What can Brown do for you? . . .
It was Big 12 preview week again and four of us had an opportunity to witness firsthand the mood of the coaches on this 10th anniversary of the conference.
And after several years, we all know the questions when we hear the answers:
"They probably cost us a chance at two or three national championship runs."
That's right, Mack Brown on Oklahoma!
More from Mack: "I understand it means respect, nothing beyond that. I understand it opens you up for more criticism if you don't produce. None of that is important. Us winning all the games is. Our players won't even mention today they were picked to be No. 1."
That statement, along with this shocker, "Oklahoma has out recruited us the last three years. They now have more talent," gives you the distinct feeling that Mack may be laying a foundation for a plausible excuse if needed on October 8th.
Mack has so rehearsed the OU jinx question that we heard him quote it six times in seven different interviews.
"We're not the only team that's had trouble with them . . . "
Then Mack morphs into Texas spin with, "Over the last five years Miami, OU and Texas have the best records in college football and
"The first two we won, there was not much talk about OU. We lose and everybody talks about it all the time ……………………..."
"There's a different standard at Texas than there is a lot of places across the country," Brown said. "I've learned a whole lot about myself and this place. It's a really neat place if you can handle it."
That's a big 'if.'
Based on a polls released this week by the Big 12 , most media members who cover the league believe Texas has the best chance of any conference team to win all of its games in 2005. In the league-wide survey, which dealt only with divisional winners, Texas received 40 of 50 votes to unseat Oklahoma as the Division champion.
The results amused several parties, especially when you consider Oklahoma is the defending league champion and has represented the South in four of the past five Big 12 title games.
"I don't see why Oklahoma wouldn't win again. Every year they say, 'This is the year Texas beats them.' But Oklahoma finds a way to win the game. I'd have to go with Oklahoma again," said All-Big 12 defensive end Nick Leaders from Iowa State, who believes the Sooners' five-game winning streak in the Red River Rivalry should command more respect.
Stoops agrees with Leaders and put everyone on notice that the 'Horns may be picked first on paper, but the real Big Red was in no mood to surrender the throne without a street fight.
"Really, our expectations will not change," Stoops said.
Reason for sunshine . . .
Texas' hopes are built on the ‘new' improved Vincent Young,' (Mack says "he's "the same VY he saw in high school" which is reassuring with identity theft on the rise), and offers the last second victory in the Rose Bowl over a good but not great Michigan team as reason to expect a Longhorn ascension to the throne.
As for the Rose Bowl, OU coaches at the time were amazed by the defensive alignment of Michigan, whose linebackers continually turned and chased receivers, leaving Vince Young huge chunks of inside real estate. You can bet that the Sooners will not use THAT defense.
"We couldn't believe it when we saw Michigan play Texas on television," one OU player said. "We were all yelling, 'look at that alignment!' With Texas, you have to disguise your coverage and your blitzes or Vince will cut you to pieces. It's like they never figured it out."
Even with the 'dog head' defensive game plan provided by Michigan, Texas needed a last second field goal to eek out a convincing one point victory.
Reasons for Concerns . . .
Other than history, which indicates that Mack Brown is incapable of winning a conference crown at any school under any circumstance, there are a few chinks in the Longhorn armour. Mack admitted that the ‘Horns had problems at linebacker and in the kicking game and questions at tailback, all three areas will have to improve if they are to have the season that die-hards are expecting.
On missing Cedric Benson.
"Cedric was our call on third-and-short, short-yardage goal-line situations. I never had a better back that could get guaranteed two to three yards when needed. Our offense will change this year and the call in those situations will be Vince Young."
On Derrick Johnson
"We'll miss DJ as much as anyone player I can think of. He made dramatic, momentum changing, game-changing plays. We have no one like that this year."
Here's our perceptions of the twelve teams based on what we saw this week in Houston.
Oklahoma – Younger, faster, different, but maybe just as good.
Texas – Horns could get it done if...Oklahoma lines up in Michigan's defense.
Colorado – This team may be better than we thought. A mature Klatt at QB and Barnett make the difference.
Texas Tech – Cal win is providing confidence and national attention, but there are depth issues.
Iowa State – Most underrated QB Bret Meyer is a rising star. ISU could go to Houston, but will need some luck.
Nebraska – Callahan's team is better, but still at least a year away from Husker Power.
A&M – Most overrated team. Reggie McNeal is a great talent, but inconsistent. Can beat anyone at Kyle. Lose to anyone away.
Missouri – If Brad Smith is the old Brad Smith – make the Tigers contenders. If not, potential cellar bums.
OSU – Gundy talks a big game but problems are on the horizon. Gambling wide open schemes will result in a few upsets, both ways.
Kansas – Scary, bigger, faster, but probably not good enough to challenge.
K-State – Bill Snyder still shell-shocked over last year. No answers outside of JC 'roulette.'
Baylor – Maybe they can get another Big 12 win this year. But where?
Big 12 Bowl Biz
The Big 12 finally did something about the dismal bowl tie-ins. The conference previously had one New Year's Day bowl berth (the Cotton Bowl) outside of the BCS, but now has gained a second one, and in the advantageous Florida recruiting market no less with the Gator Bowl.
In a unique four-year deal, the Gator and Sun will share the Big 12's No. 4 pick and the Big East's No. 2 pick (which can include Notre Dame) with each conference going to each destination two of the four years. The conference assured itself a spot in the beefed-up Insight Bowl, which will match-up the Big 10 and Big 12's No. 6 teams in a coveted time slot on or near New Year's Eve. All told, the changes netted about a $2 million increase in total payouts.
Recruiting - Sooners Catching On
OU receivers coach Darrell Waytt had to have been torn last week. Just as he was packing to go to New York for a much anticipated family vacation, Wyatt received word that one of the top three receivers on OU's chart wanted to visit this week, while Wyatt was scheduled to be in Manhattan.
Irving's Adron Tennell, generally ranked as the Top WR in the Lone Star State and currently ranked as the 13th-best player in the state of Texas on the most recent Scout.com Texas Hot 100 list, has been coveted by the Sooners for some time. But Wyatt had promised his children a trip, including a Lion King showing on Broadway.
Wyatt simply had to go. Brent Venables, who unfortunately had tragedy strike his family this week, took over the task and hosted Adron. Apparently, things worked out as Wyatt received a call from Tennell about 5:00 p.m. Thursday night saying he was casting his lot in Norman.
"He's a real special person," Tennell said of Venables. "I've been recruited by coach Wyatt and Coach Venables, and they're all great guys. That's why I'm committing. And Coach Stoops is a great man. It's going to be fun to play for him."
"I think Oklahoma is a great football program, and on the visit we saw that firsthand," said Tennell, who chose the Sooners over Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Tennell admits that he had been giving the Sooners strong consideration, but had not really considered committing this early, "I was thinking about it a little bit, but I didn't anticipate committing. But when I got up there I just liked everything about it, and about halfway through my visit I knew that I was going to commit."
As we told you in May, Tennell and OU recruit Terrell Reese, (6-4, 200, 4.5), Pflugerville, Texas, were the receiver standouts at the Waco combine, and most people consider these the two best in Texas. Tennell is ranked as the nation's 16th-best receiver, while Reese checks in at No. 13. However, the OU coaches apparently have huge disagreements with those rankings, and would certainly include OU targets Jeremy Maclin, (6-0, 180, 4.4), and Brandon Caleb (UR) (6-1, 195, 4.5), among the top 10 along with Adron and Terrell. If OU was to get one or two more from this group they would be ecstatic, and set for a long time.
The news of Tennell's commitment makes the fact that Fred Strong did not earn the required grade and will be ineligible this fall more bearable. And as we reported, Tristen Ross could also see a similar fate if he does not comply with a more dedicated game plan. The Brent Rawls saga should have made it clear that Stoops and Co. will simply not allow talented student athletes to become solely focused on the field and ignore their academic work.
Finishing up a visit to Norman Friday was wide receiver Josh Marshall of Arlington, Texas. The OU coaches saw Josh up close at their camp in June and love the way Marshall catches everything thrown his way. He has the uncanny ability to separate just before the ball gets to the target, causing frustration for DB's.
About his OU visit: "I thought it was great. I liked my conversation with Coach Stoops. That went really well. We toured around and talked to the academic people, then we met the strength and conditioning coach and he told us how he does things and that was interesting. Then we watched some film and that was it."
Marshall says he's close to a decision and will announce after a visit to Texas next week. At this time Marshall says, "I would say there is a good chance I will sign with OU."
Now the BIG news . . .
Two weeks ago we told you that "Oklahoma may be adding another Top 100 National prospect to their shopping cart in the next month." As expected, OU did indeed offer Columbus, Ohio five-star Jeff Cumberland this week.
Cumberland (6-4.5, 221, 4.47) is one of the most impressive athletes in the nation, and could be the top tight end, wide receiver, defensive end or linebacker. He's that good. Scout currently has Cumberland as the nation's No. 4 ranked wide receiver, primarily because they do knot know where exactly to place the all-around athlete.
Oklahoma likes Jeff wherever he wants to play, but would love him at any of the positions listed. The biggest mystery with Cumberland is that he was relatively unknown a few months ago. However, all of that changed when he had a breakout day at the Scout.com combine in Akron in May, running a 4.47 40 and a 4.28 shuttle at 6-5, 224 pounds on what was considered a slow surface.
The good news for the Sooners is that last month OU was still in his top five, even though they little idea of who he was and had not offered. Cumberland said a few weeks ago that his top five are: Miami, USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Minnesota. It's a minor miracle that he held on for the Oklahoma offer, as his choices are now just starting to pile up.
This is probably this year's best example yet of the danger of early offers. We say every year that for a variety of reasons, many of the best prospects are not uncovered until summer. What if OU had already filled their boat?
Chances are that the Sooners will not land Cumberland because of geography and the fact that all the top programs in the country have now sniffed blood on this one. It may, or may not be, too late. However, the Sooners are in the hunt and we'll see how this one develops. Cumberland could be one of the biggest recruiting stories of the year if he plays as expected this fall.
Linebackers & Defensive Backs - Looking Ahead
Last week we focused on what the defensive line would look like this fall, this week we'll take a look at the guys that play behind them at linebacker and in the defensive backfield.
Senior Clint Ingram was another question mark this time last year. But with Ingram at linebacker, the three projected starters are: Weakside - junior Rufus Alexander; Strongside - Clint Ingram, and in the Middle - junior Zach Latimer.
A year ago the big question was 'can Rufus Alexander return from his knee injury and dominate like he did at the end of spring (2003) his freshman year?' That question was pretty well answered last year as cheers of 'Rooooooooooo' resonated off of the upper decks during home games. Rufus was third on the team with 74 tackles and made AP Second Team All-Conference in a conference known for supplying a steady stream of Butkus Award candidates every year.
Ingram recorded 50 tackles last year, and everyone recalls his forced fumble against Texas that was a momentum killer for the 'Horns. Clint followed that up by experiencing the most impressive spring as anyone on the team. If he plays at the level he did this spring, Ingram will star. Normally, the SLB comes off the field in almost certain passing situations, but Ingram excels in coverage skills and could remain on the field most of the time.
It seems that we've been waiting to see Parade All American Zach Latimer gain weight and play since his arrival from Denver's Gateway High School in 2002. Latimer is still much lighter, and much faster, than the prototype middle linebacker. Perhaps he saved his best game for the Big 12 Championship showdown vs Colorado where he had a game-high four tackles, all spectacular. Now a senior, Latimer is out to prove that he can be among the best at Oklahoma.
It's no secret that Oklahoma became very thin at linebacker with the graduation of last year's class, and LB was a critical need in recruiting last year. With that in mind, perhaps the most valuable linebacker this year will be sophomore Demarrio Pleasant.
OU coaches would like to preserve the redshirt of all of their outstanding freshmen, but to do so Pleasant would have to be prepared to back up all three line backing positions. That just may occur, as he has the talent, skill and knowledge to do just that. Obviously, any injury would immediately change that situation, but it could be that the freshmen are not called into action due to Pleasant's ability to back up anywhere.
OK, which of the freshmen are the most ready to play? Probably none, but maybe all. Lamont Robinson, Curtis Lofton, Ryan Reynolds all could be future Butkus winners. The early line here is that, if pressed, Lofton could be the first off the bench, but coaches are also cognizant of the extreme athleticism of Reynolds and Robinson. It's too close to call at this point and we'll look for one to emerge in two-a-days, although the coaches hope than neither are forced to play this year.
Nowhere are there more questions, and perhaps more available young talent, than in the 2005 Sooner defensive backfield. Although OU returns four players with starting experience, Bassey, Onyenegetcha and Walker, all the positions appear to be somewhat open as there are no sure things.
It's no secret that Bob Stoops, Brent Venables and Bobby Jack Wright spent three days in Tucson following spring ball in mid-April trying to re-install and return to the Stoops-Venables system and away from the one-year coverage schemes installed by Bo Pelini.
Because of this fact, we may have to reconsider everything we saw in spring, and possibly be willing to look at the same players in completely new roles and positions. Obviously, the 29 practices in two-a-days, as well as the first two ball games, will re-establish the secondary, but it's just too early to tell exactly who will play where at this point.
OU lost Antonio Perkins at CB, but return three corners with at least some starting experience. If all three stay at CB we see Bassey and Onyenegetcha locked in a battle at boundary CB with D.J. Wolfe and newcomer Brian Jackson pushing them.
On the wideside, we predict Marcus Walker and Eric Bassey to have the inside track to start with Jowahn Poteat filling in as a capable backup.
The wild card in the secondary is Edmond freshman Reggie Smith, who literally could play any of the four positions. Because the coaches would prefer he play CB, (as it gives him the best chance to play early), that's where we'll place him. But it would surprise no one to see Reggie start anywhere, and after a short time to play well beyond his youth.
The Sooners return no starters at either Safety spot, but it may not matter with the talented group on hand.
We'll begin with sophomore Darien Williams at FS. Williams had a great spring as elevated himself during those practices. You know he has to have impressed as he's still listed as a slight leader over Tony Cade, the human headhunter. Freshmen Keenan Clayton will probably back here, along with RS Freshman Brett Bowers.
At strong safety, Jason Carter has the experience to gain the starting spot but must hold off sophomore Lewis Baker and newcomer Allen Patrick. Patrick continues to work on one final class before his release form junior college, but everyone expects him to have no trouble doing so. He has already spent a couple of days in Norman working out with the team before returning to care of the last minute details.
Almost as puzzling as Reggie Smith is where to play another true freshman, Nic Harris. Harris could play SS, 'Roy' or in time, even linebacker. We'll start him out at SS and see what happens. But a talent like Harris causes Stoops to lose a few hours trying new gimmicks and blitzes in his head at night.
If the season were to start this week, here's where we'd place the Sooners at linebacker and defensive back. NOTE: Two-a-days will determine the prospects at the back-up LB positions and most likely all the defensive backfield positions. We expect quite a bit of movement early on and game-by-game depending on the opponents' offensive scheme
Rufus Alexander, 6'1, 232, Jr, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Ryan Reynolds, 6'2, 234, Fr, Las Vegas, Nevada
Ian Pleasant, 5'11, 215, Alexandria, Virginia
Zach Latimer, 6'2, 241, Jr, Denver, Colorado
Curtis Lofton, 6'2, 230, Fr, McAlester, Oklahoma
Ryan McGrath, 5'11, 222, Fr, Muskogee, Oklahoma
Clint Ingram, 6'1, 244, Sr, Hallsville, Texas
Demarrio Pleasant, 6'2, 241, So, Lewisville, Texas
Lamont Robinson, 6'2, 235, Fr, Salem, New Jersey
Eric Bassey, 6'1, 203, Sr, Garland, Texas
Chijioke Onyenegecha, 6'1, 210, Sr, Richmond, California
D.J. Wolfe, 5'11, 200, So, Lawton, Oklahoma
Brian Jackson, 6'2, 207, Fr, DeSoto, Texas
Marcus Walker, 5'10, 197, So, Waco, Texas
Eric Bassey, 6'1, 203, Sr, Garland, Texas
Jowahn Poteat, 5'11, 198, Sr, Ardmore, Oklahoma
Reggie Smith, 6'1, 191, Fr, Edmond, Oklahoma
Darien Williams, 5'11, 200, So, Mesquite, Texas
Tony Cade, 6'1, 208, So, Lewisville, Texas
Keenan Clayton, 6'2, 210, Fr, Sulpher Springs, Texas
Bret Bowers, 5'11, 194, Rd Fr, Jacksonville, Florida
Jason Carter, 5'10, 202, Jr. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Lewis Baker, 6'2, 205, So, Carrollton, Texas or
Allen Patrick, 6'1, 209, So, Conway, South Carolina
Nic Harris, 6'3, 215, Fr, Alexandria, Louisiana
OU Offer List - Receiver
Tennell eased a lot of pressure off of Oklahoma and at the same time may have put more on other national receivers that OU is courting. With OU expected to take 3 or 4 receivers, there simply is not room for everyone, and with one more commitment suddenly someone could feel like they're in a game of musical chairs before the summer is out.
Early in the week Damon McDaniel, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound wide receiver from Virginia Tech (Va.) Landstown, narrowed things down with his favorite schools and begun to schedule official visits. "He's set up visits September 2nd at Oklahoma, September 16th to Florida with Percy [Harvin], September 23rd at LSU," said Landstown High School head football coach Chris Beatty. "He also has September 20th to Virginia Tech, but that isn't completely set right now. He's looking at visiting Miami or Florida State, and Ohio State is in the picture, too."
One sure OU target is Missouri wide receiver/cornerback Jeremy Maclin, (6-0, 175, 4.5), who visited OU last weekend and came away with very positive thoughts: "They seem to be really interested in me and they send me a lot of stuff in the mail and I talk with the coaches there like every two days. They've got some unbelievable facilities there and I like the coaching staff and the players. I got to get a good feel of Norman (Okla.) when I was there. Everybody there knows everybody and it's such a friendly good family environment. The fans there really love their football too," he said. "I'd like to take all five of my official visits and commit to a program in the early part of the season," he said.
Oklahoma and Springdale, AR wide receiver Damian Williams have apparently parted company as the Sooners did not make his final five this week. However if the Sooners land the top three or four on the following list they'd be very pleased - as these have been targets since day one. The addition of Jeff Cumberland does complicate things, but in a good way as he can literally be your headliner at any of his four positions. And the Sooners remain a possibility for Wesley Lyons as well.
At present, here is OU's offer list at receiver - listed in order of signing possibility - as of this date:
Adron Tennell - (16) (6-4 / 180 / 4.5), Irving, TX; (Committed to Oklahoma)
Jermaine Gresham - (9 TE) (6-7 / 235 / 4.7), Ardmore, OK;
Terrell Reese - (13) (6-4 / 200 / 4.5), Pflugerville, TX;
Jeremy Maclin - (UR) (6-0 / 180 / 4.4), Kirkwood, MO;
Brandon Caleb (UR) (6-1 / 195 / 4.5), Atlanta, GA;
Josh Marshall (UR TE/WR) (6-3.5 / 210 / 4.6) Arlington, (Martin), TX.
Jeff Cumberland (4 - WR TE / DE/ LB) (6-4.5 / 221 / 4.47), Columbus, Brookhaven, OH;
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;
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.
Recruiting - D-Line offers
Jeremy Gibbs, (6'4, 285, 4.8) , of NEO was all the talk at DT this week. It may disgust Robert Allen, but Gibbs says both OU and Tennessee are ahead of the hometown Cowboys.
Gibbs told James Hale earlier today that he had several great offers: "Oklahoma, Tennessee, OSU, KSU, LSU and Iowa State. OU is number one, Tennessee two and OSU is my three team," Gibbs said. "I like OU because of their winning tradition Year in, year out they compete for a national championship. Tennessee is another great tradition, huge stadium, another great conference, and I think OSU is going to impress people next year. I expect to make a decision before August 10."
It's our hunch that OU leads solidly on Gibbs and on teammate Tim Johnson as well, as they have formed a bond with NEO teammate and OU commitment Chris Patterson, who may be JC football's most dominant LB this year, but will certainly be it's fastest.
Gibbs talked about Chris Patterson and said they have nicknamed him 'Sunday.' He's unbelievable talent, no doubt he'll play on Sunday's. OU's getting one of the best in the country," Gibbs said.
He also said that he and Johnson have talked a little about going to the same school, but in our mind his most telling statement was, "Everybody wants to play around the best." (Of course we're biased, but around these parts that could only mean one school).
If OU were to get Johnson and Gibbs, it would be one happy day.
Richardson (Texas) defensive end Ugo Chinasa still says LSU leads slightly over Oklahoma, Texas, A&M and Oklahoma State. "LSU still has the edge on the other schools in my top five," said Chinasa earlier this week. "I'm going to set up my official visits to schools in either August or September. Right now, it looks like I'm going to go to LSU, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M for officials," he said. "I'm in contact with the coaches at both Texas and Oklahoma all the time as well. They're still right behind LSU as my other favorites."
Scottsdale Community College defensive end Louis Holmes is another big name on the JUCO recruiting circuit this year. He has offers from nearly 20 schools that range from Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee to Southern Cal. This may be another Stoops brothers shootout - as Homes is very serious about Arizona as well. Holmes is not set to decide on his college choice for some time, most likely until at least November.
OL / DL Jared Odrick is one of the best players in the Keystone State for the class of '06 and the big man out of Lebanon has been hanging on the edge of the Sooner radar screen for the past month. Geography makes this one a long shot, but Odrick is well worth the suspense.
"Georgia has always been near the top but Virginia Tech moved up. I liked Auburn but I'm not sure they're in my top 7. Right now I like Florida, Penn State, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Oklahoma and Minnesota."
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;
Jeremy Gibbs, (JC DT) (6'4 / 285 / 4.8) , Northeastern A&M, OK;
Chaz Washington - (Top 25 DT) (6-3 / 288) , Destrehan, LA;
Tim Johnson - (JC DE) (6'5 / 265 / 4.7), Northeastern A&M, OK;
Derek Burton - (Top 25) (6-3 / 250), Muskogee, OK;
Ugo Chinasa (13 DE) (6-5 / 230), Richardson, TX;
Brandon Antwine - (14 DT) (6-2 / 270 / 4.8) , Garland, TX;
Louis Holmes - (JC) (6-6 / 270), Scottsdale, AZ;
Jeff Miller - (UR DE) (6-6 / 235) Westlake Village, CA;
Greg Banks - (UR DE) (6-5 / 260 / 4.8) , Denver, CO;
Jared Odrick (19 OL / DL) (6'6, 290, 4.9), Lebanon, Pa (also listed at OL)
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;
Josh Minton - (10 DE) (6-4 / 247) Pulaski Co, KY;
OU Offer List - Offensive Line
After an early commitment to Maryland, Forestville (Md.) offensive lineman Antonio-Logan El (6-6, 320, 5.2) came to a decision a few months ago, he decided to look around. Penn State is among a group of schools that Logan-El is interested in; he will soon visit University Park on July 29th. "I'm probably going to set-up an official visit with them while I'm there."
Logan-El has set prior visits to Oklahoma and Florida as well. "I' going to Oklahoma on September 2nd," (vs TCU), he said. "I'm going to Florida a week or two after that, I'm not sure on the date right now. I'm not sure if I'm taking all five visits I may take four." "I have 33 offers right now," Logan-El said. "I'd say Maryland, Oklahoma, Florida, Penn State, and Virginia are on top," Logan-El said. ‘I do have some interest in Tennessee, Boston College, and Illinois as well." Logan-El currently checks in on the National Top 100 as the No. 37 ranked player in the nation, and he is the No. 10 ranked offensive linemen.
Springfield (Ohio.) South offensive lineman Lee Tilley is currently also keeps OU and Kevin Wilson on his list and has set his first two official visits: "On October 1st I'm going to Oklahoma, (vs KSU), and on October 8th I'm going to Arizona State," Tilley said. "I have to make the official plans with Arizona State, but as of right now thats my plan."
Marcus Gilbert the 6-6, 280-pounder from Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas teams up with Sam Young and Daniel Wenger on an offensive line that will totally dominate opponents in the fall. Their ability to pass block and pound defensive lines to open up the running game is one of the chief reasons Aquinas is likely to start the season ranked in the top ten in all the national high school polls.
Young is considered one of the three best offensive tackles in the country and Wenger is considered the best center prospect. Gilbert ranks among the best on both sides of the ball. He's collected plenty of offers but from those courting him, he's selected eight favorites. "Miami, LSU, Florida, South Carolina, NC State, Oklahoma, Florida State, and Auburn are my favorites," Gilbert said. On Oklahoma; "I like their coaches. I know a lot about Oklahoma, and I like their program, too." He also won't take his recruitment lightly. He wants to be the best football player he can be now, in college and then further. He lists just a couple of things that he thinks will ensure that progress and what he wants in his college choice. "I will look for how the coaches work with (me) and how I can establish myself playing there," he said.
OU's shopping list along the OL:
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.
Lee Tilley - (15) (6-5 / 321), Springfield, OH;
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;
Marcus Gilbert - (UR) (6'6½, 285, 4.9), Fort Lauderdale, (St. Thomas Aquinas), FL;
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;
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;
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
Running back LeSean McCoy from Harrisburg (Pa.) McDevitt High School is one of the top prospects in the country. He plans on taking his time with the recruiting process and has not scheduled any official visits at this time. "I'm going to take a couple un-officials in the next couple weeks – to Ohio State and Tennessee – but I haven't scheduled any officials," McCoy said this week. As a junior in 2004, the 6-0, 208-pound McCoy rushed for 2,800 yards (9.4 per carry) and 33 touchdowns.
He says he is considering a wide range of schools. "I'm wide open right now," he said. "I don't really have any favorites. I'm just kind of seeing what's out there and I'm keeping all my options open."
The OU offer list at running back, remains exactly the same as last week: It is listed below, again, 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;
D-Back offer list - OU expected to take 4 - 5
Los Angeles safety Jonas Mouton (6-2, 212, 4.6) still favors Michigan, Nebraska, LSU, Arizona, Oregon, USC and Oklahoma. "I've really already got my top four in my mind, but I'm not totally sure yet, so I'm not ready to let it out. I'll be ready to go public with that no later than September. I've set up official visits already to both Michigan (9/10) and Nebraska (9/3)."
A.J. Wallace is one of the top two-way players from the state of Maryland. Wallace, 6-1 and 195 pounds, stars at running back and cornerback from Pomfret (Md.). "Most schools want me to play corner," said Wallace. "Some schools like me as a wide receiver and running back. For me it doesn't matter. I just want to play." On 169 carries as a junior Wallace rushed for 1,367 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also added 12 receptions for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Wallace picked off three passes and deflected 17 others, while also racking up 65 tackles. He also had three punt return scores. His favorites at the moment are: Nebraska; Ohio State; Florida Sate; Florida; Miami, LSU and Oklahoma.
California running back/defensive back C.J. Gable (6-1, 190, 4.5) this week said his top five schools are Miami (no offer), USC, LSU, Florida (no offer) and Oklahoma.
"Everybody in that list is still even for me," said Gable, from Sylmar High School. "I think the coaches at Miami and Florida want to see my grades come up before they offer. I'm not in any summer school classes right now, except for the class I'm taking in Spanish at a local community college. Those credits are going to count for college."
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;
C.J. Gable - (6 RB) RB / DB (6-1 / 190 / 4.5) - Sylmar, CA;
A.J. Wallace - (UR) (6-1 / 195), Pomfret, MD;
Darian Hagen - (4 CB) (6-1 / 186), L.A. CA;
Reshad Jones - (13 - S) (6-2 / 177 / 4.5), Atlanta, (Washington), GA;
Jonas Mouton (4 S) (6-2, 212, 4.6), L.A. CA;
Devin Ross - (2 CB) RB / CB (5-11 / 180 / 4.4), Rancho Cucamonga, CA;
Linebackers - OU expected to take 3
Five-star prospect (#4 LB) Joshua Tatum has some of the finest institutions after him for one overall reason: he's just that good. As promised - Tatum recently sat down and made up a new Top 8: USC, California, Miami, Tennessee, Michigan, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Oregon hold the edge for Tatum at this time. He reports that he is finished with the summer recruiting trail and is focused more on upcoming seasonal official visits. He is currently setting up a date with Oklahoma and would like to visit Miami, Tennessee, Miami and Michigan officially as well.
Near the top of OU's linebacker list sits Anthony Lewis from Haltom City (Texas). Lewis is trying to improve himself and the team through their conditioning workouts that are being held by the other members of the team. "I want to work on my quickness. I'm not slow, but I want to improve my 4.6 40 time. Schools are looking at me as an inside or an outside linebacker."
This summer has been busy and Lewis wasn't able to get to many camps or combines, "I went down to see Texas A&M for their one day camp. I had been there a couple of times before. I went to see Florida as well. It was hot there." Not getting to camps hasn't hurt Lewis. The 6-foot-2.5 and 225 pound linebacker had his play last season to stand behind. Lewis had 110 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 2 INTs his junior season. "I am up to around 30 offers. I have thought about my official visits, but I haven't set any up."
Distance appears to be an issue for Lewis, but the issue is easily soothed over considering the ease of travel for him and his family. "Distance is a big thing for me. Florida isn't too far away for me though. My parents both work for airlines so it's easy for them to get there to see me play."
Morrice Richardson is a quick defensive end - linebacker prospect that spent the summer looking at some of his favorite schools, and he is going to take a look at another favorite this weekend. "I'm going to Florida this weekend," said Richardson. "I camped at Auburn and Alabama back in June. I also visited Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, and LSU over the summer. I went to Oklahoma about two weeks ago and met with Coach Venables. We watched film, and he showed me around."
Have the official visits helped Richardson narrow down his list of favorites? "I'm still wide open. I haven't ruled out any school yet. If I had to pick some favorites right now though, I guess I'd say Georgia Tech, Florida, LSU, and Oklahoma. That would be my list if I had to pick today."
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;
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), Maryland.
Jarrell Miller (9) (6-3 / 235), Highland Springs, VA;
Marcus Ball (7) (6-0 / 208 / 4.4), from Stone Mountain, GA.
Bo Harris - (18) (6-2 / 210 / 4.65); Conyers, GA;
2005 OU Pre-Season Practice Schedule
(subject to change)
Aug. 3 – Players report
Aug. 4 – Practice at 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 5 – Meet the Sooners at 10:30 a.m., practice at 5:30 p
Aug. 6 – Practice at 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 7 – Practice at 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 8 – Scrimmage at 5:30 p.m. (stadium)
Aug. 9 – Practice at 7:45 a.m., practice at 6 p.m.
Aug. 10 – Practice at 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 11 -- Practice at 7:45 a.m., practice at 6 p.m.
Aug. 12 – Scrimmage at 5:30 p.m. (stadium)
Aug. 13 – Off
Aug. 14 – Practice at 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 15 -- Practice at 7:45 a.m., practice at 6 p.m.
Aug. 16 – Practice at 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 17 – Scrimmage at 5:30 p.m. (stadium)
Aug. 18 – Off
Aug. 19 -- Practice at 7:45 a.m., practice at 6 p.m.
Aug. 20 – Practice 9:30-11 a.m. (last open practice)
Aug. 21 – Off
Aug. 22 – First day of class
Sept. 3 – Season opener vs. TCU
* All practices at the Rugby Fields near Lloyd Noble Center unless otherwise noted.
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