OUInsider Weekend Wrap-up (6/24)

The OUInsider Weekend Wrap-Up is THE source for Sooner football information, including recruiting and in season reports. It runs 36 weeks each year, from the first weekend in June until the first weekend after signing day in February. All OUInsider reporters contribute to and compile the weekly report.

Workouts Continue . . . DB's Shine

Now two weeks into summer workouts and, all in all, the Sooner strength and speed staff is pleased with the progress so far. As a unit, the defensive backs are impressing as they generally complete their drills and then come back for more. One of the bright spots on the DB unit is certainly freshman sensation Quentin Carter, who enrolled in January, and appears to be working his way into some serious competition at safety.

Carter is not a freshman from a 'poise' and maturity standpoint, and is really filling out in the weight room. He has great instincts at safety and just has a knack for how to play it. If you recall, Carter was offered last November when scholarships became scarce and the staff decided that several 'highly rated' DB prospects were grade and character risks.

At the time, Bobby Jack Wright suggested that Carter was probably as good as any safety in the country, and encouraged the Sooners to offer. One thing that (thankfully) held Carters' recruit ranking down was the fact that he played quarterback, tailback as well as almost every other skill position on the field for Chaparral High school in Las Vegas. But the staff looked at film, agreed and now the Sooners appear to have been pretty smart, or very lucky.

Quentin realized that he could have been higher ranked had he only played one, or two positions. But he was so dynamic on the field that his team looked to him to carry them.

"It'll be better when I can concentrate on doing one thing instead of having to try to be a Superman," Carter said after his signing with OU. "I can learn my roles and handle one responsibility."

"I have always been an athlete playing all over the place," said Carter. "I've played quarterback, tailback, wide receiver, cornerback, linebacker and safety. I always liked safety because I like to hit. I like to hit and go after the ball, and I love to go after the ball and get interceptions."

It's always fun to get an eyewitness report, and we did get one from Senior MLB Zach Latimer, who gave us his take on impressive performances - so far:

"Man, everybody is impressive. But I'll tell you who really stands out to me is Reggie Smith. To see him going through workouts in 7-on-7 is amazing. Every day he just gets better. He looks like he is going to be the real deal. When it is all said and done, he is going to be one of the best to walk out of here."

Thanks Zach, we suspect that Reggie will appreciate the added pressure!

Zach also gave us his take on Smitty's annual summer boot camp and death march.

"Nothing has changed since the first year that I was here. We still get the whole gamut and everything that you have heard about it. We get whatever he has in his mind when he wakes up that is going to get us better today. He is going to come out here and throw it on you. You just have to survive through it, but it doesn't do anything but get you better. You work hard knowing it is going to benefit you in the long run. It hurts going through it, but it will all help out."

Receivers Improving . . .

The wide receiver corps is still young but continues to improve and develop, and one the standouts in almost every workout is sophomore Malcolm Kelly, who always displays a great work ethic, on top of athletic ability. Senior Paul Thompson has become a great leader and is also excelling in almost every drill. Younger receivers that are looking good include, Quentin Chaney, Fred Strong and Eric Huggins.

At this time last year Rhett Bomar and Chaney had developed a real connection in routes and timing, and for a while last summer it appeared that Chaney would be the number one target when Rhett ascended to the QB throne room. However, Quentin somehow lost the 'Chaney touch' sometime between July and September, but it appears that he is regaining that.

The question will remain until kickoff if this was due to youth, or is Chaney just not quite ready?

Oftentimes we expect freshmen to show up and immediately star, when in fact it usually takes even the best athletes a few years to adjust and develop to college football. We have to remember that most of these players still have several years ahead of them.

Make no mistake about it if the wide receivers at OU should be very good this year, and it will likely be because of a trio of sophomores who proved their worth last year as true freshman.

"I think Malcolm Kelly is a big guy who is more than capable of being a big time player. He has already made some big plays for us. Juaquin (Iglesias) is very, very fast and very athletic and he has some great skill," said receivers coach Kevin Sumlin.

"Manuel (Johnson) is the fastest of the bunch and as time comes he is working hard in the weight room and he is the guy who, and this is hard to say for a guy who runs a 4.4 already, but he can improve physically and really make some strides physically and really make some strides for us. I was really pleased how far Paul Thompson progressed in the spring. I think he is working at it, he wants to do it and he is getting better. Yeah, he has some limitations and he is behind a little bit, but he showed in a couple of scrimmages that he is capable."

Throw in the tremendous talents of Adron Tennell and Brandon Caleb, and out of the bunch the Sooners are going to come up with some players who will have a major impact on the offense in 2006. The spots at the bottom of the rotation are wide open, giving a number of new players opportunities to prove that they belong on the field next season.

One freshman that currently has the staff gasping in amazement is Ardmore TE/WR Jermaine Gresham.

When Jermaine came in, he was not expected to contribute due to ACL surgery following his senior season. However his progress has been so spectacular than some have said he'll play this year and could possibly star.

Of course at this point all of that is total speculation, but certainly better than getting a report that, 'he's rehabbing the knee and he is on schedule.'

One S&S staff member commented; "He's participating in 7 on 7 drills, and you really wouldn't know that he's even had surgery. He's really fluid out there."

He is such a great athlete that Kevin Wilson and the offensive staff will likely find a way to use him this year in the offense. A 6'7 TE that can run and jump will cause opponents severe match up problems in a two TE set, or as an inside receiver in a four-WR set. Sure, the major powers may have taller DB's to handle the situation, but week in and week out, it should be 'advantage OU' if the OL can hold a block giving Bomar adequate time to deliver the ball.

To put it in perspective, Gresham is having the same kind of eye popping early success that Adrian Peterson showed when he arrived in Norman two years ago. In Peterson's case, it was somewhat expected, but Gresham was never expected to show this kind of promise this early.

Also, converted DE to TE Brody Eldridge is also progressing and looking good, but may still be a year away from contributing in a significant way. Again, Eldridge is another example of expecting newcomers arriving from high school to dominate day one.

That doesn't happen very often, as there are very few Adrian Peterson's - and possibly Jermaine Gresham's. As a better judge of his progress, consider that the staff is content with the TE's now on the squad and will likely not offer, or sign another TE this year.

The Offense Line According to Sumlin & Quinn . . .

We also heard from both Kevin Sumlin and J.D. Quinn this week, and both coach and player are actually pretty pleased with the way the offensive line is coming together. However the Sooners are loaded with talent at several positions and no matter if it is the offensive line or the wide receivers, you are going to see coaches move players around early in preseason camp trying to find the right combinations for success.

"We will be trying to find the right combinations and trying to find what works," said Sumlin. "Sometimes what we thought was going to be the best combination might not be the best combination. Sometimes it is the guys who can communicate the best who actually play the best. It is not always about talent. It is about talent and working together. There is a whole lot of things happening when that ball is snapped and those guys have to put it out and get it done. A lot of time the most talented player may not be the best player who can play at an early age."

"First we have some young talented guys that as they get experience they will get better," said Sumlin. "Number two is finding a position that is right for them. Some guys are better guards, and some guys are better left guards than right guards. Then finding tackles is the hardest thing and then center. Once you find those guys then you have to find the five guys, or the six or seven that work together.

"Defenses have changed a bunch and with all the different looks and blitzing and we have to be able to communicate. So those five guys have to work together, and I think Coach (James) Patton is looking for five guys that want to work as a nickel, and not as five pennies - and that's the key. We are going to work towards that and Coach Patton is going to do a really good job of that."

As a freshman, J.D. Quinn played in 11 games (starting four). He earned a spot on the Sporting News All-Freshman team, but he was bothered by a shoulder injury toward the end of the year. He then had off-season shoulder surgery to correct the problem, which forced him to sit out spring practice.

Quinn is healthy now and has been released to go full-speed this summer. He will go into preseason camp one of the favorites to start at right guard for the Sooners, and if Jon Cooper isn't totally all the way back, Quinn could move over and play center. But Quinn doesn't care where he plays. He just wants to play.

Quinn agrees that the OL is showing promise and confidence, and says he already sees the line coming together this year and has noticed a couple of linemen that he believes are really setting the pace this summer.

"Chris Messer always works hard and he gets everything out of practice that he can get. Branndon Braxton is also playing well and working hard. I think I am doing pretty well. I would like to see some of those younger guys, (new freshmen), in a workout, but they are in a different group. We did work with them once and they all seem to be coming along pretty well."

Sumlin agreed that hard work and leadership are the keys to any team getting better during the summer months, and thinks it's always critical that older players step up and lead:

"Paul Thompson came through (last summer), and he and Chris Messner are the only two seniors we have on offense; and I think people have forgotten about that, and those two guys have been around here for a long time. The rest of the guys are sophomores and redshirt freshman, so those two guys have to be leaders for us when it comes to offense. What we talk to young players about is before you can lead with your mouth you need to lead by example. You need to set the tone with the way you work out, the way you make plays and the way you play in games and practice. That has been our big focus in spring and our big focus has been that we are going to make plays and we are going to do things the right way. We are going to set the pace and lead by example and the other part of that will come."

More from J.D . . .

It's no wonder that Quinn mentioned Messner and Braxton among the OL headliners. Messner has increased his bench from 340 to 370, and is working hard to push it even more. Braxton has the best vertical among the OL, with an amazing 34.5".

But J.D. also realizes that most Sooner fans are agonizing over the Offensive Line and have made it the key to OU's run at a championship season. Quinn understands their concerns, but welcomes the challenge, and also sees a tremendous opportunity along the Sooner front under new line coach James Patton:

"Shoot, this is the best time to be an offensive lineman at OU. If you are any kind of competitor you have to realize you have a chance to play or start in the offensive line right now. The opportunity is there and you just have to make it happen. We have a new offensive line coach here and that is a good thing."

"Coach Wilson was great and was fair with us and did a great job, but now we get a new coach that doesn't know much about us and we get a chance to make a new impression on him. So each of us has a clean slate to show him what we can do. I'm loving it, and can't wait to get out and show I belong on that field this season."

Before we leave the O-Line, we have to give an update on Jon Cooper. Cooper is on schedule, despite some rumors that he was behind. He's not behind schedule, he's not ahead, but he's right where he needs to be at this date. The S&S staff is bringing him along with the single goal of starting the opening game against UAB.

In order for this to happen, he may keep from overworking in August, but everything is centered around his expected start on September 2 vs UAB - and the S&S staff has been asked to bring Cooper along slowly in order to meet the goal, and they are confident that he'll be ready.

Cooper has been cleared for all summer workouts, but he'll take some slowly, and continue working on lateral movement. The bottom line is that the staff, and Cooper, will do whatever it takes to see him starting at center on September 2.

Despite the limitations over the past several months to his lower body, Cooper hasn't exactly been sleeping, as he and Ben Barresi are locked in a death match competition for the best OL bench press. At last report, Cooper was only a few pounds behind Barresi (420), with best of 415.

The 'Bad News' Report . . .

And for fodder to satisfy the 'you guys are always so positive crowd,' we'll report that one area that has not come into it's own as of this date is at fullback, where three players are fighting to duplicate J.D. Runnel's success. That's a tall order, but Dane Zaslaw, Matt Clapp and Ian Pleasant are giving it a try.

One coach commented on Runnel's, "J.D. had a terrific junior year and a solid senior campaign. Although everyone would want one, we don't necessarily need a crushing 'knockdown' blocker back there. Sure, a 'knockdown' looks good on highlight tapes, but just getting in front of someone and not giving ground is effective most of the time. And when you have an Adrian Peterson, all you really need to do is wall off for a moment and your job is pretty well done."

Zaslaw, is a junior from Edmond, Clapp is a Phoenix sophomore and Ian Pleasant was moved from linebacker, where the former walk-on earned the respect of coaches and players for his tenacity and competitive spirit. At the moment, Zaslaw leads the close race, as Clapp has been slowed by a neck stinger, but should be able to return to a more reckless, physical style before two-a-days begin.

All three are in the 6-0, 225 - 235 range, and capable of the kind of physical play at the line of scrimmage that Kevin Wilson and his staff are looking for, and under Wilson we'll probably see the fullback get a few more carries in certain situations.

Recruiting . . .

We've talked at length about numbers this year, and how the Sooner staff has been forced to drastically curtail their offers. At this time last year, the 'offer list' had almost 140 names on it, this year - about one hundred less.

Or, to say it another way, Oklahoma has only offered 40 prospects for 2007, and are 'recruiting' another 40. By that we mean there are 40 officials out there, and another 40 that the staff believes can elevate the Sooner team - if the first 40 opt elsewhere.

There are many on that 'second 40' list that are phenomenal prospects, but in years of almost no availability, the staff is forced to 'rank' players according to need, and how they fit the OU system. Size, strength, speed, aptitude, attitude, character, grades are all a part of that equation.

It's certainly no knock to think that there are 5 prospects in the entire country at your son's position, and that your son 'only' ranks as the fourth best, but still has no official offer from Oklahoma. However, that's reality this year, and those very talented prospects are the ones we say OU is still 'recruiting,' although they don't yet have an official offer. A great local example is Norman's Ryan Broyles, who this staff is very high on, but at this time doesn't have that written offer, yet could get one as early as this fall.

We have made many references to 'athletes' who can play multiple positions, as being highly sought in years of few scholarships, as they placate both offensive and defensive staffs.

However, another often overlooked area by many fans is special teams play. The Sooners realize that dominance on special teams is necessary to win it all. Frankly, that's probably an area that has not been as strong as it was a few years ago. OU coaches are aware of it and seek to change that, and many of these 'athletes' will make a difference there.

Naturally, fans cringe when a young player does not redshirt and is used sparingly at his position, and talk show hosts rail on the coaching staff for making personnel blunders. However, his contributions on special teams are overlooked.

One example would be sophomore Nic Harris, who did not redshirt last year as a freshman, started a few early season games and saw less PT in November. But Harris is big enough to be on the front line on kickoffs. The added bonus is that he has great hands, is very fast, and can make an opponent believe that he just hit a brick wall.

Multiply that ten times over and you can see how these guys can literally transform a good team into a great team. We've seen Frank Beamer do it at Virginia Tech now for over a decade, and the Sooner staff also prescribes to the same philosophy.

So when we're throwing out all kinds of names and fans are pulling their hair asking; 'where are these guys going to play?' - the quick answer is, initially anyway, 'on special teams.'

ATHLETES: Projected: 1 - 4 / Current Commitments: 0

We'll lead off this week's report with the versatile, athletic types we've been talking about. All are capable of playing multiple positions, and almost all can play on either side of the ball. We project 1 - 4 athletes to come in with the class signing next February. Any of the prospects on this list would be a huge boost to Oklahoma's future.

Athlete Prospects:

Kamar Aiken,
FS/WR, (6'2 / 205 / 4.4), Hollywood, (Chaminade Madonna Prep) FL
Ben Bass DE/OL (6-4 / 260 / 4.9), Plano, TX (West)
Billy Chavis, Ath, (6'5 / 227 /4.7), Beaumont, (Westbrook), TX (future offer pending)
Dewey Elliot (6-1 / 240 / 4.6), Fairfield, OH
Chad Jones Ath (6-3 / 220 / 4.5) Baton Rouge, LA (Southern Lab)
Gerald Jones (6-1/190/4.49) OKC (Millwood)
Cameron Jordan DE (6-4 / 240), Chandler, Arizona (future offer pending)
G.J. Kinne QB (6-1 / 215 / 4.6) Gilmer, Texas
Travis Lewis S - Ath (6'2, 220, 4.34), San Antonio, TX (Lee)
Jermaine Love Ath (5-11½ / 206 / 4.4), Garland, TX (North)
Sam Proctor Ath (6-1 / 205 / 4.4), Pearland, TX
Doug Wiggins, Ath, (5-10½ / 185 / 4.5), North Miami Beach, FL

One of the newest OU offers went to Kamar Aiken, an aggressive, hard hitting safety prospect from Florida. Aiken is athletic enough to also be a wide receiver prospect at the next level, a position he prefers as of now.

Aiken caught 10 passes a year ago for 128 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also made over 50 tackles from his free safety position. He will play both wide receiver and free safety again this year. He can bench 255 pounds, squats 405 and he posted a 39-inch vertical jump. Aiken also starts in hoops where he averages 18 points and 14 rebounds per game. In track, Aiken runs the 200M (22.0) and the 4X100 relay.

The bad new here is that Aiken currently list Florida and FSU as his current favorites, and he's also seriously considering Miami. We've mentioned the 'Florida Rule' here before; (You can get a prospect out of Florida, but if he's also got Florida, Miami, and FSU in his final list, he'll likely find something he likes in one of those before he leaves the state).

But in recruiting, things can change; Oklahoma is pretty high profile this year, and that never hurts. One stunning win on national TV can ignite a lot of dreams, and dispel a lot of doubt. And at Miami, the 'Larry Coker Honeymoon' is officially over as attendance and complaining are heading in two different directions.

We've mentioned G.J. Kinne (6-1 / 215 / 4.6), Gilmer, Texas as being the lone entry in the QB race, but for now his offer from OU is as an athlete. We still believe that Kinne will be recruited as a QB, after the Sooner staff sees how he runs the offense at his new school (Gilmer). Therefore we expect OU to offer him in the next 90 days as a QB.

A few of us on this staff love Jermaine Love (5-11½ / 206 / 4.4), from Garland, Texas (North High). The big question is - 'where does he play?,' (the obvious answer - anywhere he wants). At 6-0 and 206 pounds, Love runs a 4.46 and benches an amazing 330. The Sooners, Arizona and Iowa State are slight leaders over Texas, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Washington State and OSU.

Travis Lewis (6'2, 220, 4.4), San Antonio, (Lee) projects as a safety, linebacker or running back. Like current Sooner Quentin Carter, the fact that Lewis is so versatile has kept him ranked lower than he should be.

"Some people want me to play running back actually. Most people are looking at me to play linebacker or a safety type position. I don't have a preference. I play running back right now, but I am totally leaving up where I play to the schools.

But when defense is mentioned, Lewis sees to forget the Heisman momentarily; "I love to hit people. That is why I think that I am best suited to play linebacker. I love hearing that 'uhh!'. When they have trouble getting up - I love that."

Although OU is going after Lennon Creer (6-1 / 195 / 4.45), and Joseph Reese hardest at running back, many think Lewis is in the same league, and it's very likely that Lewis could become OU's top RB target if Creer pledges elsewhere. However, if he does, the Sooners still want Lewis, and right now, the Sooners and Nebraska are slightly out in front of almost 20 contenders.

Yet another versatile prospect high on OU's list is OKC Millwood's Gerald Jones, (6-1/190/4.49), who is ranked as the No.19 running back in the country. Jones already has more offers than he needs, and the next several months will be dedicated to narrowing his options down to a final list of five.

"Hopefully I can have it down to seven or eight by the start of the season. Then I should be able to get it down to five and take my officials. I'm still debating and right now I'm just trying to do all my research."

"The graduation percentage of football players," Jones responded when asked what he was looking for in a college. "Academics is very big. Honestly I'm going to be strong on sports because that's No.1 with me because that's what I really want to be. At the same time I want to have the backup, the support academically."

"The tradition of the football team and I'm really big on team unity," he continued. "Since I'm going to be away from home I want to see if the team's a family, I will have to find that out on the visits."

Doug Wiggins, (5-10½ / 185 / 4.5), North Miami Beach, FL is one of the more versatile players in the country. Wiggins does a lot of great things on the playing field, and while he plays under center in high school his future lies at another position.

"It really doesn't matter to me," said Wiggins on what position he'll play in college. "Once I sign with a team, I will just have to sit down with them and see what they want me to do. It really doesn't matter to me which side of the ball I play on. It is not really factor in recruiting right now. Where I would play would depend on the depth of the team, needs and just what the team needs."

Wiggins will go into his senior year as a two-year starter at quarterback and three-year starter at safety. During his sophomore year, he started at several different positions. He was used at running back, fullback, tight end, receiver and quarterback. Last season, Wiggins finished with nine interceptions at safety and corner and over 80 tackles. Offensively, Wiggins had over 1,200 yards of total offense and 14 total touchdowns, three on the ground out of a pro I-formation.

Naturally, people assume that Doug favors hometown school Miami, but the level headed Wiggins says that may not be the case:

"I didn't really grow up rooting for any particular team," said Wiggins. "I've lived in Miami all my life and I would love to see some other parts of the country. I don't have a problem with staying home and going to Miami, if that is the best thing for me to do. I have great offers from some great schools and I am going to find the best school for me. It doesn't matter where it is located."

Make no mistake, Wiggins has over 30 offers and can pick any school in the country, so what are the Sooners chances?

"I like Oklahoma. They are a great school," said Wiggins. "I need to find out some more information about them and just learn more about them. I need to find out about their depth at the positions I play. They are talking to me about playing safety, corner, wide receiver and as a return man. I return kicks now, but I don't get many chances."

Although OU initially thought of Wiggins as a CB, he certainly has the bulk and ability to play safety, and in addition to return man, that is his most likely college position in the Sooner system.

We mentioned that Oklahoma has 40 outstanding official offers, and another 40 tremendous prospects that are very likely to receive offers as numbers open up over the next five months. One of those athletes that will likely get a Sooner offer is Beaumont's Billy Chavis, (6'5 / 227 / 4.7), a versatile big man now is drawing attention as a tight end and defensive end. When we say versatile, it's almost like the reincarnation of Dan Cody.

"If I had a wish I would play quarterback. When I started my sophomore year I started at quarterback, but we just didn't have a great concept on offense with that coaching staff. We went 2-8, but I still had close to 1,000 yards passing, and that was in the 10th grade. Since then I have played running back, wide receiver, free safety and strong safety. This year I am going to play wide receiver, free safety and strong safety. Most colleges are recruiting me to play tight end or slot receiver. That is OK with me just, as long as I can get on the field."

Does Chavis, who has almost 20 offers, have any interest in Oklahoma?

"I love Oklahoma. I have been watching Oklahoma just as long as I have Texas A&M or Miami, but I haven't really heard from OU. I am not sure what their interest is, but if they call I would certainly have an interest in OU."

RUNNING BACK - Projected: 1 / Current Commitments: 0

Running Back Prospects:

Lennon Creer RB
(6-1 / 195 / 4.45), Tatum, TX
Joseph Reese RB (6-2 / 190 / 4.4), of Pflugerville, TX ('Soft' A&M Commitment)

OU still has a top two here, and they remain Lennon Creer and A&M 'soft commit' Joseph Reese. So what's the deal with the A&M commit? Reese explains that recruiting is a two way street, and he believes that it was A&M that turned his commitment 'soft.'

"I didn't want to take anymore phone calls," Reese said. "Coach Fran talked to my dad. He told my dad that they wouldn't be taking any other running backs this year (if I committed)."

However, Reese was tipped off to A&M's possible recruitment of another running back, and now says that he will also look around.

"Yeah, I am going to take all of my visits. I want to take visits to USC, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M."

It's still unclear whether UT withdrew the offer to Creer when he blew past the June 4th deadline that was imposed on him by Mack Brown. "If you don't commit to us by June 4th we're going to go in another direction," (presumably 'South'). Creer called Mack's bluff and declined to make a decision by that date, and it looks like Mack is ready to fold, and wait it out along with Miami, LSU and Oklahoma.

RECIEVERS - Projected: 2 / Current Commitments: 0
Receiver Prospects:

Arrelious Benn
WR (6'2 / 205 / 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
James Kirkendoll SR (5-11 / 178 / 4.4), of Round Rock, TX
Greg Little WR (6-3 / 205 / 4.5) Durham, NC (Hillside)
Terrance Toliver WR (6-5 / 188 / 4.4), Hempstead, TX
Corey Wilson, (6-0 / 185 / 4.4), Carrollton (Creekview HS), TX

Without a doubt, Terrance Toliver (6-5 / 188 / 4.4), from Hempstead, Texas may be the Sooner's top target at wide out. The bad news is that Tolliver is everyone's else's top target as well.

"The schools I am looking at are Oklahoma, LSU, Miami, Florida, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Those are ones I like right now. I don't have a favorite. I am just trying to get to know those schools."

"Oklahoma is going to compete for the National Championship next year. I have seen some of the preseason magazines and they are ranked No. 1 in some of them. I like their offense. They run a spread offense and it is great for the receivers."

We've mentioned that the Sooners need two receivers, a slot and a wide out. The perfect 'slot' receiver, Ron Brooks, (6-0 / 170 / 4.5), resides down the road in Irving, Texas.

Brooks currently has scholarship offers from more than twenty colleges including LSU, Oklahoma, OSU, Florida, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa, Iowa State, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Purdue.

"I'm trying to take my unofficial visits first," Brooks said of his recruiting strategy. "I just want to see the campuses because I might not be able to go there on official visits so I'm trying to see them right now. If I picked my official visits now, they would be Notre Dame, LSU, Oklahoma, Florida and Nebraska."

Lufkin's Dez Bryant is more in the mold of a wide out at 6-1 / 203 / 4.6. He says that d LSU slightly leads over Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and OSU. Bryant also has offers from Nebraska, Iowa State and Colorado. He broke down his top four this week.

"If I had to choose today, I guess I'd choose LSU. I also like Oklahoma's football team because I've watched them play over the years. I haven't spoken to them lately though," Bryant said.

"I have friends and family at A&M, but that's not so important that it's going to make my decision. I like Texas Tech because of the way they talk to me," he said. "They've told me that I am the player they need; that I would fit into their offense perfect; and that I am the wide receiver they are looking for. I do have some big hands, and my height is right for my position.

"I am also looking for coaches who will teach me new things or things I need to know. I want to make a name for myself by going to the NFL. If I can make football a career, it's better than having a job. All I want to do is play football," he said. "But just in case I don't do well in football, I want a college with good academics. My favorite subject is history because it's interesting and it comes easy to me to learn about the past.

"I do plan on waiting through the recruiting process just to see what happens. When it comes to deciding, though, my mom will help me figure out where I should go. Location isn't much of a factor because she will come to see my games no matter what," Bryant said.

Nationally, top ranked WR Arrelious Benn, (6-2 / 205 / 4.4), has still not made arrangements for an official to Oklahoma, but the Sooners are not giving up. Benn still ranks his top five as Illinois, Maryland, Florida State, Notre Dame and USC.

Corey Wilson, (6-0 / 185 / 4.4), of Carrollton (Creekview HS), is the brother of Sooner Travis Wilson. Corey projects as either a slot or wide out, giving OU a bit more 'slack' if he were to decide to take one of the two receiver offers. Wilson is in no rush, but will likely decide before school starts in mid August.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN - Projected: 3 / Current Commitments: 0

Offensive Line Prospects:

Tray Allen
OL (6-4½ / 290 / 5.3), Grand Prairie, TX (committed to UT, but still talking to OU)
Javario Burkes OL (6-6½ / 300 / 5.2), Phoenix, AZ (Moon Valley)
Ryan Miller OL (6-8 / 280 / 5.1), of Littleton, CO
Anthony Morgan, (6-4 / 335), Lancaster, TX (impending offer probable)
Po'u Palelei OL (6-3 / 314 / 5.8) Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman)
Matt Romine OL (6-6 / 275 / 5.2) Tulsa, OK (Union)
Lee Ziemba OL (6-7 / 295 / 5.2) Rogers, AR

The Sooners want to bring in three OL's, and are in on the nation's best, and would glady settle for any three off of the list above.

Ryan Miller OL (6-8 / 280 / 5.1), of Littleton, Colorado is one of the top offensive line prospects in the entire nation. Although he has some interest in the Sooners, they still have not cracked his top five.

"Right now, it would be Notre Dame, Miami, USC, Colorado, and Florida State as my top five," he said. "I'll probably make a late decision. The biggest thing is just what I feel most comfortable with."

Another Notre Dame possibility is Tulsa Union's Matt Romine (6-6 / 275 / 5.2), who has told Notre dame that he'll try to get his mom up sometime in July.

"It's not official yet, but I'm planning it out now. I'll go to Notre Dame first and then go up to Michigan."

As to the rumors from Tulsa patrons suggesting that the new Union coach was pushing Notre Dame, those seem to have been exaggerated, as coach Wright has also put Matt in touch with Irish arch rival Michigan.

"Michigan offered me about a month ago so I thought I'd go check them out," Romine said. "Coach Wright has known (them) and has dealt with them. When he came down here he kind of told them about me. He sent them my tape and they came down and offered me.

"I'll go where I feel the most comfortable," said Romine. "I get a lot of people who tell me I should go to OU. There is some pressure to stay in-state, but it is my decision. My parents don't have any preference about where I go. They'll be happy wherever I choose."

"I've said that I'll get a top-five by the start of football season, and I'm on my way to doing that," Romine explained. "It's looking very good for OU and Notre Dame to be in my top-five right now. Right now I'm basically looking for the other three.

We talked about 40 players that OU was recruiting, but are on a 'bubble' due to numbers. One such prospect is Anthony Morgan, (6-4 / 335), of Lancaster, Texas. Here's how the scenario might play out. If Miller for example, schedules five officials leaving OU on the outside looking in, Morgan probably gets that offer.

It's not like Anthony is some also ran lineman, as if this was last year, he'd have already been offered, but he does admit that OU would easily make his top five.

"I have been offered by Iowa State, OSU, Arizona, Kansas, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Baylor, TCU, Ole Miss, Colorado State and Houston. I have talked to Oklahoma quite a bit and they wanted me to come up to their camp. I still have a big interest in OU. If they offer, they will go right to the top of my list."

DEFENSIVE ENDS - Projected: 2

Current Commitments: 1

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.

Defensive End Prospects:

Frank Alexander
DE (6'4 ½ / 229 / 4.7), Baton Rouge, LA (Southern Lab)
Everson Griffen DE (6-4 / 265 / 4.55), Avondale, AZ
Richetti Jones DE (6'3½ / 235 / 4.6), Dallas, TX (Lincoln)

Clear the decks for Arizona's Everson Griffen (6-4 / 265 / 4.55), ranked as the nation's top DE. This week the Avondale Agua Fria DE wanted to refute the rumors that he was headed to Hollywood.

"I really don't know how that whole thing started, but I am not a silent commit to UCLA or anywhere for that matter."

There have also been some rumors and rumblings that Griffen is a heavy lean towards Arizona, or Arizona State, where he visited last week, or even USC.

Everson also admitted that before taking his unofficial trip Arizona State wasn't even on his short list. "Before I visited the campus ASU was not even on my mind, but after visiting and talking with coaches and seeing their facilities, I would say they are now in my top 7 right even with USC, UCLA, Arizona, Oregon, Michigan and Oklahoma."

"Right now, I'm not interested in committing any time soon. I for sure want to take my visits and get a better feel for the campuses as well as the football aspect of each program; I really want to get to know the coaches better before I make any decision."

Until than the fans of these respective schools will just have to wait and see.

We've been informed that our '40' time for a Mr. Richetti Jones (6'3½ / 235), was off a bit. Jones was listed as running anywhere from a 4.7 to a 4.8 '40'. Others in the know insist that those numbers are too high.

"Just look at his film and then tell me he runs a 4.8," one witness said. "No way, He can run whatever he wants to run, and if rankings are going by 4.8, they're wrong. He's as good as any DE in the country."

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN - Projected: 1 / Current Commitments: 0

Defensive Line Prospects:

Joseph Barksdale
(6-5½ / 315 / 4.9), Detroit, MI (Cass Technical HS)
Rolando Barragan DT/DE (6-3 / 262 / 4.8) El Camino JC (CA)

Although two DT's may be needed, it's likely there's only room for one. The offer list at this position is very short at the moment, as OU apparently has decided that outstanding prospects are all that they'll look at this year.

DEFENSIVE BACKS - Projected: 3

Current Commitments: 2

CB Desmond Jackson,
(6'1 / 190 /4.5), Seguin, Texas). Jackson is one of the top 2 or 3 CB's in Texas this year and 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. Desmond finished his junior year 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.

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.

Defensive Back Prospects:

Christian Scott
(6'0½, 189, 4.4), Dallas, TX (Skyline)
Jermaine Love (5-11½ / 206 / 4.4) Garland, TX (North)

Dallas Skyline's Christian Scott is still the number one Sooner target, primarily because he's the perfect safety. Scott has offers from everywhere, but the Sooners may be inching up towards the top of his list.

"I visited Oklahoma. It was good. I liked it a lot. I think that Oklahoma will be up there on my list."

Christian has not officially narrowed his list own, but the reported leaders are Florida, FSU, LSU, A&M along with Oklahoma. The Texas offer came after his unofficial OU visit three weeks ago, and it's not known how serious the Horns are, or if they really have the room. Most prospects that the Horns locked in on were offered this winter.

"Basically I am going to look at how the team has done in the past. I am going to look at the school and how close it is or not, but that probably won't be a deciding factor. I will look at if it's cold there. I don't want to play in the cold if I don't have to. Also, what school offers my major."

At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Scott missed his 40 time chance this year, but as a sophomore recorded a 4.4. That is giving people ideas about a couple of different positions. "Everyone is looking at me to play defense. But, some schools like me at cornerback and some schools like me at safety."

LINEBACKER - Projected: 2

Oklahoma is very happy with their two LB commitments and will close the door unless there are career ending injuries or other unforeseen events.

Current Commitments: 2

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.

PK / PUNTER: Projected: 0 - 1 / Current P/PK Commitments:

Kicker / Punter Prospects:

Wesley Bryan
(6-0 / 180) Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas (Florida) (offer pending)
Stephen Hoge, (6-2 / 200), OKC PC North (offer pending)
Jimmy Stevens, (5-6 / 150), OKC Heritage Hall (offer pending)
Matt Szymanski, (6-2 / 190), A&M Consolidated, Texas ('Soft' commitment to A&M)

We talked about the importance of Special Teams above, and the Sooner staff is not complacent enough to not rebuild those units into the nation's most efficient. Obviously, a 'shoe' is needed in three of the five units; (Placement, Punt and Kickoff).

Jimmy Stevens, (5-6 / 150), hails from OKC Heritage Hall. Stevens is plain and simple one of the best field goal kickers seen in Oklahoma in some time, as well as one of the very best in the country.

"I realize I can help my team a lot, and I like the opportunity to help my team," said Stevens. "Kicking field goals is one thing, but kicking off and pinning teams deep, or just making sure that I make the field goals when they count, gives me a great feeling that I an contributing to the team."

Last season, Stevens finished 22-for-29 in field goals with a long of 50 yards. He was 37-for-37 in PATs. Stevens also finished with 65 percent of his kick-offs for touchbacks. He also averaged 38 yards per punt.

"OU has told me that they are going to recruit a kicker this year because their kicker will be a junior this year. They seem to be pretty interested, but I have no offer from them yet so we will see. KU has told me that I am the best kicker they have seen at any of their camps this year. I don't know if that is true or not, but I was pretty confident after kicking up there. They seem to be pretty interested so we will see."

"It gets frustrating at times waiting to see what teams are going to do," said Stevens on the fact he's still waiting for an offer. "I would like to have a straight-forward answer from a couple of these teams, but I realize kickers are not the most important players they are recruiting. I need to be patient to see what is going to happen."

The only 'knock' on Stephens is his small size, but that may not worry coaches. "Who cares?" One coach said. "When the game's on the line in the last minute, you think we're gonna worry about how big our kicker is? The question is, how far can he kick it."

QUARTERBACK - Projected: 0 - 1 / Current QB Commitments: 0

Quarterback Prospects:

Although there have been no official QB offers yet, G.J. Kinne (6-1 / 215 / 4.6), is still the horse to bet on at this point. Kinne could take OU's offer today as an athlete, and they would be glad to get it. But Kinne wants a firm commitment that he will come in as a quarterback, and OU has not said no.

We believe the staff will be hard pressed to find a better prospect than Kinne. And it would also seem natural to assume that G.J. - who is pretty bright, can look on the OU roster and see only three quarterbacks, where he might find five or six at any other school he's considering. The only question is will the Sooners offer him as a QB before he decides to go elsewhere.

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