The Weekend Wrapup

The latest on Oklahoma football and a position by position update on recruiting.

Weekend Wrap Up Vol 4 #20 05-12-07
Copyright by James Hale, Alan Hitchcock, Jim Ross and the OU Insider Reporting staff.

Note: Normally, the OUInsider Weekend Wrap-Up runs each weekend from June 1 until mid-February. Because the OU staff is actively recruiting several months earlier for next year, we will continue to run the WW each weekend, focusing primarily on recruiting until the start of summer workouts in June.

Recruiting -- Evaluations Continue . . .

The OU staff is wrapping a final week on intensive in person evaluations that have taken them from Connecticut to California.

The focus on the four week period is to identify prospects that the Sooner staff has either not yet seen in person, and to find the few hidden surprises that they have received reports on from high school coaches, OU supporters nationwide, and in some cases from the players themselves.

Going into the evaluation period, the OU staff had offered right at 50 scholarships, with 8 of those being verbally accepted. We anticipate slightly less than 100 total offers this year, about 25-30% less than what are normally given out. Of these, it appears that there will be about 25 offers coming off of the in person evaluations, approximately a dozen to be given out after camps, leaving about a dozen to be granted in the fall, if room remains, as the Sooners will likely have between 20 - 22 available scholarships.

OK, so how has this staff's recruiting philosophy changed over the past few years?

"I wouldn't say it's changed, a better word might be that it's evolved," one coach said. "By that I mean that we all have to adapt to reality. Today, 'reality' is that kids are, in general, committing several months earlier than they did five and six years ago. Everyone can pretty well determine who the top 50 nationally are coming off their junior year. The hard part is to evaluate the next 50 to 100 prospects that will probably be ever bit as good in college, but up to this point have not had the same advantages, (due to any number of circumstances), or have not fully developed as a football players, as the first group.

"We used to prefer to wait until their senior year to sort out the 'great' from the 'very good.' Now, we're forced to identify and project the 'great ones' earlier, and go after them harder. If we don't someone else will, even if they're just guessing. At an elite program like ours, we can't afford to guess. We're expected to compete for a championship every year, not just once every six or seven years, and you guess wrong too many times and all the sudden you're trying to finish third or fourth in the conference instead of first.

"You might call that the 'tyranny of tradition.'

"There will still be the kids that emerge from no-where, much like Londell Taylor at Vian last year. Mark my word, there'll be a couple this year as well, but for the most part, we'll pretty well know the direction we're going by June. That's several months earlier than maybe what it was five or six years ago."

"Another factor, from our experience, is that we probably won't get caught up so much in projecting anyone to be a multi-year starter, and slack off on recruiting the position thinking everything is fine for the next two years. We saw last summer what that did to us. We were very fortunate to have won the Big 12 and participated the BCS regardless, but it's probably best to recruit each class to stand on it's own, as you never know what will happen due to injuries, academics, or in some cases -- people just messing up."

The Newest Offers . . .

Some of the newest offers went to national stars, and others have gone to relative unknowns. "Most of 'em are unknown when we first see 'em, so that doesn't bother us a bit," one OU staff member said. "We think we do a pretty good job evaluating for our needs -- and we're very comfortable with all the prospects we offer, whether they're on a national list, or make no one's list. If we don't think they can help us and play at a championship level, we don't offer. And that includes performance in the classroom as well as on the field."

After 'in person' evaluations, the newest formal offers were extended to, (details below under position):

Chase Clement, DE/TE, (6'6 / 245 / 4.7) Thibodaux (E.D.White), LA;
Tevita Finau DT (6-5 / 290 / 4.8) Phoenix JC, AZ
Josh Jarboe, WR (6-3 / 195 / 4.45), Ellenwood, (Cedar Grove) GA
Uona Kaveinga, MLB (6-1 / 235 / 4.7), Lawndale, (Leuzinger) CA; (Committed to UCLA)
Simi Kuli, DE (6-4 / 265 / 4.9), El Camino CC, CA (Future offer probable)
Tyler Love, OL (6-7 / 285 / 5.2), Mountain Brook, AL;
Brandon Magee, LB (6-0 / 225 / 4.6) Corona, (Centennial), CA;
Ken Page, OG (6-3½ / 285 / 5.2), Columbia, (Flora), SC
Zebrie Sanders, OT (6-6 / 273 /5.4) Clayton, (Northmont), OH
Taylor Stockemer, WR (6-4 / 200 / 4.5) Van Buren, AR;
Deion Walker, WR (6-3 / 185 / 4.45), Christchurch, VA;

There will be more.

When the entire staff returns next week, other players will be methodically discussed and offered formally by Oklahoma from now, running into mid-June. We are projecting the initial offers will likely go to:

Sean Fisher, LB-DE, (6'5 / 210 / 4.6), Omaha (Milliard North), NE (Future offer probable)
Patrick Hoog, OL (6-3½ / 292 / 5.2), Castroville, (Media Valley), TX (Future offer probable)
Thomas Parsons, OL (6-5½ / 266 / 4.8), Spring Branch, (Smithson Valley), TX (Future offer probable)
Nick Plato, TE (6'6 / 227 / 4.8), Edwardsville, IL (Future offer probable)
Casey Walker, DT (6-1 / 290 / 5.2), Garland, TX (Future offer probable)

Several JC prospects are also going to get a thorough review, the first group being these:

Carl Moore, WR (6-4 / 220 / 4.5), Sierra CC, CA (Future offer probable)
Bryant (Melvin) Williams, S-WR (6-2 / 210 / 4.5), Coffeyville CC, KA (Future offer possible)

Rising Stock and Renewed Interest . . .

It's been months since some top prospects have been in front of coaches eyeballs, some for the first time ever in person. Although Oklahoma had already offered -- there were some prospects that, because of a personal visit, have a renewed interest in OU, or due to an impressive workout, have Sooner coaches moving them up the priority list.

Among those are -- (details below under position):

Leroy Chevalier, OL (6-4 / 285 / 5.0), Houston, (Yates) TX
Cyrus Gray, Ath-CB (5-11 / 190 / 4.3), Desoto, TX
Reggie Hunt, Ath-RB (5-10 / 185 / 4.4), Daphne, AL
Lynn Katoa, LB, (6-2 / 220 / 4.6), Salt Lake City, (Cottonwood), UT
Sam McGuffie, ATH-RB, (5'11 / 190 / 4.3), Cypress , (CY-Fair), TX
Vinston Painter, OL, (6-5½ / 315 / 5.3), Norfolk, (Maury) VA
Damian Square, DE, (6'3 / 262 / 4.7), Houston (Yates), TX

Three of these prospects (Cyrus Gray, Reggie Hunt and Sam McGuffie), are perfect fits for the sometimes dreaded 'Athlete' category. However as offenses evolve, more teams will need find ways to get the ball into a play makers hands, and also, put great athletes on the field to stop them. Chalk these three up as among the nation's best.

Leroy Chevalier and Damian Square, both starring at Houston Yates, were once A&M commitments but have cooled on the Aggies since, and the Sooners believe that Lynn Katoa is one of the top three linebackers in the west, according to those close to the OU program.

How about an intriguing long shot?

One of the country's top 'athletes' without a doubt is Gerell Robinson, (6-4 / 210 / 4.5), of Chandler, Arizona. Robinson is another OU possibility, although a remote one, as there is no need to start a family feud. Robinson is committed to Mike Stoops and Arizona, but recently has been talking to USC and Florida as well. Robinson wants to play QB in college, something that the Wildcats have promised that they will allow him to do. However USC and Florida see the potential for an NFL career at receiver, and keep pounding that into Robinson's head.

But in order for the Sooners to get in on this horse race, Robinson would have to completely rule UA out of it. Until then, older brother has apparently declared GR 'off limits.' And other members of the OU staff, who are still very close to Mike, are likely to agree with the edict. It's one thing to go after Texas A&M's top commitments, but quite another to take one away from a brother and friend.

OU Signing Class of 2008 . . .

Projected: 21 - 22 / Current Commitments: 8

Oklahoma is off to a fast pace out of the gate, as the first eight future 'Sooners to be' all have a chance to be Parade and High School All Americans. They are:

R.J. Washington, (DE) (6'4, 235, 4.7), Fossil Ridge, TX
Daniel Franklin, (LB) (6-3 / 215 / 4.6) Mount Airy, GA
Justin Johnson, (RB) (6'2 / 210 / 4.5), Gilmer, TX
Stephen Good, OL (6'5 / 285 / 5.2), Paris, TX
Jermie Calhoun, RB (6-0 / 200 / 4.4), Van, TX
Britt Mitchell, OL (6'7 / 300 / 5.5), Roscoe, TX
Landry Jones, QB (6-5 / 215 / 4.7), Artesia, NM
Ben Habern, OL, (6-3, 260, 4.9), Dallas, (Liberty Christian), TX

OU coaches will now try to fit the best 14 remaining prospects into the voids that remain it what could become of the Sooners best ever recruiting classes.

As we go through the prospect lists by position, we'll generally see a pattern develop where the OU staff has identified the very best prospects in the country that they believe can contribute on the field and do well in class. This is a slight departure from past years, where classes have been more geographically determined by distance, and is possible due to the quality of the initial eight commitments.

The committed talent has allowed the Sooner staff to take chances on the remaining top players nationally -- knowing that they will probably be turned down by nine out of ten. But, with only 14 slots available, it is the most efficient way to fill those remaining holes with the very best prospects, regardless of location.

Projected: 3 / Current Commitments: 1

Daniel Franklin, (6-3 / 215 / 4.6) Mount Airy, GA (Committed to Oklahoma)

Here are OU's top linebacking prospects coming out of the evaluation period,. (Official offers in bold).

Arthur Brown, LB, (6-1½ / 225 /4.5), Wichita East, KS
Brandon Beachum, LB, (6-0½ / 220 / 4.6), Youngstown, (Cardinal Mooney), Ohio
Ethan Davis, LB (6-3 / 195 / 4.6) Grapevine, TX (Possible future offer)
Sean Fisher, LB-DE, (6'5 / 210 / 4.6), Omaha (Milliard North), NE (Future offer probable)
Taylor Hill, LB (6'2 / 205 / 4.6), Youngstown, (Cardinal Mooney), Ohio
Lynn Katoa, LB, (6-2 / 220 / 4.6), Salt Lake City, (Cottonwood), UT
Uona Kaveinga, MLB (6-1 / 235 / 4.7) Lawndale, (Leuzinger) CA (Committed to UCLA)
Brandon Magee, LB (6-0 / 225 / 4.6) Corona, (Centennial), CA
Jon Major, LB, (6-4 / 230 / 4.6), Parker, (Ponderosa), CO
Michael Mauti, LB, (6'2 / 215 / 4.6), Mandeville, LA
Kyle Prater LB, (6-2 / 220 / 4.5), Kerrville, (Kivey) TX
Spencer Reeves, LB, (6-2 /195 / 4.6), Dallas, (Skyline) TX (Future Offer Pending)
Michael Zordich, LB, (6-1 / 230 / 4.7), Youngstown, (Cardinal Mooney), Ohio

We can count on at least one player that the Sooners will wait on, that being Wichita's Arthur Brown, and possibly Jon Major as well. That would make linebacker potentially the most talented position in the 2008, if the Sooners could land either of those. However the other nine candidates are far from average.

We've said for a couple of weeks that we expected more offers at LB after the evaluation period, and two came from the west coast in Corona, California's Brandon Magee and Lawndale, California's Uona Kaveinga, with another offer likely to go to a prospect from the Cornhusker State.

Brandon Magee, (6-0 / 225 / 4.6), is one of the top linebackers in the Golden State and had his junior year cut short by a tough wrist injury, causing him to miss five games. However, in the games tat he did play, he compiled 57 tackles and 3.5 sacks, and was impressive enough to earn All State honorable mention. Magee is known for his speed and ferocious hitting.

The other new offer went to MLB prospect Uona Kaveinga, (6-1 / 235 / 4.7), of Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, CA, a run stuffing inside linebacker that is one of the most physical linebackers in the nation. Kaveinga has committed to UCLA, but that didn't stop the OU staff from extending an offer to this vicious hitter who shows no mercy. He is strong, aggressive and relentless and terrific when the play comes his as he has the ability to shed the block and make the tackle. Not only can he move sideline to sideline -- but when he gets there he looks to take someone's head off.

Uona sounds like a 'Venables clone' already.

Kyle Prater, (6-2 / 220 / 4.5), a tremendous outside linebacker from Kerrville, Texas, has seven scholarship offers, but two stand out. Prater says he favors LSU and Oklahoma solidly over Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Prater also holds offers from Rice and Baylor, and will likely be picking more up following the in person evaluation period.

Initially, Prater admits he planned on going through the entire recruiting process, but recently he's started to change his mind. "Lately I've been thinking that if I can visit all these schools this summer, I should be able to make an early commitment."

He's already visited his top two choices, the Tigers and Sooners and says both are pretty similar. "I liked getting to meet all the coaches at LSU, especially (head coach) Les Miles. He said they need linebackers and that they plan on signing three this year," Prater said. "He says that I'm an important get for them.

"Oklahoma is actually pretty similar to LSU," Prater said. "They are both run very well and I love how encouraging the Oklahoma coaches are. They have a great relationship with their players and I also love their fan support. Norman is a small town and reminds me a little of my home town."

Prater's first scholarship offer was from Nebraska and he plans on visiting the Huskers in late June. "I'm flying over there for a visit at the end of June," Prater said. "I'm excited to meet all the coaches and actually talk with them face-to-face. They have a great football program and are still getting better. The state is pretty crazy about football."

Prater finished his junior season with 126 tackles, 82 solos, 10 tackles for loss, five sacks, three fumbles caused and one recovered. He also had an interception returned for a touchdown.

"I'm really aggressive and have great speed," Prater said. "That's what coaches say they like about me. I'm real intense and am always moving. I'm always doing something.

Prater benches 315 pounds, squats 425 and has a 35-inch vertical jump. He runs the forty in 4.55.

Another recent visitor to Norman was Michael Mauti, LB, (6'2 / 215 / 4.6), of Mandeville, Louisiana.

"I thought it was great. It was a lot better than I expected. My expectations were high, but I just didn't know that they would be that great. I guess I just underestimated the whole place — the program, and atmosphere and everything. I spent all that Friday with Coach (Brent) Venables and we toured the facilities and the campus and had a great time. We went everywhere meeting people.

"Then, that night I went out with a couple of players and we had a good time. They were just cool people and everybody that I met was just nice. Nobody was trying to push me like, you know, 'Come here dude,' and that kind of stuff. They were just telling me to do what was best for me. Everyone was just cool people and I liked the place. It was really cool."

Mauti tells about his experiences with Bob Stoops and Brent Venables:

"Coach (Bob) Stoops' golf game actually got cancelled because of the rain, so we just went into his office and he opened up this big chest full of all his bowl watches and championship rings. He had Big 12 Championship rings, and what was so impressive is how much they win. OU wins all the time. They know how to do it. It is just a good atmosphere and certainly something that I would like to be a part of."

"Coach Venables was a great guy. He's non-stop the whole day. I thought he was going to wind down as the day went on. It was four o'clock and we finally got into the meeting room and I thought he was going to wind down a little bit. But he just got more excited and he just kept going the whole day non-stop. He was nice and easy to talk to and he gets along with his players."

That statement could bode well for the Sooners, as Michael says that relationships will be an important part of his final decision.

"I think the most important thing is the relationship that exists between the players and coaches. I am talking about the player's opinion, not just the public opinion. That is what is going to matter the most because the players actually have to go through it. The players talked about him (Venables) in a very positive manner. They all had stories about him and he just sounds like a great guy. I am looking forward to maybe working with him the next year or year and a half."

However. let's don't count our Sooners before they hatch - as OU has plenty of competition here - including Penn State, (where Michael's dad played, and older brother attends), Florida and LSU, which is almost within walking distance. Still, Mauti wants to make his decision before September.
"I have a couple of visits scheduled and I told Coach Venables the same thing — that I had this visit to Oklahoma then I have a visit to Florida and Penn State. And, then, not too long after that he was going to be hearing from me about wherever I commit to. It won't be too long after I make my visits that I know what I want to do."

It's not often that the Sooners venture into Nebraska to recruit, and it's very rare to get a player out of that state, but recently the name of Sean Fisher, (6'5 / 210 / 4.6), has Sooner coaches wondering if that Big 12 Championship game might have opened a few doors.

Fisher is a versatile athlete who can run. OU coaches see more than a current DB however, and project that Fisher will likely play at linebacker or possibly at defensive end in the future, when his ample 6'5" frame fills out.

Fisher broke into the starting line-up last season at free safety and had a super year coming up with 92 tackles (70 solo), three interceptions and four fumbles caused. He can bench 275 pounds, squat 495 and vertical jump 33 inches. And when you add the totals, it adds up to more of linebacker than safety.

Those numbers, and Fisher's athlete ability have begun to attract college recruiters to Millard North, and as the in person evaluation periods winds down, Fisher finds himself gathering all kinds of interest.

"If you would have told me two months ago that I would have a lot of scholarship offers, I would have probably laughed at you," said Fisher. "All this attention came as a surprise to me, honestly. I would say it is going pretty well, but it is a little overwhelming at times.

"I have been offered by Nebraska, Iowa, Iowa State, Colorado, Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Arizona State, Washington, Northwestern and Vanderbilt," said Fisher.

"I am talking to a number of other schools, as well like Oklahoma. Coach (Brent) Venables was in school on Tuesday. He said that they wanted to confirm that I was really 6-5. They came out and watched me run a little bit in a class that we have. I am under the impression that they are a team that is fairly interested because they came to visit. As I understand it, Coach Venables will go back and talk to Coach (Bob) Stoops about offering me."

We project that Fisher will get a Sooner offer sometime around June 1st.

"My top five is Nebraska, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Iowa," said Fisher. "Nebraska would be my favorite as of now since OU has not officially offered."

"Academics are very important to me because I want to be a doctor," said Fisher. "That factor plays into my decision quite a bit. Tradition of the program is big for me. I like the game of college football and I want to play for a program that has a great tradition. I want to go to a program with great fans who feel about the program the same way that I will. The coaching staff is a big part of it because you are going to spend a lot of time with that staff over the next four or five years."

Projected: 2-3 / Current Commitments: 0

Receiver is probably the one position that validates our contention that the OU staff is offering the very best prospects in the country, knowing that they will get turned down by most, but also realizing that a couple of commitments is all that they need to make top gun Landry Jones a happy man for four years.

The top receiver prospects on the Sooner chart are: (Official offers in bold):

Joe Adams, WR, (6-1 / 175 / 4.4) Little Rock, (Central), AR
Jeffrey Fuller WR (6-4 / 195/ 4.5), McKinney (Boyd), TX
DeSean Hales WR (5-10 / 170 / 4.4), Spring, TX
Omarius Hines WR (6-1 / 183 / 4.5) Corsicana, TX
Josh Jarboe, WR (6-3 / 193 / 4.4), Ellenwood, (Cedar Grove) GA
Julio Jones WR (6-4 / 212 / 4.5), Foley, AL
Tavarres King, WR, (6'1 ½ / 174 / 4.4), Mt. Airy (Habersham Central), GA
DeJuan Miller, WR (6-5 / 200 / 4.6), Metuchen, NJ
Carl Moore, WR (6-4 / 220 / 4.5) Sierra CC, CA (Future offer probable)
Jameel Owens, WR, (6'2½ / 206 / 4.5), Muskogee, OK
Taylor Stockemer, WR (6-4 / 200 / 4.5), Van Buren, AR
Chris Toliver, WR, (6-0 / 195 / 4.5), Rayville, LA
Deion Walker, WR (6-3 / 185 / 4.4), (Christchurch School) Christchurch, VA
Jarius Wright, WR (5-11 / 175 / 4.4), Warren, AR

Josh Jarboe, (6-3 / 193 / 4.4), of Ellenwood, Georgia is hardly an unknown quantity. But the OU staff needed to make sure, and it took all of four minutes to conform that Josh needs a crimson helmet. As a junior, Jarboe recorded 46 catches for 957 yards and 10 touchdowns.

But the Sooners have some serious ground to make up. Before the evaluation period he held offers from at least 20 schools, and reported a 'top five' of: "Ohio State, Georgia Tech, LSU, Georgia and Florida . . . I think that Ohio State, LSU and Georgia would be the leaders right now, because they are real teams and they pass the ball. They are also known for their academics."

Deion Walker, (6-3/185/4.45), who hails from Virginia and is almost a carbon copy of Jarboe, received an OU offer last week.

Last season as a junior Walker had 48 receptions for 742 yards and TD's. Defensively, Walker recorded 31 tackles, nine pass break ups and eight interceptions.

Walker is a player that obviously excels at all three phases of the game. He is so good and so versatile that some schools have offered him at defensive back. "I am tall and fast for a receiver and taller and faster than most corners or I can run with anyone. I can also go up and get the ball (37" vertical jump). A few schools have offered me as a defensive back and I think they prefer me as a safety although I like corner. I am a bigger or as big as most receivers and I can run with them. I can also jam at the line of scrimmage pretty well."

Again, OU has plenty of competition coast to coast -- but like Oklahoma, everyone has a limit. Walker is sitting on 40 scholarship offers. Although he doesn't have a favorite he still likes some of the usual suspects when it comes to college football powers. When asked about his favorites, he names USC, Florida , LSU, Florida State, Texas A&M, Michigan, Penn State, and the two locals, Virginia and Virginia Tech. In recent months Walker has made unofficial visits to Virginia, Penn State, Tennessee, Maryland, NC State, Alabama, and Clemson. He will try and hit some west and Midwest schools later this month and this season like Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, USC, Oregon, and others.

"I want to go to a school where I can fit in the wide receiver coach and the coaching staff. I also have to fit into their scheme and the environment of the school."

Van Buren's Taylor Stockemer, (6-4 / 200 / 4.5), was not a familiar name outside the state of Arkansas, but a visit to the school, which sits just 13 miles outside the Oklahoma border, was enough to convince that Sooner staff that Taylor can play.

Obviously, the Sooners covet in-state prospect Jameel Owens, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound wide receiver from Muskogee, who is one of the top ten receivers in the country. Just as the OU staff is out evaluating, so is every other school, and plenty have stopped by Muskogee in the past two weeks.

"Miami offered last week and it looks like Florida's going to offer soon," Owens said. He admitted that the Gators and the 'Canes have him reconsidering his initial plan of staying close to home. "I wasn't thinking of going out-of-state before, because I didn't have any offers from far away. Now, with Miami and Florida, it's got me thinking. I've never been to the state, though.

"The only two schools I've ever been exposed to are Oklahoma and Oklahoma State," said the No. 4 player in the Midlands. "I realized that I have the chance to go out and see what the world has to offer. I'd be dumb not to take it."

Offensive Line
Projected: 4 / Current Commitments: 3

Stephen Good, OL, (6'5 / 285 / ), Paris , TX (Committed to Oklahoma)
Britt Mitchell, OL, (6'8, 309, 5.5), Roscoe , Texas (Committed to Oklahoma)
Ben Habern, OL, (6-3, 260, 4.9), Dallas, ( Liberty Christian), TX (Committed to Oklahoma)

Here are the most likely candidates for the remaining OL scholarship. (Official offers in bold - we expect the others listed to likely receive an OU offer after an in person evaluation).

Daniel Campbell, OL, (6-4½ / 324 / 5.5), Aldine, TX
Leroy Chevalier, OL (6-4 / 285 / 5.0), Houston, (Yates) TX
Tyler Love, OL (6-7 / 285 / 5.2), Mountain Brook, AL
Ken Page, OG (6-3½ / 285 / 5.2), Columbia, (Flora), SC
Vinston Painter, OL, (6-5½ / 315 / 5.3), Norfolk, (Maury) VA
Zebrie Sanders, OT (6-6 / 273 /5.4) Clayton, (Northmont), OH
Zach Schlink, OL, (6-4 / 292 / 5.2), Peoria, (Centennial) AZ

Regardless of who takes the last remaining OL scholarship, it' safe to say that the Sooners have quality to choose from.

It's certainly no secret that the Sooners' fourth OL spot was being held for either J.B. Shugarts, who chose Ohio State several weeks ago, or Virginia's Vinston Painter, (6-5½ / 315 / 5.3). While OU coaches got to see painter in person, and were certainly not disappointed, ditto for every other school in the country as Painter is one of the top five recruits on the east coast.

Realistically, Painter has to give the Sooner coaches reason to wait, and that would be unfair to force him to do that with a million offers on the table. While OU will leave the door open for Painter, they also realize that other OL offers had to be made, and several were.
One went to Alabama's Tyler Love, (6-7 / 285 / 5.2), from Mountain Brook, who is also one of the top offensive tackles in the country for the class of 2008. The down to earth Love also breaks the myth of the ego driven high school recruit.

"I have recently received offers from Florida State, Nebraska, Miami and Southern Cal. The USC offer was verbal. I am really shocked and overwhelmed."

"I am blessed that I have the opportunity to play college football. I give a lot of thanks to my coach. I couldn't do what I am doing right now if it wasn't for him."

Add Oklahoma to the list of offers, although the Sooners know that it will be very tough to get this one away from Saban.

Another national recruit along the OL is Columbia, South Carolina's Kenneth Page, who along with several others, suddenly has the attention of every school in the country, including Oklahoma.

"I'm still handling it pretty well," Page reports. "I plan around August to get it down to at least eight to 10 schools. I want to have that done by the end of my summer."

"First, I'm going to think about the colleges that are really like me," he answers. "I base that on how often I communicate with the coaches. It's not how much they communicate with me, but more the relationships I have with the coaches themselves. That's going to help narrow it down because you have to have a relationship with your coaches. As far as visits, I'm going to try to get around to a lot of schools over the summer. That will help make the decision easier."

Here's one guy that no one worries about qualifying, but he does admit that his grades took a beating -- by his standards -- this year:

"I actually dropped my GPA a few points this last semester," he laments. "But I'm going to finish out strong with a 3.8 or 3.9."

Continuing on their cross country quest for quality linemen, the OU staff next paid a visit to Dayton, Ohio where they offered Zebrie Sanders, (6-6 / 273 /5.4), of Clayton, (Northmont). But OU was not the first school to arrive at Northmont High.

"Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Florida came by. Ohio State also came by the school. "

When asked about his current favorites before his OU offer, Sanders responded, "Florida, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Louisville and South Carolina. They are my favorites among teams that have offered."

A decision for the prize recruit won't come until after he completes his senior season. "I am going to wait until after my season," he said. "I want to take my official visits first. Then I will be ready."

And it didn't stop in Ohio as the tour took the OU staff to Arizona where they visited offensive tackle Zach Schlink, (6-4 / 292 / 5.2), from Centennial HS in Peoria, Arizona. Zach had a great junior season for Centennial, helping them to a perfect 14-0 record and a 5A state title. Besides OU, he already holds offers from Nebraska, UCLA, Cal, Stanford, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon State, Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona State.

Two Texas OL's turned in impressive workouts and are on the edge of receiving an OU offer, those being Patrick Hoog (6-3½ / 292 / 5.2), of Castroville (who is just 16), and Thomas Parsons of Smithson Valley, Texas who previously had said that he plans to have his college decision by the end of this month from 10 offers, before LSU and OU visited this week. Before his OU offer a little over a week ago, Parsons was thought to be leaning to OSU and Texas A&M.

Projected: 2-3 / Current Commitments: 0

The Sooners want at least two versatile play makers in the class of 2008. While several qualify, they have their eyes set on five who they believe can be 'difference makers' in a game early on in their careers. Those five will get the fist scholarship opportunities, and are:

Cyrus Gray, Ath-CB (5-11 / 190 / 4.3), Desoto, TX
Lamar Harris, ATH/DB (6-3 / 185 / 4.4), Gilmer , TX (Soft Commitment to Texas A&M)
Reggie Hunt, RB (5-10 / 180 / 4.4) Daphne, AL
LaMichael James, ATH, (5'10 / 180 / 4.3), Texarkana (Liberty-Eylau), TX
Sam McGuffie, ATH-RB, (5'11 / 190 / 4.3), Cypress , (CY-Fair), TX

DeSoto's Cyrus Gray, (5-11 / 190 / 4.3), is one of the top rated running backs in Texas, but OU coaches see a NFL type talent as a return man and at corner. As a junior, Gray amassed over 1,500 yards and 31 touchdowns on the ground while also catching 38 passes for 438 yards and two scores.

This year however, we won't see Gray at running back -- or at corner, as he will be under center for DeSoto. "The coaches needed me at quarterback, so that's what I'm going to do," Gray said. "I've been working hard in spring practice to learn my assignments and improve as a passer."

Desoto runs a spread formation which will take advantage of Gray's many athletic skills. However, the coaches want him as a signal caller for other reasons as well.

"I think a big strength with me at quarterback is my leadership and doing what it takes to win as a team," said Gray. "If you need me to find the open receiver downfield, I can do that. If there's a lane for me to run, I'll do that too. Really, whatever the defense gives us, we'll take it."

Gray doesn't mention it with out a prompt, but one aspect that is hard to miss is his world class speed: "I finished first in regionals, and hopefully I can compete to win at state," Gray said. "My fastest time so far is 10.43, but I haven't peaked yet. I've been focused more on winning than worried about the time I post."

Gray plans to narrow his list of top schools in the next month and will take some unofficial visits later in the summer. He expects to take most of his official visits in the fall and winter.

Among those schools that recognize the potential and have stopped by to evaluate Gray this month are Notre Dame, Oklahoma, OSU, Nebraska, Texas, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M.

The Sooners had encouraging visits with Reggie Hunt, (5-10 / 180 / 4.4), of Daphne, Alabama who is capable of breaking the 4.4 mark in the 40, and also Sam McGuffie of Cypress, Texas who had given little indication as of late that he was still interested in Oklahoma. However McGuffie gave the staff enough reason to keep him at the top of their wish list.

That should make Bob Stoops happy, as he probably wants McGuffie as much as any recruit remaining and is intent on finding ways to let him touch the ball. McGuffie confronts and compounds conventional wisdom as much as any prospect nationally. While the OU staff has a profile for 'athlete' being able to excel at multiple positions both offensively and defensively, they focus on McGuffie coming in and assuming the role of 'Mr. Electric' on offense and in the return game.

Defensive End
Projected: 2 / 3 Current Commitments: 1

R.J. Washington, (6'4, 235, 4.7), Fossil Ridge, TX (Committed to Oklahoma)

Oklahoma has extended a few new offers at DE, and now at least eleven prospects are in line for the single DE slot left. The prospects are:

Chancey Aghayere, DE, (6-3½ / 245 / 4.7) Garland, TX
Chase Clement, DE/TE, (6'6 / 245 / 4.7) Thibodaux (E.D.White), LA;
Alfred Dupree, DE, (6'3 / 210 / 4.6), Dallas Skyline
Tevita Finau , DE/DT (6-5 / 290 / 4.8) Phoenix JC, AZ
William Green DE (6-5 / 208 / 4.6) Hoover, (Spain Park), AL
Glen Harbin DE (6-6 / 229 / 4.7) Mobile, (McGill-Toolen), AL
Taylor Hill DE/LB, (6-0½ / 208 / 4.5), Youngstown, Ohio (Cardinal Mooney)
Damien Holmes, DE (6-3 / 244 / 4.7) Colton, CA
David King, DE, (6'4 / 240 / 4.7), Houston, (Strake Jesuit) TX
Simi Kuli, DE (6-4 / 265 / 4.9), El Camino JC
Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE, (6-4½ / 227 / 4.8), Weatherford, TX
Stacey McGee, DT/DE, (6'3, 285, 4.9), Muskogee, OK
Damian Square, DE, (6'3 / 262 / 4.7), Houston (Yates Hs), TX

OU had a great visit with Houston Yates DE Damian Square, (6'3 / 262 / 4.7), and both parties seem to be once again excited about his possibilities should he choose Oklahoma.

Also on their swing through Alabama, Sooner coaches had a chance to visit Mobile McGill-Toolen High School, always a good bet for outstanding athletes, and this year already home to a young man holding an OU offer. Last year Glen Harbin, (6-6 / 229 / 4.7), saw DE team mate Sidell Corley, eventually sign with LSU after an up and down final month of recruiting drama. Not lost on most recruiters however was the guy playing on the other end of the D-Line.

A year ago, Harbin finished with 75 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and six passes battled down. In baseball, Harbin finished this past season hitting .350 with two homers, 32 RBI and 10 stolen bases. Harbin hits fifth in the line-up and plays right field. He can bench 285 pounds, squats 415 and he has posted a 32-inch vertical jump.

"I would say 10 schools have offered me," said Harbin. "Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Purdue, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma and Kentucky have offered. I might have a top three or four by the end of the summer after I take a couple of visits or go on their campus."

What do you do with a guy that's 6'5 weighs 290 and can hit 4.8? OU says you offer him and put him at defensive end. Tevita Finau is emerging as a top recruit along the D-Line, regardless of whether he plays inside or out. According to Phoenix Community College head coach Dale Wolfley, Finau has offers from Arizona, USC, Arizona State, Kansas State, Nevada, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon, West Virginia, Nebraska and Utah.

It's no secret that the Sooners normally don't recruit the junior colleges, but Finau comes with a bonus year of eligibility as he grey shirted last year and has four years to play three seasons. With OU graduating a slew of defensive ends, Finau may just be the ticket to team up with all world R.J. Washington, (6'4, 235, 4.7), the top DE in the nation and an OU commitment.

Beside Finau, another JC possibility at defensive end is Simi Kuli, DE (6-4 / 265 / 4.9), El Camino Junior College.

"Right now I'm 6'5" and I'm weighing in at 270," said Kuli. "I would describe my playing style as being both a speed rushing end and having power. Last season I played some defensive end and some defensive tackle. At defensive end I think I played alright. I don't think I played to the best of my abilities because I took a year off, (to consider a Mormon mission opportunity). When I got out there I felt I did a pretty decent job but I feel I can do better."

"I was supposed to go on a church mission," Kuli said. "My sister is serving in Edmonton, Canada right now. I was going to go but I ended up staying and not going. It was already at the end of July close to August and my cousin Vuna, who is going to [the University of] Arizona, told me, ‘Man, you should come out and play man.' So I came out there to El Camino kind of late as a walk-on. I wasn't even in shape or anything. I just went out there and started playing. I know I did well but I know I can do better than that. Taking that year off, then trying to get back into football was kind of tough."

After playing one season at El Camino J.C., Kuli has received quite a bit of interest.

"Right now I've got a bunch of offers. I've got offers from Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Miami and BYU."

Defensive Back
Projected: 4 / Current Commitments: 0

Like quarterback, the Sooner staff wants to be very selective here, and in the past month the offers have started going out to the top ten DB's in the country, (as judged by this staff), and it will interesting to see if OU's torrid start will transfer and resonate with any of the national stars.

T.J. Bryant CB (6-0 / 175 / 4.4), Tallahassee, (Lincoln HS) FL
Keanon Cooper, S, (6'0 / 195 / 4.5), Dallas (Skyline Hs), TX
Dee Finley S, (6-3 / 198 / 4.5) Auburn, AL
Joseph Ibiloye, S/OLB (6-3 / 202 / 4.5), Garland, (South)TX
Patrick Johnson, CB (6-1 / 190 / 4.4), Pompano Beach, (Blanche Ely HS), FL (Soft Commitment to Miami)
Dan McCarthy S, (6-0, 180, 4.6), Youngstown, (Cardinal Mooney) OH
Darrell Simmons S, (6-2 / 194 / 4.6) College Park, (Banneker), GA
Jamoris Slaugher, S, (6'1 / 180 / 4.45), Tucker, GA
Kyle Staley, Ath-S, (6-0 / 200 / 4.5) Guthrie, OK
Brandon Taylor CB (5-11 / 175 / 4.4) Franklinton, LA
Charles Whitlock CB (5-11 / 180 / 4.4) Chester, SC

OU coaches don't know if Joseph Ibiloye, (6-3 / 202 / 4.5), of Garland Texas will grow into a linebacker or stay at safety, but they don't care. Either way they think he's 'their kind' of player on defense. Joseph was in Norman for a short visit earlier this week.

"It was a real good time, but we couldn't stay long because I had transportation issues. We could only stay for three or four hours. Coach Venables showed me around, (with GA Zac Spavatal). "They showed me a lot in four hours. I liked everything about it. I liked the town and I liked the school."

"That was my first time up there. I thought it was going to be a big city type of atmosphere, but what I found out that it was really a like a small city. I like a small city type of atmosphere. I like the fact it was in a small town. That is where I can see myself really playing, in a small town."

OU has some stiff competition here. But they do hold an advantage of being the closest, and Ibiloye admits the Sooners are among the leaders:

"They at the top or in the mix with a couple of schools at the top. Right now I am just trying to wait until I get all my offers so that I can start to narrow them down. My other schools are Miami and Texas A&M."

More certain on a future position, at least in the eyes of OU coaches, is Chester, South Carolina corner Charles Whitlock, (5-11 / 180 / 4.4) , who everyone has among the top five or six corners in the country, although Whitlock has also spent some time at quarterback. And even though he is drawing more attention at corner, many schools like what they see from him at quarterback.

Whitlock broke into the starting line-up at Senior High as a true freshman at corner and free safety, and last season finished with 57 tackles and four interceptions despite the fact that most teams didn't test him. At quarterback, Whitlock ran the spread offense and finished with 800 yards rushing and over 1,000 yards passing.

"I am being recruited at both positions, but primarily at cornerback," said Whitlock. "I really like both the same. I don't have a preference where I play in college. I admit that I am getting more attention at cornerback, but I am not going to rule out playing quarterback because there are teams talking to me about playing quarterback. My speed and quickness is my biggest asset at both quarterback and cornerback, so it doesn't matter to me."

Whitlock has been offered by over 30 schools, but he wants to take his time whittling that list down.

"All the schools that have offered me are the same until I get the list down toward the end of the summer," said Whitlock. "I hope to have my list down to five by the end of the summer. Some of the schools who have offered me are Florida, Oklahoma, Florida State, Wisconsin and many other teams like that. I hope to visit Florida, Ohio State, Auburn and Oklahoma this summer."

Defensive Tackle
Projected: 1-2 / Current Commitments: 0

We've said that DT will be one of the last positions to be evaluated this year, as Oklahoma knows they must get someone good enough to compete with the talent already on campus. We look for the evaluation process to continue through June, although it will no longer be done off campus.

The known contenders, at present, are:

Tevita Finau, DT/DE (6-5 / 290 / 4.8) Phoenix JC, AZ
Templeton Hardy, DT (6-4 / 280 / 5.2) Sardis, (North Panola), MS
Willie Mobley, DT (6-2 / 263 / 4.9), Eden Prairie, MN
Stacey McGee, DT/DE, (6'3 / 285 / 4.9), Muskogee, OK
Joel Ross, DT (6-1 / 290 / 4.8), Houma, (Vanderbilt Catholic), LA

We have chronicled Tevita Finau above under DE, although he certainly could play inside.

Another possible offer could go to Garland Texas DT Casey Walker. The 6-foot-1, 290 pound Walker runs the 40-yard dash in 5.22 seconds. He squats 475 pounds and benches 345."He has a big strong body with run speed for a big man. OU coaches were in Garland last week and will put Walker in the mix that we expect to be completed by mid to late June.

Running Back
Projected: 2 / Current Commitments: 2

Justin Johnson (RB) (6'2 / 210 / 4.5), Gilmer, TX (Committed to Oklahoma)
Jermie Calhoun, RB 6-0. 200, 4.4 Van, TX (Committed to Oklahoma)

OU's two commitments, Johnson and Calhoun are both in the elite category nationally at running back and either could end up being named the nation's best, the Sooners will now look to a fullback. The two star commitments will not prevent them from trying to sign the 'game breaker athlete' that we have talked about above.

The prospects at fullback include:

Michael Abernathy, FB-RB, (5-11 / 235 / 4.5) Russellville, AL
Cameron Gladd FB-RB, (6'1 / 225 / 4.7), Clinton, OK (future offer probable)

Projected: 1 / Current Commitments: 1

Landry Jones, QB (6-5, 215, 4.7), Artesia , NM (Committed to Oklahoma)

Landry Jones continues to gain in favor nationally as more college coaches are exposed to his talents. It is possible that Landry could end up being ranked as the top high school quarterback in the nation this fall. The Sooners were lucky to see Jones in camp before the entire word got wind if him.

If so, he will be a key to the recruitment of several of the receivers that the Sooners covet.

Tight End
Projected: 1 / Current Commitments: 0

Tight End is another position that we had slated for a late spring early summer completion. As of now, the leading candidates at TE are: (Offers in bold).

Chase Clement, DE/TE, (6'6 / 245 / 4.7) Thibodaux (E.D.White), LA
Cooper Bassett, TE (6'5, 235, 4.75), Tuttle, OK (Future offer possible)
Tanner Hawkinson, TE (6-6 / 235 / 4.8), McPherson, KS (Future offer probable)
Dion Jordan, TE (6-6 / 210 / 4.6), Chandler, AZ
Brandon Moore, TE (6'6 / 225 / 4.6), Trotwood, (Madison) OH
Nick Plato, TE, (6'6 / 227 / 4.8), Edwardsville, IL (Future offer probable)
Quentin Williams, TE (6'3 / 225 / 4.75), Pittsburgh (Central Catholic), PA (Future offer probable)

Right now Oklahoma has three on their favorites list, but by no means are those unheard of players. Dion Jordan, (6-6 / 210 / 4.6), Chandler, AZ; Louisiana's Chase Clement, (6'6 / 245 / 4.7), and Ohio's Brandon Moore, (6'6 / 225 / 4.6), are national top ten recruits at their position.

"It feels real good to know that so many people like what I do on the field," said Moore who caught 23 passes for 350 yards and five touchdowns last season. "I wasn't expecting to get this much attention, but now that I am it feels real good to hear people talk about me like that."

He has been offered by 36 schools, including Michigan, Georgia, Florida, Clemson, LSU, Miami, Florida State and Oklahoma.

"I don't really have a top five right now," said Moore. "I plan on cutting down my list at the end of the month."

What are the Sooners chances: "They are one of my favorite teams," said Moore.

"I know they have a real good football program. They are one of the schools that I have been looking at all along because of how they use the tight ends in their offense. They flex out their tight end and play him in the slot or at wide receiver some. So, they are a school that I like. Coach (Kevin) Wilson came to my school last week. He is a good guy and I like to talk to him."

Meanwhile Chase Clement, (6'6 / 245 / 4.7), of Thibodaux, Louisiana can play on either side of the ball, and the decision here has not been whether to offer, but rather 'where to play' this talented athlete. Chase goes both ways and plays both positions in high school, but he is so active at defensive end that he will probably wind up on the defensive side of the ball in college.

"I have been starting since my sophomore year. I have played tight end, defensive end, linebacker, D-tackle, running back and wide receiver," said Clement. "As a sophomore, they rotated me in as a D-end and then at tight end a couple of times. They had a senior tight end that was in front of me so I played mostly D-end. I played tight end just a couple of times. My junior year, I played everywhere. I played running back, wide receiver as well as defensive end and tight end."

He can bench 330 pounds, squat 360 and as a 31-inch vertical jump. Clement has attending Junior Days at LSU and Tulane. He also attended a camp at Ole Miss and LSU before the start of last season.

"I have been offered by Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Tulane, Louisiana Tech, Maryland, Nebraska, Colorado, Purdue, Florida, and Arkansas," said Clement. "I don't really have a top five or anything because I want to see all the colleges and get to know everybody first. I need to do a lot more research before I get down to a top five."

Nick Plato, is another TE prospect that we believe will see a Sooner offer soon, as he will be a topic of discussion as the coaches reconvene.

On the Radar . . .

There are many prospects that are getting the serious attention of the staff, and if they are offered it most likely will come after the start of summer. This is not to say that these are secondary in importance, only that the staff has not seen enough at this time to make a decision.

As we have reported, all of the OU offers have NOT gone out. As many as 25 scholarship offers could be extended between now and November. It is quite possible that any prospect below could get an OU offer at any moment, and more are expected to be added to this list as summer camps conclude in June.

Anthony Brown, DB, (6-1, 190) Rosenburg, TX
Cory Brown, DE, (6-5 / 230 / 4.8), Grand Prairie, TX
DeAundre ('Dre') Brown, WR (6-0 / 185 / 4.5) Arlington, TX (Seguin HS)
Blake Cantu, WR (6-0 / 200 / 4.5) Southlake Carroll, TX
Jeremy Coleman, DE, (6'5 / 230), Missouri City (Marshall HS), TX
Covaughn Deboskie, (6-0 /185 / 4.4) Chandler AZ
Adren Dorsey, DT (6-4 / 280 / ) Tyler, TX (future offer probable)
Cornelius Douglas, ATH, (5'10 / 183 / 4.4) Lawton , OK
Sean Fisher, LB-DE, (6'5 / 210 / 4.6), Omaha (Milliard North), NE
Troy Franklin, DT, (6-4 / 268 / 5.3), Celina , TX
Cameron Gladd FB-RB, (6'1 / 225 / 4.7), Clinton, OK
Patrick Hoog, OL (6-3½ / 292 / 5.2), Castroville, (Media Valley), TX
Chris Jones, S, (6'1, 175, 4.5), Arlington Bowie , TX
Simi Kuli, DE (6-4 / 265 / 4.9), El Camino CC, CA (Future offer probable)
Alonzo Landry, RB, (5-10½, 205, 4.6) Lafayette, (Carencro), LA
Thomas Parsons, OL (6-5½ / 266 / 4.8), Spring Branch, (Smithson Valley), TX
Lanear Sampson, WR, (5'11 / 175 / 4.5), Mesquite, (North), TX
Chris Shinault, OL, Houston, (Naaman Forest), TX
Carl Swift, OT, New York , (Choir Academy), NY
Casey Walker, DT, (6'1 / 290 / 5.2), Garland, TX
Mario Wiley, WR (6'3 / 184 / 4.5), West Monroe, LA
Bryant Williams, S-WR (6-2 / 210 / 4.5), Coffeyville CC, KA (Future offer possible)
Darrin Williams, CB (5-10, 165, 4.5), Detroit, (ML King) MI
John Williams, OT, (6-3, 310, 5.2), Tulsa, (Washington), OK
Terrance Williams, (6'3 / 185 / 4'.4), Dallas, (White), TX
Michael Yeck, OT (6'8 / 260 / 5.4), Keller, TX (Future offer probable)

NEWCOMER NOTES: The OUInsider Weekend Wrap-Up is THE source for Sooner football information, including recruiting and in season reports. All OUInsider reporters contribute to and compile the weekly report.

About OU Insider's recruiting coverage: Our policy is to only report on prospects that OU has an interest in, vs prospects that express an interest in Oklahoma . It is a complete waste of your time and ours if we file reports on every high school football player that says he 'likes Oklahoma .' Under John Blake that would have been news, but with the Sooners continually in the hunt for championships under Bob Stoops, it's hardly newsworthy. Bottom line -When OU gets serious about a prospect, we report on him.

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