OUInsider Weekend Wrapup (7/17)

See inside for the latest on the OU-NU rivalry, offseason workouts and recruiting. Pictured above: Duke Robinson (front right) teams with Branndon Braxton (left) as the linemen work on abdominal muscles under the direction of new strength assistant and former Sooner defensive back Rodney Rideau (middle).

Dust settles

Oklahoma's opponents were given no favors last week when ESPN's Trev Alberts directed his 'most overrated' missile at the Sooner bunker. Although the bomb was apparently detonated somewhere in Connecticut, it could, and should, send shockwaves throughout the Big 12 area and cause a minor quake in Pasadena on September 17.

The week old attack has not gone over well with Sooner players or coaches and the slap may have been worth another 7-10 points in Lincoln alone. Before that, unchained smack talk by Husker assistant John Blake was enough to at least get the staff fired up, but the latest challenge woke the players, who barely know who John Blake is, out of a summer sleep.

In the end, it was not something that opposing coaches wanted to see pinned up on the Sooner's locker room bulletin board.

Premature on Strong

The report in today's Tulsa World on Fred Strong may be premature, as Fred is still working to satisfy his academic requirements for this fall. One OU coach said, "I never want to count a kid out that's still trying. And in this case there is he has not given up, and neither have we."

Also, at receiver, Tristen Ross has some work to do and his future lies in his dedication to doing a few things better.

And now some good news. Seems that Sooner strength coaches were shocked last week to see Adrian Peterson, yes the same A.D. that had offseason surgery, attempt a new drill. Peterson, just a few weeks ago, started picking up 15-pound dumbbells in each hand and making movements and jumps - getting used to extra weight.

What coaches saw this week was amazing, and unscripted. Peterson walked over and picked up a 40-pound dumbbell in each hand, and then proceeded to jump up on a three-foot platform again and again.

Anyone want to make that 1,550 yard (max) bet made by one fairly loud local sportscaster?

Progress Report - The Newcomers

The Sooners are six weeks into their eight week volunteer workouts, and things are progressing well. Word from coach Jerry Schmidt is that this could be the best class of incoming freshmen he's seen. Schmidt does not easily distribute words of praise when undeserved. So when he says that, most of us would just substitute - WOW!

The group has exceeded early expectations and is doing so well that it may not be fair to single out anyone. But, that what these reports are designed to do - so . . .

Among those performing better than expected are the 'twins' at DE - Brody Eldridge, (6-5 / 230 / 4.7) and his counterpart Auston English, (6-2½ / 220 / 4.6). Neither player earned high accolades last year from anyone but OU coaches who recruited them. Yet after a month of workouts, people that should know say that both should star in a few years. Perhaps it's good news that DE is suddenly looking very solid for this fall, allowing both players to redshirt and gain needed size and strength.

Ben Barresi has looked good enough that everyone expects him to have a great career at Oklahoma, and he could be pushed into a back-up role as early as this fall.

But the biggest surprise - so far - goes to Killeen, Texas 'afterthought' Juaquin Iglesias. All Iglesias did was turn in the fastest 40 time of any of the newcomers, and to top it off - shows plenty of strength. He has looked so good that their may even be a chance that he plays this year.

Interesting to note that three of the most lightly regarded prospects have come in and performed on or above the level of some of the most highly ranked players in the country, and that two of these finds were uncovered by Bobby Jack Wright, who apparently could have been a world class archeologist.

The entire group of receivers, headed by Malcolm Kelly, is by far - the best ever gathered by this staff, and maybe in the history of Sooner football. Kelly has gotten some work with the varsity and they are all raving about his potential. Another freshman that many doubted is Aaron Cummings, (6-5 / 240 / 4.6), who has proven to be faster than expected, but is still a year away from action.

In the linebacker corp Ryan Reynolds is reportedly tough, athletic and as strong as an ox, while Curtis Lofton, (6-2 / 240 / 4.6), who may be the hardest worker in this group of over achievers, and New Jersey recruit Lamont Robinson, (6-2 / 220 / 4.6), are both definitely better athletes than the coaches thought last fall. Obviously, the coaches would like to red shirt all three, although someone from this trio will be most likely tapped to provide depth this fall as the linebacker position may be the thinnest position on the team in terms of experience. It would be a miracle if all three escape with a redshirt in tact by December.

Workouts under Jerry Schmidt are hard, and were not designed to make freshmen get a 'feel good' buzz about themselves. It would be easy to comment on those that have work to do, and there are a couple, but credit first must be given to them for showing up ready and willing to make the improvements necessary. All in all, this class will contribute to Sooner success for several years to come.

On down the line - Defensive Front Four

Much to the chagrin of Trev Alberts and Company, with the return of Dusty Dvoracek, (6-3 / 302), this year's defensive front has a chance to be better than last year, as it now returns three players who had some starting experience last year: Dusty, Carl Pendleton and Larry Birdine.

Before we pass Dusty, remember that he came in with NFL Rookie of the year candidate Tommie Harris, and actually played as well or better on many occasions. (The Cotton Bowl vs Arkansas being one example). After sitting out the last 11 games last year, DD returned to the squad with a vengeance this spring, and was so disruptive that the coaches often had to remove him so that the offense could run a play. Not since Roy Williams dominated his final spring have we witnessed anything like it.

Coach Schmidt said last week: "I can't say enough good things about Dusty. Here is a guy who loves the game and who is a good person. When you think about the team you think about him because he is going to do everything right. He is always going to be early, he loves his teammates, loves the game, loves playing for OU, and he always plays hard. Those guys are hard to find, especially at that position who weighs 300 or 305.

"He had to sit out last year. He could have taken the year off and had a bad attitude because of what happened to him, but he didn't. Instead, he took the approach that he was going to come back to football and come back in the best shape that he has ever been in, and he did that."

"Dusty is going to be better than he has ever been, as far as movement wise. He struggled before he sat out a little bit with conditioning but now he is so much more mature, and he is just a better athlete and a better person because of what happened to him and what he went through."

Dvoracek reports that his bicep, repaired with surgery several months ago, is coming along fine. When asked if it will heal in time, he strongly implied that he intends to play 'a bunch' vs TCU and Tulsa, and has his mind set on starting the UCLA game. (No one stepped up to challenge the comment).

Remi Ayodele, (6-3 / 299), will back Dusty, but could easily move to the other side and start. Either way, have a fight on his hands as two freshmen have shown they may be in the mix as well. DeMarcus Granger, (6-2 / 320), last year's top rated DT, resumed full drills this week after being withheld from running due to a medical problem that was taken care of in June. While partially sidelined, Granger continued to lift and perform the other workouts and may recover in time to make an impact in two a days.

Another surprise has been Brian Simmons (6-5 / 290), who reported in better shape and is stronger than expected. At this point, Granger or Simmons also could play either tackle position, although Granger is expected to start out behind Dvoracek.

On the other side Carl Pendleton, (6-6 / 277), started almost every game a year ago and should continue to do so. (As with Ayodele, two-a days will determine the final positions, and either could move). Carl says he hopes to play at 282 - 285 this season, up almost 20 pounds over last year. "All I do is eat," he said. Jerry Schmidt agreed that Pendleton, currently at 277 pounds of solid muscle, will meet that goal. "If he says it, it's good. I don't worry about Carl," Schmidt added.

Pushing Pendleton is fellow sophomore Steven Coleman, (6-5 / 295), who could easily be tabbed the most pleasant surprise along the front four. All that kept Cory Bennett, (6-3 / 275), out last year as a true freshman was lack of size. Now that it's improved, Bennett could show a 'Dusty' like disruptive presence along the line if needed.

Larry Birdine, (6-5 / 268) , never shy about expressing his opinion, says the DE's will surprise this year. "I know we lost two great players, but the guys we have are starting to come on. We're all a year older, stronger, and ready to show what we can do.

"I'll tell you that John Williams, (6'5 / 270), Sophomore is now a handful at 270." (Williams has suddenly come alive, much like LB Clint Ingram did last year at this time, after some had begun to mistake him for a mortuary corpse). "On the other end we have 'Thibs' (Calvin Thibodeaux, 6'1 / 250), back and C.J. Ah You behind him. Alonzo (Alonzo Dotson, 6'4 / 255), is getting better every day and I would not be shocked to see him in there a bunch as well." Look for the Sooners to rotate four DE's and play two more.

If the season were to start this week, here's where we'd place the Sooner front four. (NOTE: Two-a-days will determine the prospects at either DT position, and there could be quite a bit of movement early on, and game by game depending on the opponents' offensive scheme).

Right Defensive End:

Larry Birdine, 6'4, 268, Jr, Lawton, Oklahoma
John Williams, 6'5, 270, So, Houston, Texas
Alan Davis, 6'2, 255, R/S Fr, Colleyville, Texas
Auston English, 6'3, 235, Fr. Canadian, Texas

Left Tackle (Nose):

Dusty Dvoracek, 6'3, 302, Sr, Lake Dallas, Texas
Carl Pendleton, 6'5, 285, So, Sapulpa, Oklahoma (or Ayodele)
Cory Bennett, 6'2, 275, R/S Fr, San Antonio, Texas
DeMarcus Granger, 6'2, 320, Fr, Dallas, Texas
Cordero Moore, 6'2, 282, Fr, Mesquite, Texas

Right Tackle:

Remi Ayodele, 6'2, 296, Sr. Grand Prairie, Texas (or Pendleton)
Steven Coleman, 6'4, 295, So, Dallas, Texas
Cory Bennett, 6'2, 275, R/S Fr, San Antonio, Texas
Brian Simmons, 6'5, 290, Fr, Raleigh, North Carolina
Billy Blackard, 6'3, 292, Fr. Claremore, Oklahoma

Left Defensive End:

Calvin Thibodeaux, 6'1, 250, Sr, Houston, Texas
C.J. Ah You, 6'4, 270, Jr. Highland, Utah
Alonzo Dotson, 6'4, 255, So, Alief, Texas
Laenar Nixon, 6'4, 242, Jr. Maimi, Florida
Brody Eldridge, 6'5, 240, Fr, La Cygne, Kansas

Recruiting - D-Line offers

July is a 'quiet month' with telephone contact from coaches to recruits disallowed, (however recruits may call coaches). Normally commitments are slow in July, but if you recall, July 19th last year is the day that Malcolm Kelly called to say he was a Sooner, Ben Barresi followed a few hours later and the flood gates were opened.

We do not expect the same rash of commitment this year - but there has been some subtle movement among the prospects, as most are trying to pare down their favorite list.

The biggest pledge his week, as we predicted last week, was Bart Eddins the nation's #2 DT, who choose family school Auburn. Replacing him on the Sooner wish list is NEO DT Jeremy Gibbs, (6'4 / 285 / 4.8) , who received his offer last week and is hoping to visit the OU campus in the next week or two. This former Stillwater High School star had become one of the top JUCO defensive tackle prospects in the country at NEO. Gibbs, who has been offered by Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, UAB and Iowa State, is still weighing all of his options.

"I really like a couple of schools," said Gibbs. "I like LSU, Tennessee and Kansas State, and I really like Oklahoma. I haven't been offered by all those schools, but they are recruiting me hard. Oklahoma has to be in my top three. There is just something about the atmosphere there, it is electrifying. They have to be in my top three."

We also added Adam Patterson, (6'3 / 260 / 4.6), Columbia, South Carolina to the OU list this week. Patterson is without question one of the top defensive line prospects in the country. He can run well enough to possibly play defensive end, but has the size of a defensive tackle.

Patterson has been offered by the likes of Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Clemson, Maryland, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Florida, Michigan, Penn State, Auburn and Oklahoma to name a few. "I plan to narrow my choices down to a top five in August," said Patterson. "I am still considering all of them at this point. This is going to be a tough decision for me."

OU's offer list along the defensive line - listed in order of signing possibility as of this date: (National position ranking 'NR' follows name, i.e. '17' = ranked as 17th best (at position), in nation; 'UR' = currently unranked).

Pryce Macon - (Top 30 DT) (6-1 / 261 / 4.7), Corpus Christi, TX. (Committed to Oklahoma)
Gerald McCoy - (2 DT) (6-4 / 280), OKC Southeast;
Chaz Washington - (Top 25 DT) (6-3 / 288) , Destrehan, LA;
Tim Johnson - (JC) (6'5 / 265 / 4.7), Northeastern A&M, OK;
Derek Burton - (Top 25) (6-3 / 250), Muskogee, OK;
Jeremy Gibbs, (JC DT) (6'4 / 285 / 4.8) , Northeastern A&M, OK;
Brandon Antwine - (14 DT) (6-2 / 270 / 4.8) , Garland, TX;
Louis Holmes - (JC) (6-6 / 270), Scottsdale, AZ;
Ugo Chinasa 13 DE) (6-5 / 230), Richardson, TX;
Jeff Miller - (UR DE) (6-6 / 235) Westlake Village, CA;
Greg Banks - (UR DE) (6-5 / 260 / 4.8) , Denver, CO;
Jermaine Cunningham - (14 DE) (6-4 / 220) Stone Mountain, GA;
Lamar Houston - (10 DT) (6-4 / 257 / 4.6), Colorado Springs, CO
Adam Patterson - (UR) (6'3 / 260 / 4.6), Columbia, South Carolina
Audie Augustine - (UR TE / DE), Ft. Lauderdale, FL;
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;

OU's Offensive Line Shopping List

Cincinnati (Ohio) offensive lineman Connor Smith says the Sooners should know something by August 1st. The schools that are still in there are Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Florida, with the first three slightly favored due to distance.

Elsewhere, OU did make the first cut on the nation's top OL, Andre Smith, from Birmingham, AL. Smith is ranked behind Myron Rolle as the #2 player in the country according to Scout.com. The nation's top offensive lineman lists 12 schools that he is still looking at, and it looks like an SEC convention: "I still don't have any favorites, but I have narrowed it down to twelve schools," said Smith. "They are Miami, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, LSU, Oklahoma, USC, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas. I will probably narrow it down a little bit more by the start of football season." At this point the Sooners are just hoping to get an official visit.

Of course around these parts, folks say the nation's top OL is Ian Symonette, of Houston. No one plays the recruiting game closer to the vest than Symonette, but OU apparently is among the finalists. "I am still considering all the schools. I just feel that it is still very early in the recruiting process for me. I am not ready to narrow anything down. Oklahoma is a great school and a great football program. I really like the academic system that they have in place and their football program is one of the best in the country. I really like how their school is set up. I will definitely take an official visit to Oklahoma."

Also trimming his list was Maurice Hurt of Milledgeville, GA. "My top five are Oklahoma, Auburn, Florida, LSU and I will probably say Mississippi State or Alabama … I'll say Mississippi State right now," he said. "They are my top five in no order." At least he mentions OU first.

Los Angeles offensive lineman Jovon Hayes, (6-2.5, 320, 5.3), is tired of waiting on USC and now says they are out of it. His current list of favorites include Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida, Arizona State, LSU, Miami and Oregon. All have offered except for the Trojans. "Arizona has got a slight edge on the other schools right now. And they're followed by Oklahoma and Florida."

"I went to Arizona's camp and they're just that one program that's recruiting me the hardest. They're also a little closer to home than some of those other programs. And they've got some great coaches there that are really loving me. They've all told me that I'm the best player that they've seen," he said. "Oklahoma has got a good program going and they're always a top five team every year. I really like coach (Kevin) Wilson (offensive line) from there. Plus, if I went there, I'd have a good chance at some early playing time because they're losing a lot of offensive linemen."

J.B. Walton of Indian Head (MD) has been high on the OU list for some time now. "I still have a group of 10-12 schools that I could choose from," he said. "Right now there is a smaller group ahead of the rest. Penn State, Tennessee, Georgia, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Florida, Florida State, Virginia Tech … those are at the top right now."

What would give OU fans hope? "They have a bunch of conference titles. That is another school where a lot of linemen come out and go to the league. They have a great running back right now, it would be fun just to block for him."

You get the feeling that Butch Lewis, (6-5 / 280 / 5.2), of Denver Regis Jesuit is not quite ready to get into the mix. "I don't have a top five, but a top seven or eight. Right now it is USC, Cal, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Michigan, Oklahoma, Georgia and Texas. Oklahoma is definitely one of the schools that is under consideration by me and my family. My list changes every once in a while, but for the most part it is consistent. Most of the schools I mentioned are on my list every time, except for Texas."

Regardless, the Sooners will take him if and when he's ready.

Daniel Wenger, (6-4 / 280), is among a trio of OL recruits from St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale this year, Others OU targets are Sam Young and Marcus Gilbert. "I'm pretty wide open right now, but some of the schools I'm looking hardest at are Florida, Purdue, Duke, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, and LSU," he said. "Those aren't the final ones and I don't even know which places I'll visit. But those are schools that I have a lot of interest in right now."

Matt Carufel, (St. Paul, MN), is certainly on the OL most wanted list, but OU must fight off half the Big 10 (11?) here to have a decent chance. "I am not really worried about recruiting. I have a lot of things to worry about with my own football team right now, and I am more focused on that. But I have plans to take official visits to Minnesota, Iowa and Notre Dame. I am trying to work it out to visit Notre Dame, USC, Iowa and Michigan."

How about Oklahoma? "Obviously, they are a great football team, but I feel I don't know too much about their school or anything like that. I am considering them along with a lot of schools for the final two visits. "

OU Offer List - Offensive Line

Cory Brandon - (16) (6-6 / 255, 5.1), Corsicana, TX; (Committed to Oklahoma)
Curtis Bailey - (Top 25), (6-6 / 350 / 5.6), Dallas Carter;
Ian Symonette - (3), (6-9 / 330), St. Pius X HS, Houston, TX;
Antonio Logan-El - (10) (6-6 / 320 / 5.2), Forestville, MD.
J. B. Walton - (Top 25) (6-3 / 270 / 5.1, Indian Head, MD;
Matt Allen - (UR) (6-3½, / 280 / 5.3), Klein (Collins), TX.
Maurice Hurt - (UR) (6'3½ / 340 / 5.7), Baldwin, GA;
Daniel Wenger - (Top 25) (6-4 / 285 / 5.3), Fort Lauderdale, FL;
Jovon Hayes - (Top 25) (6-2½ / 320 / 5.3), L.A. Dorsey, CA;
Connor Smith (5) (6-6, 300, 5.1), Cincinnati, OH;
Butch Lewis - (13) (6'6 / 280 / 4.8) , Denver (Regis Jesuit), CO;
Jim Barrie - (UR) (6-5 / 305), Tampa, FL;
Lee Tilley - (15) (6-5 / 321), Springfield, OH;
Matt Carufel - (9) (6-5 / 288) , Saint Paul, MN;
Steve Schilling (2) (6-5 / 290), Bellevue, WA;
Aaron Brown- (17) (6-6 / 283 / 5.1) OT Cincinnati, (Princeton), OH;
Cruz Barrett - (UR) (6-4 / 315), Daytona Beach, FL;
Marcus Gilbert - (UR) (6'6½, 285, 4.9), Fort Lauderdale, (St. Thomas Aquinas), FL;
Andre Smith (1) (6-4 / 315), Birmingham, AL;
Chase Beeler - (UR) (6-3 / 275), Jenks, OK; (should get a Sooner offer before the summer is over)
Doug Stroud, (6-7 / 345), Shreveport, (Evangel Christian LA); expected to get an OU offer.

OU Offer List - Running Back

With Michael Goodson pledging to the Cowpokes, the list did clear a bit. Interesting news from Texas this week says Sooner commit James Henry could be the answer, as he's expected to shoot up the charts now that the word is out on him. Henry has a great size/speed package - 6-2, 190, 4.5-speed, and the type of athleticism to write home about.

Henry is currently ranked as the 33rd best player in Texas, but one Texas scout said this week that he will move up and he could also be among the top three running backs in the Lone Start state. "He had close to 1,600 yards last year, just compare that to some of the backs that everyone is raving about and you'll understand what I mean."

We would consider a move to RB as improbable, knowing that OU would prefer to bring in a top ten back from this list.

Speaking of 'Top Ten' running backs, we expect the Super Prep - Scout Top 10 RB chart and the Receiver list to show the most change once the prep seasons gets under way. There is so little difference between the top rated players and ones ranked 11 or 12, that performance will determine a more accurate ranking this December.

Dead last on the 'what are our chances?' chart last week, but moving up the OU list this week was Los Angeles RB/DB Stafon Johnson, (6-0 / 200 / 4.4), who says he's narrowed his list of schools down to USC, California, Tennessee, Michigan, Florida, Miami and Oklahoma. "Out of that list the schools that are recruiting me the hardest are USC, Cal and Florida. I get a lot of letters and calls from all of these schools, but those three seem to do that more than the rest. I also get text messages and e-mails USC, Cal and Florida a lot too. They also are talking the most of what I want to hear more than the others and that's about early playing time," he said. "Location is not a factor for me either.

"I want to take this process slowly and take my official visits so I get all of this figured out. I have no idea when I'm going to commit to a program, but I know that it won't be until after the season at the earliest," he said.

The same five top of chart again this week, headed by DeMarco Murray, Chris Brown and Charles Scott.

Murray, the No. 8 running back and No. 40 player overall according to Scout.com, said he has narrowed his list of favorites down to six - Oklahoma, Miami (Fla), USC, Florida, Michigan and Texas A&M. "I'd say Oklahoma is a slight leader right now," he said. "Not by a whole lot but they are a little bit ahead, I'd say on a scale of 1-10 they are at ten, and the others are at eight or nine. Michigan is at nine." Murray added that the fact his former teammate Reynolds is now attending Oklahoma had no impact on his having the Sooners slightly ahead.

In 2004, DeMarco ran 139 times for 1,271 yards and 12 touchdowns. As a receiver, he caught 21 passes for 235 yards. Murray rushed for 1,395 yards (150 carries) and 17 touchdowns, despite only starting eight games. He also caught 12 passes for 297 yards and three scores.

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.

DeMarco Murray - (8) (6-0 / 180 / 4.5), Las Vegas (Gorman), NV;
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;
Stafon Johnson - (3) (6-0 /200 / 4.5), L.A. Dorsey, CA;
Knowshon Moreno - (10) (6-0 / 195 / 4.5), Middletown, NJ;
C.J. Gable - (6) (6-1 / 190 / 4.5), Sylmar, CA; (also a top DB)
Javarris James - (Top 25) (6-1 / 205 / 4.5), Immokalee, FL.
Mon Williams - (UR) (6-1 / 190 / 4.5), Mesquite, TX;

OU Offer List - Receiver

If you want to make OU coaches crazy, just mention the rankings of the top receivers nationally - and then get ready to run!

No where is there more disagreement between recruiters and guru rankings. One example is Jeremy Maclin, (6-0 / 175 / 4.5), who continues to climb up the OU list, and who Sooner some staff members think is as good as anyone nationwide. Maclin visited Oklahoma this week and has set the OU - TCU game September 3rd as his first official visit.

What were his impressions? "They just have so many great facilities there — they are unbelievable. They have everything somebody could imagine. I got a chance to meet Coach (Chuck) Long, Coach (Kevin) Wilson and Coach (Darrell) Wyatt, and they say I can play the same position as Mark Clayton. That is where I feel I can best fit in at." And who does Maclin favor at this point? "I would say Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Colorado, Michigan State, Illinois and Missouri are my top teams."

It was a long shot just three weeks ago, but Wesley Lyons, (6'6 / 205 / 4.5), is an example of how quickly things can change in a matter of weeks. At this point, he has been offered by 23 schools, and now OU is on his Top Three list with at least an honest chance. "I have a few favorites," said Lyons. "I like Miami, Ohio State and Oklahoma as my top three. Then you have West Virginia, Iowa, Louisville, Boston College, Wisconsin and Virginia is kind of in there as my next group."

"I really like Coach (Darrell) Wyatt at Oklahoma. He seems pretty cool. It seems like I talk to him every week. I really enjoy calling him. Coach Wyatt is the man, it seems like he is getting all his receivers to the next level. He had a first round draft choice last year and three wide receivers taken in the first three rounds." Lyons older brother plays at Ohio State and they may be the team to beat - as of today anyway.

Oakland, California TE Na Derris Ward has shuffled his list a bit too; "Georgia, Florida, Florida State, Washington, Oregon, Oklahoma, Arizona and Mississippi State is in there too. Georgia is still the leader. Just recruiting wise they've done an outstanding job of recruiting me," Ward said. "I think my coach set an official visit to Arizona on the 22nd of October. I'm for sure going to try and schedule Oklahoma and Georgia. I'm also looking at Florida State."

Visiting Oklahoma this week will be receivers Josh Marshall and Top Texas WR Adron Tennell. Marshall, son of former Texas A&M star 'Tank' Marshall, received his offer after a strong showing at OU's camp last month.

At present, here is OU's offer list at receiver - listed in order of signing possibility - as of this date:

Jermaine Gresham - (9 TE) (6-7 / 235 / 4.7), Ardmore, OK;
Terrell Reese - (13) (6-4 / 200 / 4.5), Pflugerville, TX;
Adron Tennell - (16) (6-5 / 195 / 4.5), Grand Prairie, TX;
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;
Wesley Lyons, (UR WR /DB) (6-5 / 205 / 4.5), Pittsburgh, (Woodland Hills), PA;
Damian Williams (19) (6-0 / 177 4.5), Springdale, AR;
Jonas Mouton (4 - S) (6-2 / 212 / 4.6), Los Angeles, CA;
Artrell Woods - (UR - WR / RB) (6-0 / 180), Bryan, TX;
Na Derris Ward - (3 TE) (6-5 / 245 / 4.8) Oakland, (McClymonds) CA;
Markeith Summers (UR) (6-4 / 190 / 4.6), Olive Branch, MS;
Richard Dickson - (UR TE / DE) (6-4 / 238 / 4.7), Ocean Springs, MS;
Tony Wilson - (14 CB) (6'0 / 175 / 4.45) Dayton, Fla.

Oklahoma's D-Back offer list

Los Angeles Crenshaw defensive back Darian Hagan Jr. (5-11, 170), the fourth-rated cornerback nationally by Scout.com, has seven scholarship offers from UCLA, Oklahoma, California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington State and Colorado, where his father led the Buffs to the 1990 National Championship and is a member of the CU coaching staff. He favors the Buffs, but will give the Sooners a chance.

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), TX; (Committed to Oklahoma)
Jonathan Nelson - (13 CB) (6'0 / 175 / 4.4), of Mansfield, TX; (Committed to Oklahoma)
Myron Rolle - (1 overall / 1 - S) (6-2 / 210 / 4.5), The Hun School, Princeton, NJ;
Perrish Cox - (5 CB) (6'0 / 175 / 4.4), Waco, Texas:
Terrance Anderson - (UR) (5-10 / 161), Houston, (Aldine Nimitz), TX;
Jai Eugene - (1 CB) (5-11 / 185 / 4.4), Destrehan, LA ;
Jashaad Gaines - (UR) (6'0, 198, 4.5), Las Vegas High, NV;
Darian Hagen - (4 CB) (6-1 / 186), L.A. CA;
Jonas Mouton (4 S) (6-2, 212, 4.6), L.A. CA;
C.J. Gable - (6 RB) RB / DB (6-1 / 190 / 4.5) - Sylmar, CA;
A.J. Wallace - (UR) (6-1 / 195), Pomfret, MD.
Reshad Jones - (13 - S) (6-2 / 177 / 4.5), Atlanta, (Washington), GA:
Devin Ross - (2 CB) RB / CB (5-11 / 180 / 4.4), Rancho Cucamonga, CA;

Linebackers - OU expected to take 3

OU believes #12 national ranking is a bit low for Shelby, N.C. linebacker Brandon Spikes, (6-4 / 230 / 4.6), and to prove it they made him one of their first LB offers. Spikes has reciprocated, and says OU is near the top of his list as well, but admits it's a very crowded field. "It is going to come down to tradition at linebacker and the trust with the coaches that are there. What opportunity is there is going to be important. I want a chance to play in the first year, and I will probably go there early. I want a good trust with the coaches there. I want to play for coaches that I can trust. Location doesn't make any difference for me. I will go anywhere."

"I like Coach (Brent) Venables a lot. I don't know want what it is about him, but I can tell you can trust him. He is also producing some of the best linebackers in the country. Oklahoma has been in the last two National Championship games, so they are winning. I can safely say that Oklahoma is going to be in my top five."

John Blake finally does the Sooners a favor when he recruits Rome, GA 'backer Toryan Smith, (6-1 / 230 / ). "My top schools are Oklahoma, LSU, Notre Dame and Florida," he said. Smith now has official visits set up to Oklahoma (Sep. 3) for its contest against Texas Christian, Notre Dame (Oct. 15) when it hosts arch-rival Southern California, and Michigan (Nov. 19) for the annual clash with Ohio State.

"I set my fourth visit up with Nebraska when they play Oklahoma," Smith admitted this week. Thanks John, those 56 on campus visits were getting a bit tight here. Nice of you to help us out.

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

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

Note: There is all kinds of rumors that LB Jarrell Miller of Richmond Highland Springs, Virginia has committed to Virginia Tech. However the family said this week that Miller was leaning to Virginia Tech or Maryland, but said they wouldn't call it a commitment. They said that he still plans to visit OU.

'And I really like the academics there . . . '

It's not a complete Weekend WrapUp without some irreverent remark or anecdote, so with that said . . .

Recruits often chose schools for all kinds of reasons, other than the right ones. The Sooners are not yet recruiting Angleton, Texas running back Keith Toston, but plenty of schools are. "I have offers from Oklahoma State, LSU, Arkansas, Missouri, K-State, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Wisconsin, UTEP and SMU," Toston said.

"That's all the ones I can think of right now." At this time, he doesn't have a favorite but did add that OSU was one of the schools at the top of his list - which isn't surprising, considering his selection criteria; "I would really like to play early".

But Totson's most troubling remark came when he was asked why K-State was high on his list; "They had a good running back and do a lot of the same one-back stuff we do in our offense, and I like the logos on their helmet."

You can bet that enterprising Bill Snyder will soon be sending a three foot power cat decal for the side of Toston's ride.

Hope he likes purple.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories