Tito “Stealing” Recruits from Other States

Image from Scout.com

Often in talking to people in the football community or friends who are coaches I come across random notes about recruits. Some are Oklahoma recruits and some are recruits from other schools. Recently one of those comments related to Oklahoma CB commit, Tito Windham and it got me thinking.

I had a coach down in Mississippi tell me “Oklahoma got a steal” with the commitment of Tito Windham. He told me that “Oklahoma came into the state of Mississippi and literally stole the best DB in the entire state!” As we told you a while back, Coach Mike Stoops only watched three plays of Tito Windham’s film before he offered him.

Earlier this week we talked about Dwayne Orso’s size. He is, as I noted, a huge kid standing at least 6’5 and he’s definitely still growing in terms of physical strength and power and might not even be done growing vertically. But even with his current length and current strength he is already a very difficult match-up. As most of you know by now, after Oklahoma offered Dwayne Orso, schools like South Carolina and Mississippi State aggressively pursued Dwayne. But it appears, so far, that their efforts have failed. Again, Oklahoma may very well have stolen a great recruit right out of the heart of SEC territory.

Oklahoma got in on OLineman, Alex Dalton early as well. Like the OU coaches, we’ve liked Alex for quite some time and now he is a highly rated commit by most of the corporate evaluation sites. Alex is from Ohio, a rich recruiting state and Oklahoma managed to go in there and snatch him away from other regional schools.

The fact is there is so much talent in places like Louisiana, Alabama, Ohio, Mississippi, and Florida and one of the knocks on Oklahoma (and rightfully so) has been OU’s unwillingness to be decisive and make early offers. But those early evaluations and that decisive action seems to have paid dividends this year in allowing Oklahoma to “steal” some really good prospects out of areas where it is normally very difficult.  If coaches are willing to put aside perception, put great effort into discovering and evaluating talent and then make the early offers, they can grab some of these talented players while schools like Ole Miss worry about competing with Alabama and LSU for a “4-star” kid.

The talent is so deep in some of those areas that it is often very difficult for even the best talent evaluators to distinguish between players. In other words, the difference in how those kids play on the next level is, in large part, about mental and physical development and of course how they fit into a particular scheme or identity. I hope Oklahoma takes an even more aggressive evaluation and offer approach in 2015. Places like Louisiana and Ohio are talent-rich states that only have one major state football program. We have to be able to grab a recruit or two out of these kinds of states. Especially when a state like Louisiana is so close in proximity to Oklahoma.

If OU can consistently get at least 5+ players from Oklahoma, 2-3 players from California, 2-3 players from SEC country, 2-3 players from Florida and 1-2 players from the Midwest (Ohio) that can (counting conservatively) perhaps fill over half our class each year. And that can help us develop in-roads in states with deep talent pools and enhance our ability to better recruit those areas moving forward.

 

  • bjwalker82

    My thinking is… OU should join the PAC 12 at some point (I know we’ve seen/heard this song and dance before). We’ve made excellent in-roads into California (and even Arizona). It would be a natural move. Hopefully the Texas schools eventually wake up.

    • Sooner Ray

      The match ups would be nice but I don’t want to watch ball games that start at 9 or 10pm. week after week.

    • blaster1371

      I think the Big 12 will be just fine. When Texass gets their act together, if Baylor stays good and Tech and K-State remain competitive then the conference is every bit as good as the big Ten. Okie-lite is here to stay, that’s a fact Jack. The playoff system will have an intriguing impact on who goes into the national title race. If zone is serious about winning national titles then I see no advantage of going to the PAC 12.

      • bjwalker82

        Yeah, well. I think the Big 10 isn’t even in our league. I think the only advantage is for the school itself (research money) and to continue to recruit in Cali.

        • blaster1371

          Oh, I agree with that regarding the big Ten. Big ten football seems irrelevant outside of that section of the nation.

          • Sooner_Ace

            I live in in BIG country now, and the football here is ridiculous (not in a good way)…my two cents

      • pitbull17

        If OU jumps conferences I’d much rather it be the SEC? Better conference, more money, more HS talent in that area.

        • blaster1371

          Me too. Especially for the fan base so they could travel more easily to away games. It would also draw more kids from Cali.

        • Shelby is a Patriot

          I just want two more quality teams in the Big 12 so we can go back to having a conference championship game.

          • pitbull17

            That would work if there were 2 more quality teams out there. What team worth having would leave the conference they are in right now to come to the big12?

          • Shelby is a Patriot

            A year ago I would have said FSU, since they had rumors about leaving for the Big 12, anyway. I don’t know about that now, though. Louisville, maybe? Weren’t they also rumored to possibly join during all the realignments or was that just everyone’s wishful thinking?

        • Steve Cooke

          I agree on the sec. We should already be there but we stayed in the little 12.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDUvqXK4DEM DCinAZ

        I think the BIG XII will be pretty good next year.

  • Tank

    Bedenbaugh and Montgomery’s work ethic is superior to those who they replaced. 10 years ago the guys they replaced were working day and night to recruit, after a while it takes a toll and they no longer had the same stamina to put in the hours and hours it takes to recruit. You also have to be sending out 4-5 tweets a day to your recruits to keep them interested, many of today’s recruits think you aren’t interested if you aren’t in constant contact with them.

  • Ed Cotter

    With Texas A&M’s move to the SEC and Baylor starting to put together some nice recruiting classes, the pickings in the state of Texas have gotten thinner, necessitating OU’s move to look even more nationally, and doing it earlier than usual. Texas high school players are also not shy about wanting to play at SEC schools and even at PAC 12 schools, so I’m glad to see that OU is reaching out across many states to pick up quality kids while still gets top notch Texas talent.

    • blaster1371

      I agree. They are way ahead of the curve in that respect.

    • SoonerfanTU

      Exactly. Luckily, I think Bob saw this several seasons ago, and started branching out our recruiting, especially out west. Under the radar move, but brilliant none-the-less. Also helps us if we ever join up with the PAC-12, which was going to happen at one point, and is still an option.

  • CoachStauder

    Let’s hope Saturday gives us 2 more kids from Cali and one more from AZ!

  • Harrison Briggs

    Is there any word on the status of Fresno athlete Michiah Quick..? Is OU still in the running for him..?

    • JD

      I think we’re in his top two..USC…you could even throw UCLA in there as I think he’s visited both of those schools recently…I still think we get him

      • ctsooner

        I’ll be in SHOCK if Quick isn’t a Sooner on signing day. SHOCK. it’s happened before, but his coach wants all his kids at OU with Viney ;)….K knows what he’s talking about here.

    • Shelby is a Patriot

      We’re the team to beat for Quick from what I’ve heard.

      • Super K

        I’ve been told the same.

    • blaster1371

      Based on what I have read in the Fresno papers UCLA and USC are stronger pulls than previous thought. UCLA gets a lot of love out here on the left coast but when talking to fellow college football junkies no one can give a good reason why. They are not the doormat they once were but they still haven’t won much of anything and are terribly inconsistent. I think it’s 50-50 between OU and USC.

      • blaster1371

        HB I know that question was more for the brainiacs but I thought I’d chime in since I live some 40 miles south of Fresno. They have probably been in direct contact with him.

        • Super K

          Thanks for chiming in bud. I love getting other folks feedback on here that might have some additional knowledge.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDUvqXK4DEM DCinAZ

        UCLA is a great academic school with a beautiful campus and somehow, they put a lot of kids in the NFL without ever accomplishing much.

    • Super K

      Yes the last time I spoke to my source about Miciah my source which was about 3 days ago he was very confident that Miciah was going to end up at OU. Made it sound like Miciah was almost a silent commit. So we’ll see.

  • Leroy Jenkins

    The worst is what those SEC schools are doing with Orso. OU does their homework and finds an under-the-radar jewel. Word gets out that he’s committed to OU, then (and only then) he starts getting attention from Miss. State and South Carolina. I’m glad that Orso is honoring his commitment and the relationship with Montgomery, because often they will flip when an SEC school comes in. Drives me nuts when recruits flip like that after all that hard work and dedication from a school that got them noticed in the first place. It’s competitive, that’s for sure.

    • SoonerfanTU

      Not much different then OU slow playing a kid, that kid commits to Tulsa, or Kansas, or even OSU, and then OU offers late and steals him. It stinks, but it’s part of the “game” of recruiting. Has football ever thought of having a fall singing period too? Or no, b/c it would interfere with their HS season?

      • Leroy Jenkins

        You’re right, not much difference there. It’d be interesting if the recruits had the option to sign either in the Fall or in February

    • red clay

      Second that “… drives me nuts …”, bro.
      Especially when the young’un tweets his announcement. Just feels like a slap in the face even though it is not meant that way. But – when one enlists in the infantry, one gets to march in front of the enemy guns firing hot lead. It’s the nature of the recruiting beast. Therefore this year I just read the updates and don’t even think about commenting.

      Other than to state my admiration and appreciation of the coaches for this part of their jobs. Gotta truly love that work to keep your sanity with recruiting in your job description. And it sounds like SoonerNation has some ace recruiters!

  • Harrison Briggs

    Thank you for the feedback gentlemen. I’m excited about the potential that we have for the ’14 recruiting class. It could be one of the best recruiting classes that we’ve had In a longgggg time.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDUvqXK4DEM DCinAZ

    Excellent article…..

    I had a debate about recruiting in SEC country over on Land thieves and the consensus seemed to be that I was crazy if I thought any kid in SEC country would go to OU vs. playing in the SEC because of how rabid they are (perceptions?).
    My point was, why? We have a better brand than everybody in that entire conference who’s name isn’t Alabama, we already recruit in California and Florida, and we can compete with anybody, anywhere, for recruits, and we should do so. I think we can consistently get recruits in Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi and we should go full bore into those areas with no apologies or hesitations whatsoever.
    If I’m a great athlete in SEC country and my state school of choice like LSU, Bama, or Georgia cant take me for whatever reason, is it really a step down to go play for Oklahoma? Hell no! Let’s go get these kids!

    • Indy_sooner

      I think just being able to say to people like Starks (while he was in Bishop Gorman) that we took Demarco ..now look at him..or talk to kids like Quick/ Dallis Todd and show them how we’ve done with Stills and Clay is a huuuuge recruiting tool. It is incredibly imparative that we demonstrate how well we’ve developed their local talent . If we can get Orso and Windham to be all big 12s or even All Americans, you can bet the big fish in SEC country will notice.
      Btw K, don’t forget that we stole Perine from Bama, so that makes 3 in SEC country this yr.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDUvqXK4DEM DCinAZ

        I think Clay will be another OU RB starting in the NFL by mid-season next year I hope. Williams might work his way onto a team as well. Can you imagine our RB recruiting if we have 4 starting RB’s in the league at once? Geeeeesh!

    • Super K

      We have to recruit that territory and in my opinion it would be unwise not to. Even if you only get the 4th target you’re still getting incredible talent that can be developed into every bit the talent that your first target is. I know a kid that played at a big school in Alabama this year but was originally from Memphis. He’s going to a mid-major school but easily has the physical ability to play for us. One of the best looking DEs in the country. 6’4 with a six pack and can run! He had some grade issues early so a lot of people passed over him but now he’s fine. The more people understand the recruiting process the more they will understand that OU can steal really good kids.

  • Ostrich

    I’d like to see the three plays of Windham that Stoops saw that were so good that they deserved an offer.