Count down to Kickoff . . .
Finally...for Sooner football fans the end of summer begins this Wednesday, August 3, when players officially report for fall camp and what was once known a two-a days. Although, OU will have two sessions on only four days this year (Aug 9, 11, 15 and 19). Astute fans should circle one sick day now, as the Sooners will hold their first preseason scrimmage on Monday, August 8 in the stadium, with play beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Boys of Summer . . .
Jerry Schmidt actually assumes the position of head coach over the June and July workouts, and he has said that this may be the best overall summer session so far.
"A lot of our guys really made some good progress, and at the same time have shown up as leaders. Offensively, you have to look at Davin Joseph, who has taken control of his group in a good way. He is always positive and is always talking. But that is OK, because he is also going to walk the walk. He is always the first guy in the room and the last one to leave. His guys respond to him."
"Travis Wilson has also done a great job. He's a guy who has made a lot of plays for us, who works hard and is probably the biggest receiver we have ever had here. If Travis had come out for the draft, he would have been right up there with some of those other guys. He had a million guys looking at him just because of his great athletic talent. He's back with a chance to improve his stock even more this year."
"On defense, you look at Rufus Alexander and Clint Ingram, who have really stepped up and really tried to do things the right way. Dusty Dvoracek, Eric Bassey and Rufus have really done a great job. Eric has been a great program guy who has just busted his tail for OU. He is always trying to get better and do whatever he can to help the team special teams wise, or in any capacity on the team that he can. Here is a guy who will outwork everybody, and he has every year that he has been here."
"All of those guys are going to be guys who step up and demonstrate and do whatever it takes for the team and say, 'This is what we have to do to get better as a team,' and the rest of the team is going to accept it."
"We had some guys who worked hard to improve, beginning with Chris Chester, (who played at 271 last year). He is a guy who is real explosive, who can really run and we needed to find a place for him to play. When he left following the spring he weighed 283 and is now right at 295."
"Chijioke (Onyenegecha) has also gotten a lot better. He has great talent, but he has to get his mindset on being tough. Last year he was new into the program and he is mature enough now to respond to it, and I think he will. Carl Pendleton added about 15 pounds this summer. Zach Latimer is close to 245 now and has really matured since he has been here and he has a ton of talent. He just needs to keep his weight on."
Newcomers continue to Excel . . .
The summer workouts at Oklahoma are legendary. No one denies that they are hard, almost impossible. Bob Stoops admits that newcomers are often shocked at the difficulty of Schmidt's workouts: "There's a lot said about the way our guys train. But you have to look at how he (Schmidt) has developed people. I think in the end, they do embrace it. They realize the importance when they see the results."
Regardless, plenty of incoming freshmen have considered leaving after the first few days under Schmidt, but that's not necessarily so with this year's class. One observer said that the kids had a tough summer, but also quickly formed a bond of friendship and seemed to have a great time as well.
"Sure, it was hard, but we had a good time. It was fun," one survivor said.
Of course, one Lone Star reporter blasted Stoops this week for holding out players from the Texas All-Star game. But Stoops replied that he leaves that decision up to each player and has no preference on whether they play or not. The San Antonio Express had their version, which had Stoops prohibiting OU recruits from playing, and did not print Stoops' denial.
So we asked one freshman who was asked to play in the Texas All-Star game last week, but declined, about the reason for his absence.
"No, the coaches had nothing to do with it," he said. "I'm having too much fun. I just wanted to stay up here with my teammates," he said.
After talking about it, several other All-Star candidates decided to pass as well. All of which really has nothing to do with the All-Star game, but everything to indicate that this freshman class will be leaders focused on bringing championships to Norman.
Certainly, the freshmen class got high marks from Schmidt for their workouts as well as their camaraderie: "Yeah, they came in and impressed right away. Almost all of them showed quite a bit of improvement, really a great group from Day One."
That's about as specific as Schmidt would get on any of the freshmen, so we asked senior Davin Joseph, who is slightly more talkative than Schmidt, what newcomers on the OL impressed him and why.
"Duke Robinson. He brings a real aggressive type of play to the game. Jon Cooper has great technique to be so young. And Jesse White is so strong, while Ben Barresi is a natural talent who seems to be born with the ability to the be an offensive lineman. It is fun to watch how good they are as young as they are."
Kelvin's next Big Man?
Besides his aggressive style of play, what else is impressive about Big Duke?
"His athletic ability is just outstanding," Joseph added. "Clint Ingram was telling me they were playing basketball the other day and the guy dunked a basketball. Shoot, I told Clint that the last time I checked he was at 360. If he can dunk at 360, it means that Oklahoma is bringing in the athletes rather than worry about size."
OK, Davin. However, we don't think Schmidty would be real happy to hear that Duke topped out at 360. But we have sent Kelvin a note about the dunk.
'Put your hands together' for Clapp . . .
Another freshman making an impact, and perhaps one that folks don't think about, is Matt Clapp, (6-2, 235, 4.7). The freshman fullback from Phoenix has been sensational in workouts and is already causing coaches to re-think plans for 2005.
Several months ago, senior Russell Dennison, (6-3, 225, 4.6), was penciled to be J.D. Runnel's back-up at fullback, as well as a star on special teams, where he plays on all five units, more than any other Sooner. However, the question now is do the coaches allow Clapp, next year's starter, to gain some valuable playing time, or save a year and reward senior Dennison for his years of loyalty and selfless contributions?
OU has installed several plays to take advantage of J.D. Runnells' abilities, and would like to retain them after he leaves, so it is an important element to their long-range offensive plans. This will be one question answered over the next four weeks, but we think that, in the end, Clapp's eligibility will most likely be the key factor and the coaches will opt to redshirt him and save a year.
And speaking of impressive freshmen, is there any group better than the trio at linebacker? We asked Ingram for his impression of the young linebackers, (Ryan Reynolds, Curtis Lofton and Lamont Robinson)
"I haven't seen three linebackers come in and be as far along as they are since I've been here. They're already big, strong guys who can run. I don't know whether they're going redshirt, or who's going to play, but all of those guys could bring something to the table right now."
What? Me Worry ?
We also asked Clint Ingram if this years' defense could successfully replace the lost starters from the 2004 squad.
"Sure, we won't accept anything but good things. That's one of things that has been instilled in us since the day we got on campus — is the tradition, the pride we take, the way we work. On the young guys, the only thing I'd say they're lacking is game time experience on Saturday's. Coach will have everybody as prepared as they can be for the game. Having Dusty back is great for the team. Guys like that, down in the middle, will open up a lot of things for the linebackers."
And how about the big game in Dallas on October 8?
"We're going to go out and play them just like we do every year. Our coaches are going to prepare a great game plan for us, and we're going to go out there and do what they have for us to do."
Likewise, Davin Joseph has no worries about the O-line either.
"I am moving to left tackle and I think it adds more balance to our offensive line with two solid tackles in Akim Millington on one side and me on the other. The middle is solid with Chris Bush at center, and we still have Kelvin Chaisson. They can help out Chris Chester a lot."
Along with Schmidt, Joseph is also high on Chester.
"A lot of guys impress me, but Chris impresses me the most because the guy has put on 60-something pounds since he has been here. He is at about 295 and almost at the 300-pound club, yet the guy can still run and can still play. He is strong as can be and is one of the best power-cleaners that I have ever seen. For that guy to gain all this weight and to still keep his strength and speed is very impressive."
And finally, what are Davin's thoughts on the offense's ability to perform this year?
"With everybody having the same focus and everybody being optimistic about the season, we will be just fine. Whoever is at quarterback, whoever is running the ball, whether we are passing or running — it doesn't really matter. As long as we have a very optimistic feel about this season and everybody is not selfish about who is getting the ball or what we are doing, then we are going to be just fine."
Taking off the Redshirt . . .
Sometimes we forget about the guys who have spent a (redshirt) year under Schmidt getting ready to play. Oklahoma adds 18 players this fall who fall into this category.
On defense: LB-S Lewis Baker; DT Cory Bennett; S Brett Bowers; DE Alan Davis; DT Dusty Dvoracek (hardship); LB Ryan McGrath; LB Kyle Peterson; DE Calvin Thibodeaux (hardship). On offense: QB Lee Blankenship; QB Rhett Bomar; WR Quentin Chaney; WR Justin Chilcoat; WR Russell English; WR Lendy Holmes; QB Hayes McEachren; OL J.D. Quinn; OL Cameron Schacht; and QB Paul Thompson.
Focus on Quarterbacks and Receivers . . .
This final week before preseason practices resume, we'll focus on the QB's and the receiving corp.
Oklahoma must replace five receivers; Mark Bradley, Mark Clayton, Ataleo Ford, Brandon Jones and Will Peoples. Obviously, three of those are now in the NFL, but there is ample talent waiting in the wings.
Obviously, there are multiple formations involving the pass — many predicated on what defensive scheme the Sooners are facing. However, almost half of the time OU will line up in formations with three receivers, two wide, one slot. Right now, we'll put a bigger, faster Travis Wilson at the left with 6-2 Lendy Homes and 6-6 Quentin Chaney alternating.
No freshman has been more impressive than Malcolm Kelly. Considered the top receiver in Texas last year, Kelly has disappointed no one in seven-on-seven drills the past four weeks. We'll go way out on a limb here and say Kelly starts on the right side, in a three-receiver formation.
Forget formations, who's going to take the place of Mark Clayton, a first round NFL pick now with the Baltimore Ravens? At the slot, or wide receiver, Jejuan Rankins will start, and most likely be pushed by electrifying Manuel Johnson and super walk-on David Robinson. When the Sooners are lined up with a TE and FB, Rankins and Wilson will man the first unit receiver positions.
Rankins could have left last year, as he has personal responsibilities at home. However, the OU coaches convinced him his best chance at financial success lay with an outstanding Mark Bradley type of year where he would have an NFL chance. They will reward Jejuan for staying and give him that opportunity, although make no mistake, he's worked hard to earn the spot.
The wildcard here is wild man, 'pop star' Juaquin Iglesias, who reeled off a very impressive summer and took to honors among his class by recording the fastest 40 time. We look for Iglesias to redshirt, but a hot August could mean playing time for what may be the Sooners' biggest future star at receiver.
QB - The Real Question . . . Who's gonna start at QB?
Again, the coaches do not know. Any of the trio of Tommy Grady, Rhett Bomar or Paul Thompson could. Our staff is split here — with a few of us seeing Grady as No. 2 man. (A minority opinion, certainly, but one we're fairly adamant about).
Interesting but probably useless factoid: In the just released OU press guide, the QB's are listed as 1) Bomar or 2) Grady or 3) Thompson, in that order.
By now we've all heard the start-two-and-have-a-playoff-the-first-two-games theory. A good theory, but not exactly how it works.
There are 29 practices until TCU. By number 20 or so, approximately August 25, Chuck Long and Bob Stoops will have to make someone No. 1, even if it's temporary. Why? Because going into the final week, one of the three will have to get the majority of the snaps with the first unit.
There is no such thing as splitting snaps the week before your opening game.
Conventional Wisdom says Paul Thompson will be the easiest choice on that date. However, in reality, Coach Long and Stoops will trump Coach Wisdom. Bob Stoops has consistently said one thing here repeatedly: "We will choose the guy that earns it in August. We cannot have someone at that position who has not earned the right in practice to be there. The players will know — the coaches will know."
Perhaps you read (here) the comment from last week when a reporter, at the Big XII media day in Houston, interrupted Bob and said, "OK, you have to have a gut feeling about who will start at quarterback?" Bob said, "No, I haven't seen the August practices yet. I'm not going by gut feeling, I'm going by performance."
The reporter then says, "Well, if you go with experience, wouldn't you agree that Paul Thompson would be your starter?" Stoops replied, "Why would you say that? Paul redshirted last year. If I was going on past performance, Tommy Grady would start. He was 12-of 14-last year. I'll take that in any game we play."
See what we mean by the coaches 'honestly don't know?'
Our hunch? Let's wait until after OU's last preseason scrimmage on August 17.
This week's Big News . . .
Last week we said: "If OU were to get Johnson and Gibbs, it would be one happy day."
That happy day occurred Thursday as OU's defensive line recruiting took a huge turn north when NEO stars Jeremy Gibbs, (DT), (6-4, 285, 4.8) , and Tim Johnson (DE), (6-5, 255, 4.7), committed to Oklahoma. Typically, James Hale was first with the news and asked Gibbs and Johnson in a three-way call what the deciding factor(s) were.
"The atmosphere was great, and getting to talk to Coach Stoops was great. My family felt that OU was best for me after talking to Coach Stoops, and Tim and I wanted to go to school together. So, OU was the perfect choice," said Gibbs.
Johnson added: "It is a great school with a great football program. When you put those two things together, OU is very hard to beat. I wanted to play with Jeremy and OU wanted us both."
James then asked Johnson to describe Gibbs on the field.
"He is an outstanding player with a lot of moves. It's almost impossible to block him, and he is a very hard worker."
Then Gibbs spoke about Johnson.
"Tim is an unbelievable defensive end. He is the best I have ever played with. He is so big and so fast that he is incredible."
Gibbs, who hails from Stillwater, appreciated the fact that former Sooner and now D-line coach Jackie Shipp was also raised in Stillwater and picked OU over OSU.
"Coach Shipp is a Stillwater product and it is easier to make that decision when you already have somebody up there that has already done that. On top of that, he coaches my position and is the best at what he does. Coach Shipp was a big reason why I committed to OU."
Gibbs will have two years of eligibly at DT, while Johnson will have three at DE.
It's ironic that the DL was one of the last positions to be fully evaluated and now may be the first to fill up. Oklahoma began the recruiting session looking for four or five solid commitments here. This year three JC's (Scottsdale CC DE Lewis Holmes, Gibbs and Johnson) were offered along with the nations' best high school seniors. Now the question is do the Sooners take Homes and take three JC's, or save room for three high school seniors?
The answer is — they probably take Holmes if they can get him. Since Johnson will have three years at OU, it does give them more room for one more JC. Normally, they would not do so, but Holmes and Johnson may be the best two DE's in Junior College. Holmes has said that he is most likely to wait until November to decide, and that should work in OU's favor as they can wait and see what their needs may be after a few more decisions are made.
With Pryce Macon already on board, there is not much room left. There are four viable candidates for two remaining slots: Gerald McCoy, Chaz Washington, Derek Burton and Ugo Chinasa. Certainly, the Sooners have offered more, but are most likely to get commitments from one or two of these four.
The others . .
Although OU initially planned to just take four or five along the DL, we can't see them turning away too many on their take list. This week we talked about three others, all national guys holding OU offers that are still considering Oklahoma. All have moved OU up on their charts recently.
Aleric Mullins, a 6-foot-2, 295-pound defensive tackle from Wendell (N.C.) is set to join his football squad on the practice field for the first time since transferring from Missouri.
Mullins still has 10 at the top of his list: Oklahoma, Arkansas, East Carolina, Georgia, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, N.C. State, and Virginia Tech, and will soon choose the five schools he will officially visit.
"I'm looking for a good coaching staff," said Mullins. "A great coaching staff would definitely be a big factor. Of course, I'm going to be looking at the tradition of the school and the education."
Mullins is currently the 15th-ranked defensive tackle in the nation.
Kenrick Ellis, (6-5, 320, 5.0), is a Florida player who moved to the U.S. from of Jamaica. He is generally expected to stay in state, but has not closed off OU yet.
"My favorites right now are all the Florida schools (Florida, Miami, FSU), Oklahoma, South Carolina, and LSU. I'm just going to go ahead and end it right there, those are my top six. There is no disrespect to the other schools. It is just what is best for me."
Talk about bloodlines, Keith Browner, (6-5, 221, 4.7), has a strong USC background as both dad, (Tampa Bay linebacker Keith Browner), and uncle, (six-time All-Pro defensive back Joey Browner), but the L.A. Dorsey lineman was giving no indication the Trojans were part of the mix. Browner had a solid junior campaign registering 48 tackles, 14 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He was also named 1st-team all-league. Browner's list is currently: Cal, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Miami, Colorado, Washington and UCLA. OU hasn't offered, but could if other DL's fall through.
We've listed Audie Augustine, (TE / DE), (6-3, 226, 4.6), of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. for several weeks. OU could bring him in as either a DE or TE.
"I am looking at Auburn, along with Florida State, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh. That is pretty much it."
When asked if he has any favorites Augustine says, "Auburn and Florida State."
Obviously, OU will be on his official visit list and anything can happen here as he has never been to Oklahoma.
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)
Jeremy Gibbs, (JC DT) (6'4 / 285 / 4.8) , Northeastern A&M, OK; (Committed to Oklahoma)
Tim Johnson - (JC DE) (6'5 / 265 / 4.7), Northeastern A&M, OK; (Committed to Oklahoma)
Gerald McCoy - (2 DT) (6-4 / 280), OKC Southeast;
Chaz Washington - (Top 25 DT) (6-3 / 288) , Destrehan, LA;
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;
Ellis, Kendrick (DT - OL) (6-5 / 320 / 5.0) West Palm Beach, FL;
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
Aleric Mullins - (15 DT) (6-2 / 295 / 4.9) Wendell, N.C.
Adam Patterson - (UR) (6'3 / 260 / 4.6), Columbia, S.C.
Audie Augustine - (UR TE / DE), (6-3 / 226 / 4.6), Ft. Lauderdale, FL;
Josh Minton - (10 DE) (6-4 / 247) Pulaski Co, KY;
OU Offer List - Receivers
Make no mistake, four receivers top OU's final shopping list at WR. Jermaine Gresham, Terrell Reese, Jeremy Maclin and Brandon Caleb. The Sooners are in on higher ranked receivers, but these four top their board.
Texas Tech has Maclin as their No. 1 target, maybe at any position, and the Techsters were trying to get inside Jeremy's head a bit this week in an interview.
"Are you a little worried by the recent commitment of Adron Tennell to Oklahoma?" they asked. "No, it didn't really change anything," Maclin replied.
Maclin says his top three are: "Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Illinois."
Maclin had this to say about each school:
"Oklahoma stands out more. They're my leader as of right now. Oklahoma knows how to win."
Texas Tech: "I really like the offense."
Illinois: "I really like the new coaching staff."
Maclin said he'd like to decide by August 10th or 15th.
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;
Jeremy Maclin - (UR) (6-0 / 180 / 4.4), Kirkwood, MO;
Terrell Reese - (13) (6-4 / 200 / 4.5), Pflugerville, TX;
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, FL
Konrad Reuland (2 TE) (6-6 / 240 / 4.7), San Juan Capistrano, CA
Baskins, Andrey (UR) (6-4 / 200 / 4.6) Camden, N.J.;
Fayson, Jarred (8 WR) (6-0 / 195 / 4.4) Tampa, FL;
OU Offer List - Offensive Line
We've talked about Myron Rolle, the nation's top recruit, enough here for three years that by now Sooner fans know the names of all the family members. It might be about time to mention that the nations' No. 2 player, Andre Smith, (6-4 / 315 / 5.1) from Birmingham, Ala., who also has Oklahoma on his list and the Sooners are hoping for an official visit here.
Smith, a left tackle, is an athletic marvel for a player his size. He clearly showed that when he was named Super Athlete at the U.S. Army National Combine for juniors in January after bench pressing 185 pounds 20 times and running the 40-yard dash in 5.1 seconds.
Smith is simply dominant as a blocker as he uses his strength and athleticism to manhandle opponents. At the moment, his top choices are: Alabama, Auburn, USC, Tennessee, Michigan, Miami and Oklahoma. Some say that Smith is expected to stay close to home, but he is yet to say that himself.
Smith is not the only Alabama lineman the Sooners have offered. They are also high on Josh Hawkins (6-7 / 305 / 5.5) from Greenville, Ala.
We mentioned that this is an exceptional year in Maryland, and one reason is offensive tackle J.B. Walton (6-3, 270, 5.2) from Indian Head, who is among the top 25 offensive linemen in the country. OU may be closing in on this target, as Walton admits he still favors Oklahoma, Tennessee, Penn State, Nebraska, Florida and Ohio State.
"Right now, Oklahoma has got the edge on the other schools on my list," said Walton. "Them, along with Penn State and Tennessee are recruiting me the hardest. Oklahoma has got one of the best offensive lines in the country and they're really interested in me. I'm still looking at them pretty hard," he said.
"Penn State is my No. 2 school. I liked a lot of what I saw at Penn State. They've also got some really great tradition there and that sunk deep in me when I was there, so I had to put them right behind Oklahoma," he said. "Tennessee is No. 3 for me. It looks like they've got a great atmosphere and a lot of good tradition. They've got some great academics and they're just a big-time school."
Cincinnati (Ohio) offensive lineman Connor Smith (6-6, 300, 5.1) will decide this week, and the Sooners have an outside chance.
"The schools that are still in there are Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Florida."
OU's shopping list along the OL
At present, here is OU's offer list at receiver — listed in order of signing possibility — as of this date:
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;
Ellis, Kendrick (DT - OL) (6-5 / 320 / 5.0) West Palm Beach, 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.
Adams, Jeff (6-7, 300) Cadiz, KY;
OU Offer List - Running Back
Last Sunday, Las Vegas running back/defensive back DeMarco Murray (6-0, 190, 4.5) said his top six schools are Florida, USC, Miami, Michigan, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
"Out of that list of my top six schools, everybody is on the same radar. I don't have a leader out of them."
"This past summer I was able to get out to both USC and Oklahoma for camps. I was able to establish a better relationship with coach (Todd) McNair (running backs) and coach (Pete) Carroll at that camp at USC. I had a real good time there and I like the atmosphere in Southern California."I like how the coaching staff at USC is really close with their players, and how they're looking to give me a shot at showing them what I can do as a freshman," he said.
"I also got to establish a closer relationship with coach (Cale) Gundy at the camp at Oklahoma. He and coach (Bob) Stoops are really terrific guys. That was my second time there — I was there for an unofficial during the Spring. They've got a great program and the campus is great. I like how the players were telling me some good things about the program. I like the players there and the atmosphere," he said.
Knowshon Moreno is one of the top running backs in the nation, and denies that he's ready to decide now. "I'm still wide open," Moreno said.
When will he narrow down his list?
"I'm trying to pick some schools before the season. We start at the end of the August."
Charles Scott (6-0, 220, 4.5), of Jonesboro, La., was high on OU's list and committed to LSU this week. That may push Chris Brown, another Louisiana RB target and teammate of Nic Harris, a bit closer to Oklahoma.
The OU offer list at running back, 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;
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
The nation's top player, and OU recruit of three years, Myron Rolle denied this week that he'd eliminated anyone — yet. After the ESPN Magazine article on his recruitment, Rolle has been very careful about giving live interviews, preferring an occasional e-Mail instead.
Rolle had narrowed his list to six finalists — Michigan, Oklahoma, Miami, Penn State, Florida and Florida State.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound star has maintained throughout his recruiting that he will announce his choice towards the end of August. A final date for his announcement has yet to be set.
"I have not firmed up a date yet as there are several minor details my father has to work out with the people we are working with," he said. "I will inform all of the coaches recruiting me prior to my announcement whether I committed to them or not."
Reshad Jones is quite possibly the best player in the city of Atlanta for the class of 2006. The safety prospect out of Washington High School named a new top five this week: "LSU, Oklahoma, Miami, Michigan and Florida. That's my top five," Jones said.
What stands out about those programs?
LSU: "I like the facilities and the coaching staff."
Oklahoma: "My friend Duke Robinson that played with me last year is going out there."
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, TX:
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
Linebacker is one position that OU does not yet have a commitment from. But OU coaches are not worried, as they are in solid on some of the best nationally, including Mike Morgan, (6-4 / 185 / 4.5) from Dallas Skyline. Morgan, a linebacker that runs like a safety and hits with explosive force, remains at the top of OU's LB list. He's not too worried about recruiting with his senior season on the horizon.
"I've been working on my feet and getting my agility a little bit better," he said this week. Never mind that he has run in three regional qualifying track events that included the 4x100. "I actually ran a 4.4. I ran one at the school before spring ball had started."
The early word has been that Morgan may be tempted to stay in Texas. Morgan isn't sure how that rumor started, but he would like to end it. "I wouldn't say that. I don't know who is saying that. I have never said that I wouldn't (leave Texas). I am open to everybody. I'd go to Alaska if I have to."
A 4.4 timed 40-yard dash has some of the nation's best programs sending their offers to Dallas for his services.
"I am up to about 40 offers. I haven't really narrowed anything down. I want to wait and see who else is going to come up and offer."
For now, Oklahoma is on his list. And he on theirs.
Morrice Richardson, (6'1½ / 228 / 4.7), Atlanta (Westlake), Ga., is a player being pursued by quite a few programs across the country this season. Richardson now has a top four vying for his signature.
"I like Oklahoma, LSU, Georgia Tech and Florida. Those are my top four."
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) TX;
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.
Joshua Tatum (4) (6-2 / 220 / 4.5), Oakland, CA;
Morrice Richardson - (UR) (6'1½ / 228 / 4.7), Atlanta (Westlake), GA;
Tory Smith (UR) (6-0 / 241 / 4.8) , Rome, GA;
Mark Johnson - (10) (6-3 ½ / 230 / 4.4), Los Angeles, CA
Jarrell Miller (9) (6-3 / 235), Highland Springs, VA;
Navorro Bowman - (15) (6'2 / 218 / 4.6), Forestville, (Suitland), MD.
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.m.
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.
OUInsider Weekend Wrapup (7/31)
Sooners Illustrated Top Stories
OU recruiting report: OffenseA review of the offensive performances of OU's commits so far this season.
Sooners Illustrated11:24 AM
Thomas, Walker making big impressionsPart II as reflect back on the best performances seen LIVE so far this season on recruiting trail.
Sooners Illustrated10:01 AM
OU's Nick Basquine sets record straightOU walk-on wide receiver Nick Basquine set the record straight in a strong, powerful statement in support of his mother.
Sooners Illustrated8:57 AM
Broiles, Brown shining in spotlightPart I of a two-part series looking at the top performances seen in person so far this season.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 10:19 AM