Count down to Kickoff . . . 21 days . . .
For a football player, the opening of fall drills is an annual grind. One that slowly eats away at your sanity, it saps your strength little by little and you question your commitment on a day when the heat and exhaustion cause you to drop to the ground. Like boot camp, only the strong survive, and in the end team unity results.
The Sooners will have passed the 'one third' marker in the August heat as they wrap up the second, and probably the most important scrimmage of fall drills today. We have always said the most positions, including the quarterback, would likely be decided by Thursday, August 18th, (a day after the last scrimmage of fall drills). That date gives players less than one week to secure a starting spot for the TCU game which is only three weeks away.
The dark side of the Moon . . .
While injuries are always a concern, the uncertain status of Brandon Keith and Tommy Grady stand out as the two most detrimental and puzzling issues so far this August.
Keith is the biggest mystery. A week ago Keith and another player were told by Coach Kevin Wilson that their play was progressing and both had earned a chance to work with the first team. Naturally both players were pleased by the news, and left the meeting on a positive note. Later that day, the coaching staff received a text message from Keith saying a (personal) issue had come up that he had to deal with, and that he would have to miss practice that afternoon.
That would be the last time the coaches have had contact with Brandon, although he remains in Norman and has talked to teammates. While the door remains open here for his return to the squad, it would be an unlikely event considering his apparent decision to not speak to the OU coaches. The most likely scenario is that Brandon will not be on the squad this year, and if he does return he would be at least two weeks behind in workouts and preparation.
Tommy Grady is also an enigma. OU has made a huge effort to get Grady the necessary hours for his eligibility to be in good standing through a class in inter-session. OU knew a week ago that Grady would miss several practices early as class and study would consume much of his time. Yet after a week of drills, Grady has yet to show for a single practice, effectively removing himself from the quarterback race.
All the while Grady, who apparently has told friends and some teammates that he will likely transfer, denies that he intends to do so when he talks to the OU coaches and academic advisors. It is a fact that certain schools have been in contact with Tommy through telephone and e-Mail messages. Although there are NCAA anti-tampering rules in place that prevent such practices, logic would have to question just how the schools got the phone number and e-Mail addresses of Grady. Apparently some contact would have to been initiated at some point by the athlete or his family, as no school would risk sanctions over a player that was a member in good standing at another NCAA institution.
Or would they?
Cameron Schacht, the red shirt freshman for Coppell, Texas, has also apparently left the squad. Schacht was just not able to get over the 270 pound range and was frustrated when others gained weight as he continually sat on 269. The OU coaches acknowledged that at 270, Schacht would probably never see significant playing time. However they encouraged Cameron to remain on the squad and participate as they genuinely like him and wanted to retain him. No one can blame Cameron for electing to stop, yet many, when faced with the same reality, have chosen to stick it out and to be satisfied with the achievements of the team replacing personal goals.
The bottom line is that none of these three good kids, and talented players, are likely to be involved with the team a month from now, and that their coaches and teammates must elect to move on, and wish them the best. As Stoops said several years ago when a very good player decided to quit football; "I can't worry about guys that aren't here, I have eighty five that are here and they're busting their tails to play. I have to think about them first and foremost."
On the Bright side . . .
The skill of this year's freshmen has been encouraging, and at times almost stunning. Bob Stoops said this week that up to half of them could play this year. That's an amazing number, but the class that arrived in June has been that good under Schmitty and now in actual on field practice.
While names like Reggie Smith, Malcolm Kelly, Curtis Lofton, Ben Barresi, Duke Robinson and Jon Cooper quickly come to mind, many others have also shown up well - at almost every position. As Stoops recently said; "We're always going to put our best players on the field, if they're freshmen so be it - if they earn it they'll play." The most amazing fact is that no freshman has been a disappointment. The coaches see each one eventually contributing and being a huge asset to future Sooner teams.
Sometimes we forget just what Stoops and Company have done with athletes that others overlooked. Names like Strait, Heinecke, Griffin, Burcham, Romero, and Clayton all come to mind when you ask about players that were key contributors to the current tradition. This incoming class was not full of overlooked players, and you have to wonder just what this staff will do when presented with this much talent on 'day one.'
Ten Things to Watch in August drills . . .
Last week we presented ten things to watch for in 'two-a-days'. Today we offer a progress report on those ten issues as the Sooners have completed one third of the scheduled 29 practices.
Sophomore Cody Freeby and newcomer Mike Knall are competing here, and after a week Freeby is apparently healed and comfortably ahead. It was a nagging back injury to Freeby last spring that initiated the call to Scottsdale Community College punter Mike Knall early this summer. Now it appears that a bruised leg suffered this summer by Knall is making him look like Freeby in the spring. "I tried to rest it some this summer, so I'd come in here fresh, but it's just taking a while longer to come around," Knall said last week.
Knall could still win the job, but he has to get well fast as Freeby is booming 45 - 50 yard punts consistently in practice. Regardless, either punter is very good when 100%, and you would think that at least one will be 100%. And, as we indicated last week, the fact that Knall has a 'Red Shirt' year to use gives Freeby the nod in a tie.
9. Tweaks in the Run Game:
Adrian Peterson, has been held out of contact this week, but he's not exactly sitting still. At every workout, it's common to see number 28 constantly running back and forth, lifting, on the bike, always working, always in motion. "I appreciate his work ethic," Bob Stoops said last week when asked about what impresses him the most about Peterson. There's no doubt that if TCU was in town today, AD would be suited up and ready to roll.
As always, our own staff here is split on the title of 'most impressive backup' at tailback. Is it Kejuan Jones, Jacob Gutierrez or Donta Hickson? Each day the answer changes, as all three have had their days. You could make an argument that all three are better than last year and go with that, but 'Goot' looks to be the most improved and is nearly unstoppable for four or five yards on almost every carry.
Meanwhile fullback J.D. Runnels continues to impress with his relentless blocking and hard nosed play. This week sophomore fullback Dane Zaslaw opened a few eyes with impressive running and blocking abilities, and now the red shirt of freshman Matt Clapp looks a little more likely, as Zaslaw and the 'special teams terminator' Russell Dennison, look to provide adequate depth.
8. Offensive Line - Eight is Enough:
Last week we said that Kevin Wilson's goal was to find eight top quality players for his offensive line, and that in the first two weeks of pre season drills, we'd see moves and experiments, much like the switch last year of Davin Joseph and Wes Sims at guard and tackle.
Freshman Duke Robinson, (6'6" / 330), was the literally the 'big topic' this week as he has showed that he may be good enough to play now. After ten sessions, it's apparent that Robinson is the best 'pure' OL recruited by the Stoops staff in five years. (Jammal Brown and Davin Joseph both came in as DL's). Robinson has worked some this week at left tackle, freeing Joseph to play elsewhere. Robinson, at 330, must continue to get in shape, and turn more of his 330 pound 'mass' into muscle. But he is making the effort. After practice it's common to see the big guys run extra, and all are seen to be encouraging the freshman, and determined to help him get there.
As we cautioned last week, many of these experiments may be meaningful, or meaningless - days afterwards, and fans should not jump to conclusions at the first sighting of a position switch. When it's all said and done, we expect Joseph and Akim Millington, who has also had an excellent camp, to both start at tackle, and for Robinson to backup.
Last week we touted true freshman Jon Cooper, as a pleasant OL surprise, and he did nothing this week to surrender that title, playing both center and guard.
Sometimes we forget to mention Ben Barresi, and the fact that he too is a true freshman who elected to come in early. Barresi returned from a nagging foot injury Friday and also looks like he could play this year, if needed, also at a guard spot.
Although it's unlikely, what could open the door for Cooper or Barresi to play this season? An injury to Chris Bush at center would probably be the only event that would cause Wilson to play either freshman. If that were to happen, the current contingency plan has Chris Chester moving to center, opening the right guard spot for a number of candidates, including RS freshman J.D. Quinn - who will some day be a star. Kelvin Chaisson, remains steady and reliable on the left side.
The early play of Robinson, Barresi and Cooper have caused some of the concern for the future OL to dissipate. In fact, OU's O-line has never had a brighter future under Stoops. But as of today, here are the 'top eight' OL's: Seniors Davin Joseph, Kelvin Chaisson, and Chris Bush; junior Chris Chester; sophomore Akim Millington; freshmen Duke Robinson, Jon Cooper and J.D. Quinn. The coaches also have a great deal of confidence in junior Chris Messner and would probably play him to preserve a late season redshirt - if Duke Robinson does not play early.
7. Tight End:
Oklahoma seems to be serious about using the tight end more in this year's offense, and for good reason as the position appears to be a very significant strength this year. The 'tight end slant' over the middle has been a short yardage staple in week one, and both Thompson and Bomar are adept at making the quick throw. All three tight ends have looked good in early drills with 6'7" Willie Roberts showing a sudden grasp of the game.
Meanwhile senior James Moses, and sophomore 6'6" Joe Jon Finley, provide big play ability whenever they are inserted. Any of the three could play on any down.
We still say that 'Bubba' Moses starts, but both Finley and Roberts could be in the game as early as the second snap.
6. New 'Old' Defense - New Safeties:
Darien Williams, Lewis Baker, Jason Carter and Tony Cade are probably not going to leave the door open here, although talented freshmen Keenan Clayton and Nic Harris could be ready to play by October, a red shirt is more likely. All four of the returners should get ample playing time as Bobby Jack Wright has the luxury of rotating against passing powerhouses such as Texas Tech, if this quad continues to show improvement.
Williams and Cade continue to battle for the FS position, and both are better. Baker's (SS) position, thought to be a possible spot where a new comer could break through a few weeks ago, is looking less vulnerable now, as Lewis continues to shine. Jason Carter is pushing Lewis, and on some days looks spectacular.
If Clayton and Harris do see time this year, it'll likely be at the 'nickel' and 'dime' positions.
In the past, OU has pulled the SLB on almost sure passing downs and inserted a fifth (nickel) DB. Last year Brandon Shelby, who was a master of 'the nickel blitz' - made his presence known many times from this position. This year Clayton could be inserted here, although Reggie Smith is the current front runner. In some cases, another (dime) DB is inserted, (3rd and long; 'no-back,' and vs a Texas Tech style offense), and is usually accomplished by removing a DT. Nic Harris is the current choice here, as he gives OU attributes in both coverage and power.
It must be pointed out however that OU's best 'coverage' linebacker this year, (Clint Ingram), just happens to reside at the strong side, or at the position that normally comes out. "I've told Coach Venables to just leave me - I can handle it, just let me prove it," Ingram said recently. If Ingram is left on many obvious passing downs, it gives OU the advantage of being better able to disguise coverage and schemes.
5. Defensive End - Final Four:
Newcomer DE coach Chris Wilson has to be thrilled with his top four. Last week we said:
"OU fans should keep an eye on: 1) C.J. Ah You - who was brought in to start, (in a four man rotation), and provide the speed and power on the edge that will give Big XII QB's nightmares. It will be interesting to see if he has developed as promised. 2) The return of Thibodeaux and 3) the emergence of John Williams. A year ago at this point, Calvin actually had an edge on Larry Birdine - while Williams was still lost."
After a week, while Birdine is playing as advertised, but C.J. Ah You is also having a great camp, and could be a star. Calvin Thibodeaux, is back, and is a force, and the improved play of John Williams may be the biggest surprise so far. Alonzo Dotson has also looked good here.
4. Linebacker - will young guys be ready?
With Rufus Alexander, Clint Ingram and Zach Latimer all pretty much established going into the season, the question was who'll back up?
A week ago sophomore Demarrio Pleasant, who is best suited to back Ingram at SLB, was technically the second man at all three LB positions. The obvious answer was, 'which of the three freshmen can mature and play immediately, giving Pleasant a break?' After week one Curtis Lofton is a known quantity at MLB - so Pleasant can relax as he has help there, and fellow freshmen Ryan Reynolds, has shown the he's capable of backing Rufus Alexander at WLB. Lamont Robinson is still considered to be a prize, but will not likely have to play this year.
We've said all along that the coaches would prefer to red shirt here, as OU's depth is paper thin at LB, but that at least one freshman would have to play. Right now Lofton looks to be the first 'frosh' off the bench.
3. Wide Receiver:
Good thing the Sooners have some depth here, as this position saw it's share of bumps and bruises this week, sidling many of the regulars. Seniors Travis Wilson and Jejuan Rankins are the most consistant and it's understandable that both are starting. This season, Quentin Chaney appears to have learned how to use his 6'6" much better and Lendy Holmes, has also looked good. Freshman sensation Malcolm Kelly, did not see many snaps due to a nagging injury, but is expected to return to all star form soon.
Eric Huggins shows flashes of NFL brilliance from time to time but will likely red shirt and add a few needed pounds, and Juaquin Iglesias will also likely red shirt. However an injury could force either to play early.
2. Corner Back:
You can almost see the 'worry' evaporate from the coaches' heads as this position looks much improved.
Of course you don't get that impression listening to Bobby Jack Wright on the practice field. Perhaps constant brimstone babble is a needed element for secondary success, as former DB coach Mike Stoops was prone to go all practice yelling, screaming and demanding better play. After a year of somewhat quiet Bo Pelini, Bobby Jack returns the fire to the position. "That's the dumbest play I've ever seen," he shouts, when someone busts an assignment, (only to be topped a few moments later by another 'dumbest' play).
However off the field Wright is complementary and supportive of his troupes. Getting the 'most improved' award has to be Chijioke Onyenegecha who has nailed down one of the CB spots with the physical play and burning speed that we expected to see last year. "It's just all making sense to be now," said CO, who is probably relieved that Bo Pelini is now confusing Bengal Tigers in Baton Rouge.
Logic says that fab freshman Reggie Smith will back CO, and start here next year. But reality says that Coach Wright will likely rotate four corners. Obviously Eric Bassey, who has been slowed by a bad hip this week, is available here as well. Smith has not been the big item this week at corner, primarily because he's worked more at safety. But the fact remains that Reggie Smith will be a star, perhaps at multiple positions.
In the biggest surprise so far, D.J. Wolfe is pushing Marcus Walker on the other side and could be making a run to claim the spot. Look for this battle to go back and forth - perhaps all season long.
1. Quarterback - One or Two?
Obviously it's a two man race, as Tommy Grady has apparently elected to watch this one rather than compete. Both QB's have had their day, but none better than yesterday when Rhett Bomar put on a spectacular performance unseen by any of us since John Elway visited Owen Field some 20 years ago.
Bomar must have thrown 50 or 60 passes, short, long, lobs, curls, flags, everything in the arsenal, and only had two incompletions. One on a bad throw, another on a drop. Two of fifty - think about that for a moment.
This was not against 'gimmie' defenses and phoney alignments. The Sooner D was angry, frustrated and frankly in awe - as Bomar continually threaded the needle and completed passes between bewildered defenders, all day long. At one point DB's only looked at each other and shook their heads.
While it's true that on at least two occasions so far, Paul Thompson has had the better day, but on those days the race was still eye lash close. Yesterday was no contest. We bring this up not to imply that Bomar has won the job, the race is not over, but to ignore yesterday would not be fair either. It was a runaway, and perhaps Elway himself would also have been left behind.
In Paul Thompson's defense he has improved immensely in his passing skills. Chuck Long was right three years ago when he said Thompson would be a better passing QB than Vince Young, who at the time had all recruiting gurus proclaiming him as the best ever anywhere. It would be no disgrace to 'lose' this race to Rhett Bomar.
Make no mistake; today's scrimmage will go a long ways in determining the winner here. And as we said last week: What we should focus on is not completion percentage, but who moves the chains, and who throws the fewest interceptions. Assuming that everything else is 'equal' - that's how to determine the likely winner.
Still - yesterday may be over, but it will not be forgotten.
Note: Below is the second part of the weekend wrapup.
Scrimmage Number Two (of Three) . . .
On Saturday August 13th the Sooners held their second preseason scrimmage. Among those making moves:
Sophomore Cody Freeby is still ahead of newcomer Mike Knall for the punting position. Jacob Gutierrez continued making moves on the field and a huge push at running back, (64 yards on 11 touches), where Donta Hickson has also looked good. Meanwhile senior Kejuan Jones was still in a walking boot but said he could be ready in several days. While TE Willie Roberts had several nice plays, (5 rec 32 yards), and two TD's, it was freshman WR Juaquin Iglesias leading all receivers, (5 rec 63 yards), with RS freshman Quentin Chaney close behind, (57 yards 3 rec).
On defense - freshman Curtis Lofton led with 9 tackles, and also caught a deflected Bomar pass for an interception. D.J. Wolfe and Chijioke both had solid performances at the #1 corner spots, allowing Reggie Smith to move to safety, where he will stay, for now. "His abilities just give us more coverage options there," Bob Stoops said afterward. But some have speculated that it also opens a CB spot for Myron Rolle, who is now just weeks away from a decision.
Just when Rhett Bomar, who had appeared to be unstoppable 24 hours earlier, made it look as if it might be a no contest at QB, the RS freshman became mortal with maybe his most 'average' day yet, (16 of 36, 151 yards; 2 Int and 2 TD's). It was a better - but not great day for Paul Thompson at QB who had 191 yards on a 17 - 28; 0 Int, 1 TD).
The scrimmage demonstrated just how fickle dominance can be at the position, and suggested that the race may continue for another 10 days - beyond the target date of next weekend, and perhaps into the first two games of the season.
"I think the scrimmage was more of what the coaches were looking for, as far as production and leadership," said Thompson, who only led one scoring drive, but did not turn the ball over. "I think I was able to step it up from the last scrimmage. The last scrimmage, I was flat, but today I was able to make some plays. That was one of the things I wanted to do — step it up from the two-a-days that we've been going through."
Bomar talked about his performance. "I don't know, I thought I did alright. It wasn't as solid as the first scrimmage, but we also did more things today. We ran more plays and things like that. I thought I started a little slow and picked it up a bit. We had some mistakes, but overall I think it was alright." Bomar also talked about his two interceptions and three other passes that were almost picked off. "Some of them weren't bad reads, but my throw was a little off. I under threw a couple, but I had some big plays also. I was a little up and down, I guess you could say."
This week's Big News . . .
We said last week that the wide receiver position is almost full and that Brandon Caleb would probably commit to the Sooners by 'mid to late week.' Caleb, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound receiver from Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, did indeed give Oklahoma a verbal commitment Thursday night after a three-day visit to Norman with his mom last weekend.
Some have asked why Caleb was one of the top receivers on the Sooners' recruiting board, noting his relatively low numbers last year, (only 15 receptions for 405 yards and six touchdowns last year). However after watching film, Darrell Wyatt quickly understood that Fork Union didn't have much of a passing attack, but the fact that Caleb scored an amazing one in every three times he touched the football was much more impressive than his reception numbers. (Once in every two counting defense).
Wyatt recognized the amazing talent and quickly seized the opportunity before other schools realized that Caleb would be a prize receiver. Scout has Caleb has a linebacker, where he posted 55 tackles, (15 for loss, three forced fumbles, four interceptions and two touchdowns), on defense and earned all-state honors.
OU Offer List - Receivers
Caleb's commitment gives the Sooners an almost complete receiving wish list. A month ago, OU's four top receiver prospects were: Jermaine Gresham, Adron Tennell, Terrell Reese, Jeremy Maclin and Brandon Caleb. Caleb's commitment leaves just one WR slot and one TE scholarship available.
The leading contenders are: Reese, Gresham and Damon McDaniel, (5-11 / 192), a wide out from Virginia Beach, VA.
Although McDaniel plans to take each and every one of his allotted five visits, three schools have separated themselves from the pack. "I have visits set up with Oklahoma, LSU, and Florida," he said. "They all have nice college environments. Those are mainly football colleges, they eat, sleep football down there." McDaniel will visit the Sooners for the TCU game in three weeks.
Ardmore's Jermaine Gresham, the nation's 9th ranked TE, is a huge Sooner priority but refuses to be pinned down on recruiting, saying he just doesn't want to be rushed into a decision.
Terrell Reese is also a high priority, but he may not be ready to make his decision before OU runs out of room. Nebraska is Reese's only official, (Sept 3), at the moment, but he says, "It's a tight race between Nebraska and Oklahoma for my leader. I am going to take an official to Oklahoma." The Sooners hope that Terrell decides quickly, as he is very high on their list, but understand if he's not ready to commitment.
The Sooners did make one new offer this week, to Minneapolis, MN tight end Jordan McMichael, (6-5, 230, 4.7), who before the offer said that Nebraska, Boston College and Wisconsin were ahead of both Northwestern and Kansas for his services.
At present, here is OU's offer list at WR and TE - listed in order of signing possibility - as of this date:
Adron Tennell - (16) (6-4 / 180 / 4.5), Irving, TX; (Committed to Oklahoma)
Jeremy Maclin - (UR) (6-0 / 180 / 4.4), Kirkwood, MO; (Committed to Oklahoma)
Brandon Caleb (UR) (6-1 / 195 / 4.5), Atlanta, GA; (Committed to Oklahoma)
Terrell Reese - (13) (6-4 / 200 / 4.5), Pflugerville, TX;
Jermaine Gresham - (9 TE) (6-7 / 235 / 4.7), Ardmore, OK;
Damon McDaniel - (UR), WR / RB (6'0 / 195 / 4.4), Virginia Beach, VA;
Jeff Cumberland (4 - WR TE / DE/ LB) (6-4.5 / 221 / 4.47), Columbus, Brookhaven, OH;
Richard Dickson - (UR TE / DE) (6-4 / 238 / 4.7), Ocean Springs, MS;
Na Derris Ward - (3 TE) (6-5 / 245 / 4.8) Oakland, (McClymonds) CA;
Jordan McMichael - (UR TE) (6-5, 230, 4.7), Minneapolis, MN
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;
Markeith Summers (UR) (6-4 / 190 / 4.6), Olive Branch, MS;
Tony Wilson - (14 CB) (6-0 / 175 / 4.45), Dayton, Fla.
Konrad Reuland (2 TE) (6-6 / 240 / 4.7), San Juan Capistrano, CA
Andrey Baskins - (UR) (6-4 / 200 / 4.6) Camden, N.J.;
Jarred Fayson - (8 WR) (6-0 / 195 / 4.4) Tampa, FL;
OU Offer List - Defensive Line
When you're in on the top players in the country your foremost opponent is always geography more so than any other factor. For example, if a prospect is choosing between Ohio State and Oklahoma, a kid from Indiana, Kentucky, Penn or Ohio will more than likely choose the Buckeyes. If that prospect is from the Texas, Oklahoma or the South Central US, the chances are that OU will win out.
Therefore it's always better to have top ranked kids close by. OU could not have gotten any closer on Gerald McCoy, the nations #1 or #2 ranked DT. McCoy, (6-4 / 285), is from OKC Southeast, just ten miles north of Norman and is very familiar with the Sooners. "When I was little I told everybody that I was going to OU. But I started thinking about a lot of other schools and I realize that there are a lot of other schools out here that are good schools."
Obviously almost every school in D1 has offered McCoy, and despite his affection for Oklahoma, he will look at all kinds of options. McCoy's other possibilities include Miami, USC, Notre Dame, LSU, Nebraska, Kansas State, Kansas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Tennessee.
"I have been to OU so much that I know everything about them, so I am not going to take an official visit there. I have hung around with players, talked to coaches, seen them practice, been to games and seen the facilities. The only thing I have to learn more about is about their academics, and I can go over that at any time. I know so much about OU that I don't need to take an official visit."
Still, OU sits on McCoy where they don't when it comes down to Florida State and OU on a Florida kid. Most times, when all things are equal, schools within a closer proximity usually win out. If the Sooners were lucky enough to get McCoy's commitment, their DL would be in pretty good shape for several years.
Destrehan, Louisiana DT Chaz Washington is also high on the OU charts and has had a bit of trouble with the local folks who have questioned him on his infatuation with the Sooners. One of the hottest topics among LSU message boards and recruiting circles is the recruitment of Washington, and there has been a lot of debate as to whether or not Washington would get an official offer from Les Miles. He is regarded as one of the top defensive tackles in the South by many recruiting analysts and he has an impressive offer list that includes OU, USC, Miami and the rest of the heavyweights in college football.
Oklahoma has been at the top of the list for several months now and that still remains the case with the talented tackle. "Oklahoma has just been showing so much love," said Washington. "I know I shouldn't base my decision on that - but the coaches have really done a good job of making me feel wanted. They talk about me being able to play as a true freshman and how bad they want me."
In an interview with OU Insider a few weeks ago, Washington spoke highly of the Sooners and was quoted as saying he was not even considering the Tigers. But when Tiger Rag asked him if he still had an interest in LSU - they got a slightly different story. "Without a doubt, I want to stay home and play," he said. "Like I told my dad, I want to be with my family and have them close. I want to show LSU that I am their guy and that I could play for them too. They want to see me step up to the plate and dominate my senior year and that is what I plan on doing."
Remember, this is a kid that said he was 'committing' to OU just a month or so ago - until he found out that commitments are meant to be final.
At present, here is OU's offer list at DT and DE - listed in order of signing possibility - as of this date:
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;
Derek Burton - (Top 25) (6-3 / 250), Muskogee, OK;
Chaz Washington - (Top 25 DT) (6-3 / 288 / 5.0), Destrehan, LA;
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, South Carolina
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 - Running Back
Almost 6 weeks after his 'win or else' ultimatum to 'Gramps' Paterno, LeSean McCoy is still making noise back east. The nation's second ranked RB has quite a personality and is not shy about expressing himself or in his confidence. "My biggest goal is winning a state championship. Going undefeated would be nice and everything, but I want a championship more than anything. For me, getting the state's all-time rushing record would be nice too. I need about 2,600 yards to get it. I got 2,500 my sophomore year - so I think that's realistic."
McCoy, who stands 6-0 and says he checked in at 215 pounds on Monday, brings a lot to the table as a running back prospect. "My vision is really strong," he said. "Plus, I can stop on a dime and make people miss. A lot of guys my size aren't able to do that real well."
When asked to name his favorites this week, McCoy mentioned USC, (USC has 'hinted' that Reggie Bush may be leaving, giving the Trojans a shot at a nice replacement - but the Trojans are also telling DeMarco Murray that HE'S their top pick); Miami: "They've been recruiting me ever since I won MVP at their place two years ago. Coach Coker said that I remind him of Willis (McGahee). They're on me hard. I like Miami and everything - but the only thing is that I'm not sure if I'd be able to play early there. They got a lot of young running backs." Virginia Tech, (where he visited this summer): "That's a nice place. They said I could be the next Kevin Jones there." And also mentioned Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, and Tennessee as others high up on his list of favorites.
Then in a quick change of pace, McCoy suddenly got humble, "I wanna focus on my season. I don't wanna be that guy who gets all the recruiting attention and lets it go to his head and lets his teammates down. It could be my last play at any time. I'll really narrow everything down after the season."
Obviously, OU would love to get 'little' McCoy, (although personally, if they do, we just can't see LeSean giving 'Schmitty' or Bob Stoops too many ultimatums). Despite the possibility, DeMarco Murray, Chris Brown and Evan Royster are all more likely to be the single Sooner commit here.
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;
Linebackers - OU expected to take 3
While OU is almost full on their receiver list, no linebackers have yet to commit. In OU's case. it may be hard to attract barracuda after you just landed a shark, and after last year's LB class of Lofton, Reynolds and Robinson, it may be hard to get a class anywhere near that - as every school in the country is making all the top LB's aware of last year's Sooner signees.
However, what they do not say is that linebacker is Oklahoma thinnest position - even more so than OL, and once recruits see how few LB's are actually on the roster it will get easier.
Besides the freshman trio, Clint Ingram is the lone senior, Rufus is a junior, and Pleasant is a sophomore. OU is expected to regain Chris Patterson from NEO - but that still would leave very few scholarship 'backers on a team known for outstanding play at the position.
Mike Morgan, Anthony Lewis, Brandon Spikes, Allen Bradford and Josh Tatum still top OU's national shopping list, and any two from that group would be almost too good to be true.
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.
Joshua Tatum (4) (6-2 / 220 / 4.5), Oakland, CA;
Morrice Richardson - (UR) (6'1½ / 228 / 4.7), 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
Jarrell Miller (9) (6-3 / 235), Highland Springs, VA;
Navorro Bowman - (15) (6'2 / 218 / 4.6), Forestville, (Suitland), Maryland.
Marcus Ball (7) (6-0 / 208 / 4.4), from Stone Mountain, GA.
Bo Harris - (18) (6-2 / 210 / 4.65); Conyers, GA.
OU Offer List - Offensive Line
It's no secret that OU would love to get Antonio Logan-El, (6-6 / 320 / 5.2), of Forestville, MD. Antonio, a former Maryland commitment, is ranked as the nations 10th best OL, but he sits at the top of OU's OL chart, along with Ian Symonette and Andre Smith.
Antonio admits that right now Maryland and Penn state are his two favorites. Does OU have a chance for the articulate big man?
"The Sooners are in my top five. Once I get a chance to visit them and get a chance to meet their coaches and players and then see the environment that they have, they could move into my top two. If things go like I expect they could be one of my top two schools. They have a great O-line, a great tradition. I think Oklahoma is going to be one of my top schools. I keep in contact with Coach (Kevin) Wilson by text-message and e-mail."
With offers from almost everyone major power, who else is he considering? "All the other schools are trying to get up there with Maryland and Penn State. Take Oklahoma for instance, they are not up there right now because I haven't seen them and I don't know what their campus and program is like in person. The same goes for Tennessee and Florida. Once I see Oklahoma, or one of the other programs, my top schools could change. I have seen Maryland and Penn State several times and I know what their college is all about."
Logan-El wants to take his visits before November 1st and then will thoroughly research his favorites. "I have a value scale and chart that I go by that has given me my top five schools. This is based on 10 values that I have in mind: 1) coaching staff. 2) a good criminal justice program. 3) good team chemistry and how I interact with those players. 4) the living environment and facilities. 5) A teams' winning tradition, and are they winning now? 6) Level of visibility. 7) Their rate of playing freshmen. 8 ) Academic support. 9) Graduation rate. 10) Are they sending their players to the NFL?
"This list is prioritized from greatest to least from what I feel are the most important aspects of it to the least important." You can bet that Kevin Wilson and Stoops will be staying awake at night wondering about this guy for a few more months now.
It's always a good sign when recruits call you. OU remains in the hunt for Daniel Wenger, one of the top center prospects in the country, and he admits to calling OU's Kevin Wilson along with a few others from time to time during the recruiting 'silent period' when coaches can not call recruits.
"I've called coaches at Pittsburgh, Purdue, Oklahoma, Florida, and Duke this summer. I get text messages from all of the schools that are recruiting me. I'm still pretty much wide open right now, but if I had to pick a 5 schools to visit today they would be Florida, Purdue, Duke, Oklahoma, and LSU. But I really don't know what schools I am going to visit yet. I'm going to try and take a visit or two during the season as long as it doesn't interfere with my football schedule."
OU has made the final three of another top Florida OL, Jim Barrie who hails from Tampa, and he admits to calling also. "I've called a lot of coaches this summer, but mostly I talk to Coach Wilson at Oklahoma, Coach Dickey and McHale at Florida State, and Coach Moeller at Michigan. Those are the three schools I like the best in no real order. I like that Oklahoma is always competing for a national championship. I like talking with Coach McHale at Florida State; he's very personable."
At present, here is OU's offer list along the OL - 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.
Jim Barrie - (UR) (6-5 / 305), Tampa, FL;
Daniel Wenger - (Top 25) (6-4 / 285 / 5.3), Fort Lauderdale, FL;
Lee Tilley - (15) (6-5 / 321), Springfield, OH;
Maurice Hurt - (UR) (6'3½ / 340 / 5.7), Baldwin, GA;
Kendrick Ellis - (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;
Butch Lewis - (13) (6'6 / 280 / 4.8) , Denver (Regis Jesuit), CO;
Andre Smith (1) (6-4 / 315), Birmingham, AL;
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;
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;
D-Back offer list - OU expected to take 4
The Myron Rolle watch rolls on - and for Oklahoma it's been well past 1,000 days, as that's how long it's been since Bob Stoops made Rolle the youngest player to ever get an OU offer three years ago. It shouldn't be too much longer, as Rolle is expected to decide by Labor Day weekend. When the family starts evaluating everything and they start to break every thing down - we expect Oklahoma to be in the final three, with a decent chance for his signature.
It may hurt OU in the end that they were the first school he visited, because every other school has reacted off of that visit, but the family has been dealing with OU for a long time and that can't be discounted. However, the fact that OU set the bar so high on his visit is still something that impresses him.
With that decision in the balance, college football DB's recruits and fans are all waiting to see where Rolle will head off to. After that decision is public, we should see other DB's around the country start to make their decisions.
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;
2005 OU Pre-Season Practice Schedule
(subject to change)
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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