If it’s the second Saturday in October, then it’s time for the annual Red River Showdown between Oklahoma and Texas.
A valid point could be made of this game not bringing the heat this year with both the Sooners and Longhorns already with two losses apiece.
What also remains pretty clear, though, is this game could alter the recruiting futures for at least a couple of top prospects who are targets for both schools.
So who are the Red River recruiting battles to watch this time around? Sooners Illustrated publisher Bob Przybylo says why OU should be the choice, while Horns Digest publisher Taylor Estes counters on why the Horns are the right fit.
AnalysisBoyce is a cornerback who has good size at the position and will only look more impressive as he adds some weight, but has the height to match-up with the opposing team's No. 1 outside receiver. He is a strong talent against the run and will come up and secure the edge. Again, that will be an even bigger strength as he adds natural size and power with natural development. He played a huge role in his team's on the field success in 2015, as he locked down one half of the field and team's rarely want to pass or run on the side he lines up on.
Lake Dallas (Texas) High CB Kobe Boyce (committed to Texas)
Why OU: Because the Sooners are already trending that way with Boyce following a great official visit for Ohio State weekend. Boyce has developed a great bond with defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks throughout the year, and it’s just about getting over the hump. That hump could be an emphatic OU victory Saturday in the Cotton Bowl to get Boyce to join SoonerSquad17.
Why Texas: Kobe Boyce has developed a great relationship with Charlie Strong and knows he has the chance to play early at Texas. Personally, I think the Longhorns on field struggles and questions circulating Strong’s future are impossible to ignore for Texas prospects and commitments. Boyce’s commitment status has been a question for quite a while, and the louder the outside noise gets, the more difficult it is to predict he will stand true to his word and end up a Longhorn.
AnalysisChaisson has what we like to describe as a very high motor and is a player who can get after the quarterback early and and then he will do it often. We like that he stepped up on the big stage to help his team win a state title, earning defensive MVP honors in the contest and making a play inside the 10-yard line to secure the win. Big players make big plays on the big stages. He has great speed rush abilities and instincts, but is also strong enough to hold his ground and play tough against the run. A well-rounded prospect, who has room to grow and mature into a top-tier physical specimen. - Greg Powers
Galena Park (Texas) North Shore DE K'Lavon Chaisson
Why OU: Chaisson and the Sooners seemed to have gone different directions two months ago, but things have picked up once again. Chaisson is the type of difference maker OU is going to sorely need on defense in the upcoming years. He has built a great relationship with defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux, and OU might be able to take advantage of the uncertainties going on at Texas and LSU with someone like Chaisson.
Why Texas: Defensive line coach Brick Haley is one of the biggest reasons the Longhorns are in the mind of K’Lavon Chaisson. Haley’s relationships with the North Shore staff dates back to his time at LSU, and he has maintained those relationships in Chaisson’s recruitment. Another factor involved is Haley coached Chaisson’s late-father – Kelvin Chaisson – during his stint as DC and LB coach at Baylor. Texas still has a way to go, but as long as Haley is in the mix, I think Chaisson will consider Texas.
AnalysisTwo way lineman who could play on either side of the ball in college. We like him as an offensive tackle because of his length, long arms and athleticism. He has an ideal tackle frame, shows the feet to kick out and take on speed rushers but the strength to handle bull rushers as well. He is a talented defensive lineman and can get a push off the edge and moves around the line to take advantage of mismatches- Biggins
Aledo (Texas) High OT Chuck Filiaga
Why OU: Still not too sure Filiaga has OU on the brain, but the Sooners are still keeping tabs on him. He seems to be second on the totem pole right now at offensive tackle, and OU is in fantastic position with Gonzales (La.) East Ascension offensive tackle Adrian Ealy. Obviously things can change quickly in recruiting so OU isn’t throwing in the towel yet.
Why Texas: Texas has two major OL targets in 2017 – Walker Little and Chuck Filiaga. From everything I have been told, Filiaga’s mother is a big-time Charlie Strong fan, and everyone knows you don’t mess with mama bear. However, the hotter Strong’s seat gets, the less likely I see Filiaga considering UT.
AnalysisManning is a big outside receiver prospect already north of 200 pounds with the space on his 6-foot-3+ frame to get even larger. Impressive downfield threat with good long speed. Dangerous red-zone weapon thanks to size and leaping ability. Consistently high-points the ball. Proven ball-winner. Good at adjusting mid-air to make plays on the ball. Go-get-it type of receiver. Can improve get-off at the snap. Not a dart-and-dodge, make-you-miss receiver. Plays for a talent-laden high school program and sees good competition in practice as well as games. Overall, a great, high-major talent with a high ceiling and among the top receivers in the country for the 2017 class. - Gabe Brooks
Lancaster (Texas) High WR Omar Manning
Why OU: One of the more confusing targets for OU fans this cycle, without question. For months, it looked like the Sooners were the program to beat. But as Manning never pulled the trigger, well, you start to realize it just wasn’t meant to be. OU’s offense has not looked strong vs. Texas since 2012 so perhaps a top-notch performance by Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine, Joe Mixon and Lincoln Riley will be what Manning needs to see to start thinking about Norman again.
Why Texas: Omar Manning is one of the Longhorns’ top offensive recruits in 2017. Texas made up a lot of ground with Manning over the last several months with the implementation of OC Sterlin Gilbert’s new offense. He has built solid relationships with Gilbert, WR coach Charlie Williams and TE coach Jeff Traylor. It will be interesting to see if the uncertainty around Strong will impact where Texas fits in his big picture.
AnalysisVincent Jr. is a dynamic athlete with playmaking ability from his cornerback spot or in the return game. Sudden athleticism in both short-area burst and agility, as well as top-end speed. Turns and runs with receivers well. Great acceleration from a dead stop. Also possesses coveted trait of accelerating even more while already in flight. Excellent closing speed aided by ability to anticipate the ball. Dangerous in the return game because of aforementioned athletic traits and sudden cutback ability. Will need to build bulk and strength to prepare for next level, but a promising, high major-caliber cornerback talent with plenty of potential. - Gabe Brooks
Port Arthur (Texas) Memorial CB Kary Vincent (committed to LSU)
Why OU: Not sure it’s fair to put Vincent in this category, especially since he’s still committed to the Tigers. However, if he starts looking elsewhere, OU would be a spot to circle because his relationship with the OU coaches goes back a long time. The Sooners are looking for at least one more difference maker in the secondary, and if Vincent has watched OU at all this season, then he should know the opportunity will be there as a true freshman.
Why Texas: After LSU cut ties with Les Miles, Kary Vincent Jr. told me he is still solid in his commitment with the Tigers. However, he does plan to take an official visit to Texas in the coming months. If the Longhorns can turn things around and quiet the rumors of Strong’s job security, Texas is one to watch with Vincent’s recruitment.
AnalysisWilson is a massive defensive line prospect who dominates at the point of attack. Possesses the strength and power to overwhelm most opponents at the high school level. Tall, long-armed, thick-trunked. Consistently gets off blocks to make plays vs. run and as a pass-rusher. Powerful bull-rusher, sometimes even when doubled. Explosion off the ball looked noticeably better on junior tape compared to sophomore film. Pursues well for such a large interior defender. Potentially scheme-versatile as even-front 3-technique DT and multi-position prospect in odd front. Can play a bit too high at times because of his height. While pursuit ability is impressive, can sometimes (understandably) get off-balance laterally. Must be ready to acclimate to a significant jump in competition going from private school football in Texas (a state ruled by public schools) to Power Five college level. Overall, one of the top prospects in Texas - and the nation - in the 2017 cycle. - Gabe Brooks
Houston Bellaire Episcopal DT Marvin Wilson
Why OU: Not even going to lie here, the Sooners are not the favorite right now and maybe not even in the top five. OU needs some sort of second chance with Wilson after not knocking it out of the park with him during his official visit last month. Texas’ struggles help OU sort of, but what hurts? Well, seems pretty obvious Wilson is heading back to College Station to see Texas A&M and Tennessee and not making the trip to Dallas.
Why Texas: Texas was in a solid spot with Marvin Wilson following the Longhorns season opening win over Notre Dame. Wilson enjoyed the game atmosphere and the product Texas put on the field against the Irish. But with the demotion of DC Vance Bedford and no candidate in place to take over the defense besides Strong himself, it’s hard to predict the Longhorns will remain in the mix with Wilson unless the defense entirely turns things around through conference play.