Returning Players and Newcomers . . .
Most of the varsity and members of the incoming freshman class reported Monday for summer workouts, including the trio of DeMarco Murray, Chris Brown and Jermaine Gresham, who are all awaiting final clearance a week ago.
A few days ago, Bob Stoops expressed his satisfaction, and admiration, for the job Jerry Schmidt and his strength and speed staff do every summer.
"Smitty is one of the leaders and innovators in what he does and how he trains our guys. He does a fabulous job and there is no question that there are a lot of people who try to emulate what we do and what he does. They try to copy our workouts and how we get our guys to move and change direction. He has a great commitment. Smitty is here from about 5:30 in the morning until 6:30 or 7:00 at night. Through the summer there is nobody more committed to our program than he is."
That dedication obviously trickles down to the newcomers, and as James stated, the new recruits likely were made aware of the demands that were going to be asked of them, as the freshmen made for a pretty impressive group. One strength and speed staff member commented that:
"As a group, it's the best freshman class we've had in six years. Almost all of them came in ahead of schedule and in great shape. In the past we've had some very strong looking individual specimens, and some that still needed a lot of work, but this class impressed us as an entire unit."
Indicative of that quote was Dallas offensive lineman Curtis Bailey, (6-6 / 355 / 5.8), of Dallas, Carter. If you recall - just last week here's what we said about Curtis:
"Curtis Bailey - A dominating big man, who is extremely athletic, in the mold of Duke Robinson. If Curtis can duplicate Robinson's weight room dedication, and lose some unneeded weight, he may follow Duke in being proclaimed the next 'Great' OL at OU."
Well Curtis put some serious heat to our statement by losing 40 pounds, the only real knock against him in high school. If he continues to show that kind of work ethic, he certainly could see stardom early. More importantly, with the similar personal sacrifice of OL Brandon Walker, (who reported at 305), the offensive line looks like it has some hard work and dedication missing in years past.
That has to help Coach Patton put together a cohesive unit much faster than last year's last second meltdown. Score an early 'A' for the OL because of the work that these two young men did on their own. Contrast this with a couple of 'don't work me too hard' OL newcomers - since departed, last year. Attitudes are contagious, and this one was most needed.
Also making an early favorable 'work ethic' impression beyond expectations has been Gerald McCoy and local talent Mossis Madu. By that we mean that neither one acts like a 'first week freshman.' They do their work with enthusiasm and without complaints. Leaders show by example, and if the first week is an indication, Gerald and Mossis will become huge team assets over their college careers.
OK, name a surprise?
How about Jeremy Beal, (6-3 / 245 / 4.75), Carrolton Creekview, TX. When OU took the unheralded Beal last year during a shortage of scholarships, recruiting guru's questioned the sanity of Stoops and company. They may still, but like Iglesias last year, the Sooners may have stolen a gem. Last week, our comment on Jeremy was:
"One tough cookie. Although Beal is generally thought of as a DE, some coaches think he could also make an excellent middle linebacker. Ultimately his size and strength will determine. Unless injuries dictate otherwise, Beal will be a RS candidate this fall."
Well, amend that to say that if Beal continues his hot streak - he may NOT red shirt this year.
Last week we threw accolades towards Quinton Carter, (6-1½ / 172 / 4.6), Las Vegas, (Cheyenne). NV, and we'll stick with our statement that he's better than the 'bait' we cut to get him. Remarkably, Carter came in as a high school senior, worked hard, attended class, made friends and adapted to the long distance by looking like a star on and off the field. Proving that while it may not be wise for all HS seniors to skip the prom and their last semester - some can do it with relative ease.
There were no real surprises along the varsity, as they obviously went through spring ball and were only away for three weeks. However on an injury update, projected center Jon Cooper is back and has been cleared to participate in most workouts and conditioning, but the strength staff prefers to bring him along gradually, to minimize any re-injury or setbacks. However he is on target to be back 100% by August.
(NOTE: We had quite a bit of spirited discussion on this during the week, and all we can report is how it looks at present. We do not use a crystal ball to foretell whether someone will be 'OK' or not in three months. All we can do is tell you what we honestly think, based on the work we do during the week, talking with several sources. Sure, there are always different reports on almost every subject, including who will win the NBA playoffs. We can always find good or bad, black or white, north or south, but we simply print what's most likely, based on all the information we have at the time).
As first reported here on OUInsider, CB Malcolm Williams of South Grand Prairie, Texas is not yet on campus at OU and will enroll at OU in January of 2007. Williams still has to pass an exit test that they give high school students in Texas and that he can't retake the test again until July. By the time he gets the results back it will be to late for him to enroll at OU and so he and the OU coaches have already agreed that he will enroll in January.
Last week we had an exclusive report (right here), that Altus flash Daniel Tabon was going to enroll in on-line classes (through OU's on-line HS degree completion program), to fulfill a few weeks of missed work at Altus. True to his word, he did so, and so impressed with his first week of work that he was allowed to walk with other 'graduates' of the on-line class in a graduation ceremony. Daniel still has some assignments to complete, but in his first week made up most of the outstanding work, and impressed his tutors with his dedication.
Checking in at the Top . . .
Bob Stoops expressed a few random thoughts this week about the current state of his program, first talking about how there really is no summer vacation for the football staff, primarily because of camps and that so many seniors to be want to visit prospective schools in the summer prior to their senior year:
"None of us take six weeks off, but through a six week period we all get away here and there, depending on how it fits our family schedules. So guys are always in and out and any recruit that contacts us and says they are coming up unofficially then we are here as much as we can be for them. We try to adjust our schedules so that we can be there for them as well as some of the other coaches offensively or defensively depending on the position that they are playing, we do our best to accommodate them as long as we are able to.
Stoops also was asked if everybody was back that was supposed to be back for voluntary workouts and summer school.
"I don't keep tabs on Smitty's program, because I am not allowed to. However, as far as summer school goes, those that we were expecting to be in summer school are all here and are working, going through summer school."
And finally, about the great reception that OU, and he and his staff, received during the spring evaluation period around the country.
"Sure, we have a good base of players that we are looking at in recruiting. We don't have many scholarships to give this year, and I think everybody realizes that. That's really a good thing - because that means we don't have a whole bunch of seniors. I think we only have eight seniors on the whole. So it will be a low recruiting class that won't have a great deal of numbers, but like always we anticipate great quality players."
"We just don't have as many decisions to make. We don't have as many players at each position that we are used to recruiting and we will be hopefully smart on what we do, and still get quality and great players like we have in the past."
And if he considers this year's team to be the youngest he's had in some time.
"Well we were younger a year ago. No, we had more young guys a year ago than maybe I was used to in many places. We'll be a lot more experienced this year, but we are still going to be a young team that we, (coaches), need to grow up and mature quickly. If we do we'll have a great chance for an awfully good year.'
And finally, if Heisman Trophy candidate Adrian Peterson is back at 100%.
"Sure, he looks good and he's at 100 percent, and has been all through spring. He's a terror when you watch him in the weight room, running in the off-season as he is absolutely amazing what he is able to handle. So I would anticipate that he will have another great summer and have himself in great shape like he always does for the year."
Camp Stars . . .
With the first week of June, summer camps, heat and humidity returned to the OU campus. You may think that the coaches dread coaching hundreds of kids, most with marginal ability, after working with college talent for a year.
"Not really;" one OU coach said. "We actually enjoy it. After all, it's what we do. And remember, it's been six weeks since we could yell at kids, (laughing), so it's good to get back in the groove. But seriously, we're not out here to find the next Adrian Peterson or Tommie Harris, there's a lot of satisfaction in seeing a kid that you know may never play college ball, improve his skills and technique and become a better ball player. For us, that's the fun of the camp."
Of the hundred s of kids that camp at OU, several always get a 'wow' look. Myron Rolle did it several years ago, and the news of Oklahoma offering a sophomore-to-be made Myron an overnight star, and a recruiting target for every top school in the country.
There may not have been any Myron Rolle's this year, (in case Bobby Bowden is still reading our reports), but several players did impress, some that were not known a week or so ago.
Let's start with the senior prospects: Once again, wide receiver Corey Wilson of Carrollton, Texas, who is the younger brother of former Sooner Travis Wilson, made a great impression and is close to earning a scholarship offer. Another senior prospect getting close to an OU offer was (DE/LB) Jared Glover (6-4 / 210) of Bixby. At this point neither has been offered, but both were impressive enough to send coaches scrambling to figure out where each might fit in, and an offer for either or both could come very shortly. In any other year these two would already be on the offer list.
OU linebacker commitment Austin Box of Enid, Okla., showed up on Sunday, along with quarterback prospect G.J. Kinne, and WR/CB Ryan Broyles of Norman. Broyles did well and worked hard, but he still does not have an offer from OU. However, he is being recruited by the Sooners, and an official offer could come much like it did last year for Norman teammate Mosis Madu, early this fall.
Muskogee running back Dre Stout looked great. Stout is still drawing attention from OU, but he has not been offered at this time and is working hard to get his grades in order as he is retaking two to three classes this summer. Other seniors who will be watched closely this fall include WR Zac Simpson of Miami, OK; Enid's (OL) Cody Cook; and QB Joe Chaisson of Beaumont Westbrook, Texas.
Kickers are always overlooked, but two stood out and either could get an OU offer later this summer.
Wesley Bryan is a kicker out of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas (Florida), who has a strong leg and put on quite a show, as did Jimmy Stevens of Oklahoma City's Heritage Hall. Bryan can place kick and punt, while Stevens is considered one of the top five place kickers in the country.
A Few Future Prospects . . .
Several juniors, (to be), really had a great camp, starting with three outstanding athletes from Gilmer, Texas. Junior-to-be running back Justin Johnson (6-3 / 210), OL David Snow (6-4 / 277 / 5.32) and athlete Lamont Harris all impressed coaches at the camp throughout the three days. All are projected as top-100 players in Texas next year.
Muskogee (junior) wide receiver Jameel Owens (6'4 / 215 / 4.5) is a tremendous prospect that is ranked as the top junior WR in Oklahoma and one of the very best in the country. He showed excellent skills and OU has a great chance with him. Rougher teammate DT/DE Stacey McGee (6'4, 285), also looks like he'll be among Oklahoma's top dozen in state prospects next year.
Wichita North also sent three impressive athletes to the OU camp. Linebacker/Arthur Brown (6-3, 220) drew rave reviews along with running back Jeffery Evans. Norman High has another Madu to watch as junior to be Chika Madu (5-9, 160) made some heads turn in camp, along with WR/CB Carlos Sanders of Carthage, Mo. Tulsa Washington junior OL John Williams (6-3, 300) has been drawing attention for a couple of years and he didn't disappoint at the camp.
Impressive sophomores (to be) included Wichita running back Bryce Brown (6-0, 180), Arthur's younger brother, that we'll be talking about in a year or two, and Norman North QB Tyler Tettleton who also threw well in camp. Tyler is the son of former major leaguer and OSU Cowboy Mickey Tettleton.
Must be the Water . . .
On a side note, it's obvious from this report that Muskogee is quickly becoming one of the top two or three prospect mines in Oklahoma. The good news for OU is that Muskogee has been an 'OU town' since Eddie Crowder and the Burris brothers of the early fifties, and has sent the Sooners more All Americans than almost any other school in the state. It will be interesting to see if the trend continues. Of course, OU has already received a commit from top Rougher Jontae Bumpus this year.
Still Kicking . . .
Last week we reported that Michael Cohen, (Kilgore JC), the all-conference selection who averaged 43.8 yards per punt, had given OU a non binding verbal commitment. This week Cohen confirmed that the pledge is solid.
"I talked to Coach Stoops, and he told me they're depending on me, and they need me up there," Cohen said. "He made me feel like he believed in me. I had given my word (to OU) back in May, and I don't like going back on my word."
Jimmy Rieves, (Kilgore JC head coach) believes that the Sooners will be getting the best punter in America.
"He's got a very strong leg. He's consistent, and he's a very intelligent punter," Rieves said. "He was probably our most valuable player."
Recruiting . . .
Primetime defensive end Richetti Jones of Dallas Lincoln, Texas is taking an unofficial visit to OU this weekend and on Friday he and his family got the grand tour of the OU campus, including the Switzer Center and the OU football facilities. Jones is simply in the process of looking at his top choices and no decision is expected in the near future.
Perhaps the one undecided prospect that offers the most intrigue is Gilmer QB G.J. Kinne, (6-3, 215), who showed up in Norman for OU's camp. He does indeed have an OU offer, but not an 'official' offer at QB, yet.
You can say that Oklahoma is simply too stupid, or too honest here, depending on your allegiances. Most schools tell a recruit exactly what he wants to hear, and let the chips fall where they may. OU prefers to lay all the cards on the table and offer straight talk. As of now, Kinne is being recruited as an athlete, but that could change sometime in the near future, as he showed great skills at camp, particularly in leadership skills and innovation.
Kinne agrees that his performance in Norman this week was a good one: "It went real well. I thought I threw the ball pretty well. I just wanted to go there and have some fun with my friends. Houston Tuminello, Lamar Harris, Justin Johnson (top junior running back) and David Snow were all at the camp and we all had a good time. Justin and David went through the whole camp while me and Houston just went up there on Sunday. I think all of them loved the camp. In talking to Coach Heupel and all the coaches, they all said that the Gilmer kids just shined. We are humble, but I think we can say that we pretty much dominate all the camps that we go to. We have fun when we go to those camps."
"Coach Heupel told me to call him today and I tried, but I couldn't get hold of him. He said I did real well and they wanted to really think about offering me as a quarterback. So, I still need to get hold of him. They have offered me as an athlete."
Right now Kinne is looking hardest at OU, Baylor, Florida and Tennessee.
"Baylor has offered me as a quarterback. Florida has not offered me yet, but they said they wanted me to go to their camp and they might offer me as a quarterback then. Tennessee has offered me as a quarterback."
It's pretty apparent from where we sit that Oklahoma was impressed this week and is almost convinced that Kinne can indeed play QB on a championship level, and we believe that the secondary (QB) offer will likely be forthcoming.
The OU - Texas chess game continues and this week Christian Scott, (6'0 ½, 197, 4.4), of Dallas Skyline was offered by the Horns after returning from his visit to Oklahoma. This could mean that UT is either unhappy with their current commits, they put more stock in OU's evaluations, or that they are just messing with Sooner recruits from the Lone Star state.
Scott, one of the top safeties in Texas, has over 25 offers.
It works both ways however, as OU continues to court UT OL commit Tray Allen (6-4½ / 290 / 5.3), of Grand Prairie. While Allen gives OU no real signs of any impending switch, he at least does take phone calls, and even if he cuts the Sooners off, could become very interested if things go well for OU in Dallas in October.
Oklahoma Commitments for 2007 . . .
The Sooners have five commitments so far, leaving - we project, about 9 or 10 to go. You first heard about the newest one (cornerback Desmond Jackson, (6'1 / 190 /4.5), Seguin, Texas), right here a few days ago. Jackson is so good that you can argue that he is the best cornerback in Lone Star State. And at worst, one of the top two corners in Texas. On Thursday, Jackson committed to Oklahoma.
"I was talking to Bob Stoops and I like the way he carries himself. OU was one of my top two choices anyway. I was going to go there or Texas." Jackson had seven offers from OU, Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, SMU and TCU. "I just think Oklahoma gives me the better opportunity to play than Texas," he said. "That's a great game and I look forward to playing against Texas at OU," said Jackson.
Desmond finished last season with seven interceptions, six of which were returned for touchdowns. He finished with 70 tackles, 13 tackles-for-loss and five sacks. He also returned one punt return for a touchdown (83 yards) and one kick return for a touchdown (91). As a sophomore, Jackson had 85 tackles and 13 pass break-ups.
Jackson can bench 305 pounds, squats 425 and he has posted a vertical jump 33-inches. Jackson is also the starting point guard in hoops and averages 12 points per game. In track, he runs 4X100 (anchor), 4X200 (third leg) and the sprint relay (second or anchor leg). He also participates in the high jump (6'4).
Jackson joins Jamell Fleming and those two should close out the CB recruiting.
CB Jamell Fleming - (5-11 / 197 / 4.5) Arlington TX - Sequin HS. Fleming is one of those lockdown, crackdown type of cornerbacks that allows a defense to do some crazy things in the secondary and with the rest of the defense. He can take away one side of the secondary and leave all the other three players to any number of zones.
DE Jontae Bumpus - (6-4 / 220 / 4.6) Muskogee, OK. Bumpus finished with 96 tackles, four sacks and 17 tackles for losses. Big frame projects a +250 lb DE in time. Bumpus runs the 200M (23.5) and 400M (54.9) in track and he will also play basketball next year.
LB Austin Box - (6-3 / 217 / 4.6), Enid, OK. Box is one amazing athlete, playing anywhere and everywhere, including QB last year when Box threw for 1,400 yards, rushed for and 28 total touchdowns, while also making 70 tackles and three interceptions on defense. Probably the top player in Oklahoma this year.
LB Mike Reed - (6-3 / 250 / 4.6), Yuba JC, Marysville, CA. Reed, a devastating middle linebacker, was the first to commit as Brent Venables wasted no time in getting this human wrecking ball on the dotted line on March 29. Played HS ball in Vero Beach, Florida, had offers form Florida, Auburn and several SEC teams but just missed qualifying and decided to hone his skills at JC.
New Offers . . .
Oklahoma is very much in the hunt for three of the top OLs in the country: Lee Ziemba of Rogers, Arkansas, Ryan Miller of Denver Columbine, Colorado and Matt Romine of Tulsa Union. This week the Sooners added another great OL prospect to that list, Po'u Palelei of Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman), Nevada.
Obviously, OU has been watching Palelei since he was opening up gaping holes for/Demarco Murrayat Gorman. The best way to describe Po'u on the football field is 'unmovable object'. He has been a top performer at both the 2005 and 2006 U.S. Army All-American combines.
Many believe that Palelei will stay out west, either in the Pac 10 or at BYU, but former Gorman stars Ryan Reynolds and now Demarco Murray may be able to sway Po'u to Oklahoma.
There are four offensive lineman on Oklahoma's radar screen that are on the verge of getting an official offer, obviously depending on room. While the four mentioned above are unquestionably the top four Sooner OL prospects, it's unlikely that OU will get more than 2 of the four.
There are four very good ones waiting by the phone: Thomas Edenfield (6-6 / 295) from Jacksonville, Florida; Rex McDougld at 6-2 / 290, (currently a Baylor commit), from Iola, Texas; Anthony Morgan (6-4 / 335) of Lancaster, Texas; and Aaron Allen, the 6-8 monster out of Houghton, Kansas.
Ventura, California athlete Blaine Irby, (6'3 / 230 / 4.55), is also on the 'Probable' list, along with Chandler Arizona's Kerry Taylor (6'1 /180 /4.5), at WR.
"My top schools right now are ASU, USC and Cal," said Taylor. "I like Oklahoma a lot, but I really haven't had the opportunity to talk to them much. One of their coaches came by my school and told my coaches that they were very interested in me. I have been receiving letters from them and I do have interest in them."
Official Offers on the Table . . .
We'll stick with our prediction that OU will give 15 scholarships in 2007, although the number could be as low as 12, or as high as 17. And here's what our class position projections look like at the moment:
QB: 0 to 1; RB: 1; WR: 2 (one slot and one wide); OL: 3; DE: 2; LB 2 (done); DB: 3; K: 1; TE and FB - probably none.
Just don't ask us 'how?'
Here are the Official OU offers, (to uncommitted prospects), that are out there as of June 2, 2006. As we have explained, the evaluation process continues and more will come over the next 3 - 4 months. Also, keep in mind that many of these prospects project on both sides of the ball. They are most often listed at their primary high school position.
Frank Alexander DE (6'4 ½ / 229 / 4.7), Baton Rouge, LA (Southern Lab)
Tray Allen OL (6-4½ / 290 / 5.3), Grand Prairie, TX (South) committed to UT, but still talking to OU.
Rolando Barragan DT/DE (6-3 / 262 / 4.8) El Camino JC (CA)
Ben Bass DE/OL (6-4 / 260 / 4.9), Plano, TX (West) - down to OU and Texas A&M.
Arrelious Benn WR (6'2 / 208 / 4.4), Washington D.C. (Dunbar)
Ron Brooks SR (6-0 / 170 / 4.5) Irving, TX (MacArthur)
Dez Bryant WR (6-1 / 203 / 4.6) Lufkin, TX
Javario Burkes OL (6'6½ / 300 / 5.2), Phoenix, AZ (Moon Valley)
Lennon Creer RB (6-1 / 195 / 4.45), Tatum, TX
Dewey Elliot (6-1 / 240 / 4.6), Fairfield, OH
Everson Griffen DE (6-4 / 265 / 4.55), Avondale, AZ
Chad Jones Ath (6-3 / 220 / 4.5) Baton Rouge, LA (Southern Lab)
Gerald Jones (6-1/190/4.49) OKC (Millwood)
Richetti Jones DE (6'3½ / 235 / 4.7) Dallas, TX (Lincoln)
G.J. Kinne QB (6-1 / 215 / 4.6) Gilmer, Texas
James Kirkendoll SR (5-11 / 178 / 4.4), of Round Rock, TX
Travis Lewis S - Ath (6'2, 220, 4.34), San Antonio, TX (Lee)
Pat Lazear (6-1 / 235 / 4.6), Bethesda, Maryland
Greg Little WR (6-3 / 205 / 4.5) Durham, NC (Hillside)
Jermaine Love Ath (5-11.5 / 206 / 4.4) Garland, TX (North)
Ryan Miller OL (6-8 / 280 / 5.1), of Littleton, CO
Po'u Palelei OL (6-3 / 314 / 5.8) Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman)
Sam Proctor Ath (6'1 / 205 / 4.4), Pearland, TX
Joseph Reese RB (6-2 / 190 / 4.4), of Pflugerville, TX
Matt Romine OL (6-6 / 275 / 5.2) Tulsa, OK (Union)
Christian Scott (6'0 / 185 / 4.4) Dallas, TX (Skyline)
Terrance Toliver WR (6'5 / 185 / 4.4), Hempstead, TX
Doug Wiggins (5-10, 185, 4.5), Miami, FL (North Miami Beach HS)
Lee Ziemba OL (6-7 / 295 / 5.2) Rogers, AR
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