race for all three. Bradford says he'll most likely visit OU along with Nebraska, local favorite Cal, UCLA, USC and Washington.

Tatum, (6-2, 220, 4.5), says that his top schools are still USC, Cal, Miami, Michigan, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

"I've gone to camps so far to USC, Cal and UCLA," said Tatum, from McClymonds High School in Oakland. "I haven't ever seen Miami, Tennessee, Michigan or Oklahoma. Those schools along with USC are places that I'm thinking I might take official trips to when I can."

Johnson's favorite team growing up was Nebraska, but his parents would prefer that he stay on the West Coast. Still, he says he won't get serious until he takes all of his visits, and the Sooners are hoping to get one.

We haven't talked about Virginia's Jarrell Miller, (6-3, 235), primarily because we didn't know just where to place him. Although he plays offensive line for Richmond Highland Springs, OU sees Miller as a linebacker, and apparently others do as well as he was named the 9th-best 'backer in the country last week.

Miller doesn't lack for offers either.

"I would say that I have at least 40 and maybe 50 offers at this point. Everybody but Florida State is recruiting me to play middle linebacker. Florida State wants me to play defensive end. If I went to Virginia Tech I might have to play fullback. It is funny because the coaches are always arguing where I am going to play if I go there."

"I don't have a favorite, but I am starting to narrow my choices down to 15 or so, and Oklahoma is one of those teams. The coach that offered me went to LSU (Bo Pelini), but I still have a great interest in OU. I am working off this list and eventually I will come to a decision out of this list. Distance is not a factor at all and if the college I choose is out of the area, then I will go there. If I get a chance to play in the Scout Army All-American game I will probably announce my decision at that game."

OU's offer list at linebacker - listed in order of signing possibility as of this date:

Mike Morgan - (Top 25) (6-3½, 185, .6); Dallas (Skyline)Texas
Anthony Lewis - (17) (6-2½, 220, 4.6), Haltom City, Texas
Brandon Spikes (12) (6-4, 230, 4.6), Shelby, N.C.
Allen Bradford (1) (6-0, 222, .5), Colton, Calif.
Bani Gbadyu - (UR) (6-1½, 203, 4.6), Gaithersburg, Md.
Joshua Tatum (4) (6-2 / 220 / 4.5), Oakland, Calif.
Morrice Richardson - (UR) (6'1½, 228, 4.6), Atlanta (Westlake), Ga.
Akeem Hebron (5) (6-2, 98, 4.5), Wheaton, Md.
Bo Harris - (18) (6-2, 210, 4.65); Conyers, Ga.
Jarrell Miller (9) (6-3, 235), Highland Springs, Va.
Mark Johnson - (10) (6-3 ½, 230, 4.4), Los Angeles Dorsey
Navorro Bowman - (15) (6'2, 218, 4.6), Forestville, (Suitland), Md.
Marcus Ball (7) (6-0, 208, 4.4), from Stone Mountain, Ga.
Tory Smith (UR) (6-0, 241, 4.8), Rome, Ga.

D-Line offers

You can never have enough defensive tackles, and thank goodness one of the nation's best, Gerald McCoy, (#2) is residing just 17 miles north of Norman. McCoy and the Sooners are firmly in each others sights, but Gerald prefers to keep the privacy at maximum levels and the pressure at a minimum, so he's not going to drone on about the recruiting process. Let's say the Sooners have a good shot here and we'll let it go at that until Gerald chooses to say more.

Right behind McCoy is the nations' third-ranked DT, Bart Eddins who gave the Sooners some good news when he narrowed his choices down to two: Auburn and Oklahoma.

Here are his thoughts on each school...

Auburn: "My dad played there and my brother played there. I've pretty much grown up a Tiger fan and it would be great to go through the Tiger Walk and play in Jordan-Hare just like they did."

Oklahoma: "Whenever someone says Oklahoma you immediately think of football. It's one of the elite schools and they always have a good record and what not."

The experts have left defensive end Jeff Miller (6-6, 250, 4.7), unranked and that's fine with OU coaches, as long as they get him. But that's going to be tough as he holds offers from virtually every top program.

"I don't have a top five at this time or any favorites," he claimed. "This summer I'm going to take unofficial visits to Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State, Oklahoma and Ole Miss. I want to commit to a program--hopefully before the season — to get all of the pressure of recruiting off me. But if I don't and I'm not ready, that's fine," said Miller.

OU's offer list along the defensive line - listed in order of signing possibility as of this date:

Pryce Macon - (Top 30 DT) (6-1, 261, 4.7), Corpus Christi, Texas (Committed to Oklahoma)
Gerald McCoy - (2 DT) (6-4, 280), Oklahoma City Southeast HS
Chaz Washington - (Top 25 DT) (6-3, 288), Destrehan, La.
Tim Johnson - (JC) (6'5, 265, 4.7), Northeastern A&M, Okla.
Derek Burton - (Top 25) (6-3, 250), Muskogee, Okla.
Brandon Antwine - (14 DT) (6-2, 270, 4.8), Garland, Texas
Louis Holmes - (JC) (6-6, 270), Scottsdale, Ariz.
Ugo Chinasa 13 DE) (6-5, 230), Richardson, Texas
Jeff Miller - (UR DE) (6-6, 235) Westlake Village, Calif.
Bart Eddins - (3 DT) (6-4, 260, 4.9), Montgomery, Ala. (Aub, OU)
Greg Banks - (UR DE) (6-5, 26, 4.8), Denver, Colo.
Jermaine Cunningham - (14 DE) (6-4, 220) Stone Mountain, Ga.
Lamar Houston - (10 DT) (6-4, 257, 4.6), Colorado Springs, Colo.
Audie Augustine - (UR TE / DE), Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Jared Odrick (19 OL) (6'6, 290, 4.9), Lebanon, Pa (also listed at OL)
Josh Minton - (10 DE) (6-4, 247) Pulaski Co, Ky.

Oklahoma offers at this time, could be considered long shots, but possibilities as OU continues to have interest:

Adrian Taylor - (UR DE) (6-4, 260, 5.1) Mansfield Texas
Micah Johnson (1 DT) (6-2, 277), Fort Campbell, Ky.
Dedrick Epps - (12 TE) DE / TE (6-4, 227), Huguenot HS - Richmond, Va.
Aleric Mullins - (15 DT) (6-2½, 295, 4.9), Wendell, N.C.
John Paul (19 DT) (6-4, 250), Immokalee, Fla.
Leslie Stirrups (UR DT) (6-1, 270), Tampa, Fla.
Adam Patterson - (19 DT) (6-3, 255, 4.8) Richland HS, Columbia, S.C.
Phillip Taylor - (16 DT) (6'4½, 340, 5.16), Brandywine (Gwynn Park) Md.

It's too early to say, but Oklahoma may be adding another Top 100 National prospect to their shopping cart in the next month. Our sources indicate that one Top 100 prospect in particular likes OU a lot and wants a Sooner offer. Some people say this guy could be the top player nationally at his position, so why hasn't OU offered yet? They probably thought they had no chance. But according to the player, he'd love to take a serious look at OU and he says he's no lock for a near by school. Stay tuned.


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