– A couple of weeks ago, the Sooners extended an offer to Elite Corner Back Luke Hill out of Washington D.C., St Johns College High School.
— Luke Hill (@4flavorz) April 18, 2018
I was able to catch up with the 5’11” 170 lb. DMV area star to get some quick thoughts from about the offer.
As you recall, Oklahoma Special Teams Coach Shane Beamer made his way through the DMV area and handed out several offers to some elite prospects, including one to Hill’s High School teammate Mekhail Sherman.
When I asked Luke what the OU offer meant to him, he said “That offer meant a lot to me. It showed me the level of competition I can compete on.” That say’s a lot about Oklahoma when you consider Hill also holds offers from South Carolina, Penn State and Virginia Tech among others.
Being from the east coast, I asked Hill what his perception of the Oklahoma football program was, and he replied “When I hear the words ‘Oklahoma Football’ I think of diversity. My perception of the program is top notch, best of the best in both talent and facilities”
As we were wrapping up the conversation, Luke mentioned, “I see myself getting out to Norman during the summer for a visit.”
I am in the process of setting up a time to do a “Spotlight” piece on the elite Defensive Back in the near future, and I will be sure to keep you all updated on the plans for the visit and follow up with Luke at that time. – (Charlie)
– Oklahoma is looking to land two running backs in the 2019 class. Late last night 2019 Millwood (OKC) RB, Marcus Major Jr, cut his list down to seven with OU making the cut.
1st I want 2 thank God for da talents & gifts that he has given me 2 play this game I love. 2nd I want to thank my parents & coaches for everything they have done 4 me during this process. Last I want 2 thank every coach that has offered me a scholarship, But I’m cutting it to 7. pic.twitter.com/tRL67u5rpM
— MDMJ…$5￼ (@Md24jr) May 5, 2018
We have written extensively about the OKpreps star and noted that OU was the lone school that has yet to offer his teammate, 2019 WR Demaryion Houston, and the possible effects that could come with that. So far Oklahoma has recruited Major well enough to stay in the race.
Major’s father has continued to tell TFB that the decision will come at the end of July or early August. They would like to have the recruiting done and focus solely on Major’s senior year at Millwood.
All that said, expect some official visits to begin happening with Major and Oklahoma to get one of those officials sometime this summer. As we get the dates of the officials will pass them along. – (Brandon)
Round Ball Round-Up:
Oklahoma has been getting in on a ton of grad transfers this spring after the departures of three players directly after the end of the 2017-2018 basketball season.
Oklahoma is hosting 2018 point guard Franco Miller Jr this weekend on an official visit. I spoke to a source about Miller and was told that they would take his commitment if he decided to do so, but that if they do it would “end the option of taking Wichita State star transfer shooting guard, Austin Reaves, and Reaves is the hottest transfer there is on the market right now.
Reaves visited Oklahoma and Northern Iowa a couple of weeks ago and up until recently Oklahoma felt like they were going to land the star Shooting Guard. Source told me that once they heard Reaves was now considering Michigan and Indiana, the Sooners staff decided to offer Miller. That offer went out on April 26th.
The Sooners staff really like Miller. Miller is down to Oregon, Ole Miss, Minnesota and Oklahoma so it’s not like it would be big step down from Reaves, but as a source told me, “Oklahoma would love to have Reaves sit a year and then play the 2019 season because the depth, experience, and 2019 class could add up to something special that season.”
If Miller doesn’t commit, expect OU to really push Reaves to pull the trigger in hopes that visits to Michigan and Indiana don’t happen. Reaves originally hails from Arkansas, so Oklahoma is hoping that location wins out with him.
Either way, Oklahoma has really set themselves up nicely with some top tier grad transfers and recruiting after what looked like a very rough 2018 season after McGusty and Shepherd announced their transfer intensions.
We will follow and update any info we hear on Miller’s official visit this weekend. – (Brandon)
2019 Defensive Line Recruiting:
“The game is won in the trenches”…you have heard that saying a million times before.
As Sooner fans, you need to look no further than the program’s two appearances in the College Football Playoff over the last three years to realize the validity of that mantra.
In both playoff games, the Sooners won the battle on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball well enough to be in position at halftime to win the game. After halftime… not so much.
In 2015, against Clemson, the Sooners held a 17-16 lead at the half. The second half was an unmitigated disaster, on BOTH sides of the ball, with Clemson cranking out 21 unanswered points enroute to a 37-17 victory. OU was blown off the ball on both sides in the second half of that game.
Fast forward to 2017 in the Rose Bowl, an instant classic; nonetheless, another heartbreaking loss where the game was won in the trenches. While some of you will place the blame for the loss on some seemingly questionable play calling and gimmicks (ugh that squib kick), if you look at the big picture, the game was won in the trenches as the Georgia offensive line dominated the Oklahoma defensive line (front seven really) in the second half. The Bulldogs scored 37 in the second half and over time points. Many of those points came on long runs through three-lane-highway sized gaping holes.
Those are just the two most prominent examples of games being lost in the trenches for Sooner fans. Look a little deeper at the 16 losses the program has suffered since the end of the 2011 season, and most can be traced directly to the play in the trenches. While the Sooners have had little challenge in the conference, in part based on the style of play, the speed bumps they have encountered can usually be traced back to losing in the trenches.
While there has been ample evidence that the Sooner offensive line more than holds its own and continues to be a strength for the most part, since 2012, the defensive line has been a lot more unreliable.
However, that may be changing sooner, rather than later. Improved Defensive line recruiting has been a priority for the Sooners, particularly over the past 3 years. I believe that it is no coincidence that the defensive line recruiting has picked up significantly based on one fact: the 2018 season will be Coach Thibodeaux’s third year as DL coach. From 2012 to 2016, the Sooners employed 4 different DL coaches in that five year span. Jackie Shipp, Jerry Montgomery, Diron Reynolds, and finally Calvin Thibodeaux. There was absolutely no consistency to build any momentum on the recruiting trail.
That all changed last year when #ST2K18 brought in a truly elite defensive line class, one of the top position classes in the country in my opinion. Ron Tatum, Ronnie Perkins, Michael Thompson, Jordan Kelley, and Jalen Redmond each have the potential to be All-Americans in their playing careers should they remain healthy and reach their full potential.
That class is a far cry from the 2016 class which signed Amani Bledsoe and Mark Jackson (who is truly an “Edge” guy). However, the 2017 class does not get enough credit. OU brought in a very solid class (the best class in the Big 12 that cycle in my opinion) with Tyreece Lott, Zach McKinney, Troy James, Isaiah Thomas, Dillon Faamatau, and K’Jakyre Daley. That is a group of guys who may not be household names at this point, but they all will serve as a solid foundation for the Sooners defensive line in the coming years.
That brings us to the 2019 class. The Sooners already have two big “Plan A” targets committed in Derek Green and Kori Roberson. While those two may not get the “love” from the recruiting services at this point, they were absolutely two of the staff’s top targets from day one. When it comes to recruiting the Defensive Line, as Super K has mentioned before, the Sooners are looking for a certain body type more than a specific position type. They want to be bringing in guys who can play multiple positions along the line, both inside and outside, so it is not easy to get a feel for the position number breakdown; however, I am going to say that OU has found their man in the middle for this class in Derek Green and the rest of the players they recruit will be in that “multiple” mold.
Sources have indicated that the staff would like to bring in a total of four defensive linemen, with some wiggle room to go up to five players if the “right” guy should be interested.
The Focus: Based on what we are hearing, the players listed below represent the preferred class
Kori Roberson | 6’3” 275 lbs. | SDE | Manvel (TX) Manvel | OU Commit | The Sooners got in early on the big bodied and heavy handed Dl and that turned out to be a very wise decsion as he has picked up some really nice offers including one from Bama last week. He is a gifted athlete with a high end motor who will challenge for playing time immediately when he gets on campus. All signs indicate that he is completely locked in with OU, but the staff, and in particular Coach Thibodeaux, will be sure to stay on top of him and continue to build that relationship.
Derek Green | 6’5” 290 lbs. | DT | Jacksonville (NC) Southwest | OU Commit | Green committed early – decommitted – and recommitted to the Sooners at the Spring game. His relationship with Ruffin McNeil played a massive role in settling once and for all with the Sooners. He will be a force in the middle for the Sooners.
Marcus Hicks | 6’5” 235 lbs. | WDE | Wichita (KS) Northwest | Hicks has been to Norman on many occasions and the staff continues to build a great relationship with both Marcus and his family. He is a player OU has targeted from day one.
Marcus Stripling | 6’3” 265 lbs. | SDE | Houston (TX) Mayde Creek | Stripling was at one time silently committed to OU. It depends who you talk to and what day you talk to them on in regards to how OU stands with Stripling at this point. What I can say is that it would not be the least bit surprising to see Marcus make his way up to Norman for an unofficial at some point this summer, I would actually expect that to happen. As I mentioned last week, as of right now it appears that Texas A&M has the upper hand; however, they have yet to play a game under Jimbo Fisher, and things could get sideways really early in College Station, which would further open the door for OU.
In Play: Players that OU really likes and feel that they would fit well in their system
Kayvon Thibodeaux | 6’5” 235 lbs. | WDE | Thousand Oaks (CA) Oaks Christian | The number one player in the country according to more than a few people has talked about OU on and off for the better part of his recruitment. Brandon has mentioned the possibility of an official visit to Norman and I have picked up word of that possibility as well recently, so we will see if that comes to fruition. Everyone in the country is vying for his services and if the OU staff can get him to Norman, you never know what can come of it.
Braylen Ingraham | 6’4” 260 lbs. | SDE | Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas | Ingraham visited Norman for the spring game weekend, It was one of the quietest vists in recent memory however it appears to have been a very effective visit based on Braylen not being too shy about having OU in his top two, along with home state school Miami. I can tell you that OU continues to put in a lot of work here as Coach Mike Stoops has visited him several times since the Spring Game visit.
Faatui Tuitele | 6’4” 299 lbs. | DT | Honolulu (HI) St Louis | Tuitele visited Norman, along with Austin and Baton Rouge, on his tour of the middle of the country back in March. The family had glowing reviews of their time spent on campus and there is a possibility of a return visit for an official. The DT holds offers from every major program in the country and should OU get an official, you have to think they have made a serious impression and absolutely have a chance here.
Trace Ford | 6’4” 225 lbs. | SDE | Edmond (OK) Santa Fe | Ford has been killing it in camps recently. While he is yet to hold an OU offer, should that offer come, the Sooners would immediately become a real contender. Will there be lingering hard feelings based on the timing of that offer? That is yet to be known fully but I am led to believe that the Sooners have been completely upfront with the young man about the reasoning behind the lack of an offer to this point and that has to do with how they are feeling in regards to other targets they have already offered.
The one thing that jumps out to me about those players mentioned above is their size. They are all over 6’3″ and have tremendous length for the most part. Each of them can play multiple positions along the defensive line which is exactly the type of body/player the Sooners are looking for. Much like the way Coach Bedenbaugh has been recruiting for the offensive line and the way we are seeing Coach Cooks recruit for the secondary, Coach Thibbs and Coach Ruffin are seeking those elite athletes who they can plug in at different spots in order to get the best players on the field at the same time.
As things stand right now in regards to recruiting for 2019, we like where OU stands with their commits, Roberson and Green, as well as where they stand with Marcus Hicks. As for Marcus Striping, that one will take some time to be finalized no matter if he commits to one program or the other. Ingraham is really high on Oklahoma. However, Miami will be in the picture to the very end, so it will be a battle till sigining day. As for Fuitele and Thibodeaux, OU would be incredibly happy to get them on campus for an official should that take place, and then take their best shot. Ford is the one I am really keeping an eye on. He may be developing into a player that OU just can’t afford to not offer, right before our eyes. My question there will be, will it be too late?
What a difference 3 years makes in the recruiting world. – (Charlie)