Updates | Josh Eaton, Baldwin & More
– Super K
As you know we are not only in fall camp but also a recruiting dead period. So, for the next two or three weeks, the notes may get a little tied together in even more random ways.
***Last week, I noted that Josh Eaton informed that he does have his plans set up to take an official to Oklahoma for the Texas Tech game in September.
He was originally planning on announcing his decision in August but began rethinking that and told me as much.
It looks like he has reconsidered once again. Yesterday, he let me know that he is once again seriously considering announcing his decision before the season starts.
Should he do that, I can tell you that his likely choice will be TAMU or Texas. However, should the Sooners push, I believe it is still his plan to take his official visits including his visit to OU.
***OU currently has only two defensive backs committed (three if you count DJ Graham but he’s a bit of a bubble guy). I’m still under the impression they’d like to take at least two more.
Still trying to figure out who the priorities are. They are communicating with a few defensive backs but it’s not clear how hard they are necessarily pushing. That may be because they’d like to evaluate guys during the season.
Dontae Manning is still a high priority.
***I did check in with Jacobe Covington’s mother and she says they are still very much considering taking a return (3rd trip) to OU for a game this fall. He does have two OVs set up – Oregon and TAMU.
I continue to follow this one because something tells me this one is going to come back around.
***Mail Bag: We received a question about how things are going with Starrland Baldwin. I can tell you that Baldwin wasn’t someone we heard much about this summer other than that he had a long way to go in getting his weight up to looking like a defensive back that would play on a Grinch defense.
Grinch is an eye test guy. If you don’t look like you belong on the field, you probably won’t be.
Deep Dive | Interior Defensive Line
– Charlie S
The Sooners currently have one interior defensive lineman committed in the 2020 class in Perrion Winfrey (6’4″ 305) out of Iowa Western CC.
The highly coveted Winfrey is a huge get for the Sooners as he fills what will be a rather massive void next year as OU loses three interior defensive linemen who will exhaust their eligibility in Neville Gallimore (6’2″ 301), Marquise Overton (6’1″ 304), and Dillon Faamatau (6’3″ 290). Those numbers do not take into account the departure of Tyreece Lott in the offseason.
Jordan Kelley (6’3″ 294), who saw limited action as a true freshman last year, is currently recovering from a leg injury which will keep him out for the year but his return, coupled with Winfrey coming in, will give OU some promising big men in the middle of the line.
Then you have guys like Troy James (6’1″ 286) and Zacchaeus McKinney (6’3″ 278) who are currently getting a new lease on life with some fresh eyes on them in the form of Sooner’s defensive coordinator Alex Grinch who is installing an attacking defensive scheme which may be of benefit to both of them.
Along with James and McKinney, you have guys like Marcus Stripling (6’3″ 257) and Kori Roberson (6’4″ 273), both of whom have received some positive reviews this summer and early in fall camp, who could become candidates to see some playing time inside this year. I am not saying Stripling will be a full-time interior guy, but he does have some interesting tools which would allow him to slide inside on certain situation, let me be clear on that.
While the Sooners seem to have six or seven guys who could make an impact on the interior of the DLine next year, including Perrion Winfrey, they very well may be looking for at least one more big body along the line.
Currently, most of the other defensive line targets we are aware of such as Tyler Barron (6’5″ 252), Antwuan Powell (6’2″ 245, FL Commit), Alfred Collins (6’5″ 275), Princely Umanmielen (6’4″ 249), Jalen Lee (6’3″ 294, LSU Commit), Blayne Toll (6’5″ 244, ARK Commit), and Noah Arinze (6’5.5″ 240), are viewed more as ends with Lee being the lone exception and he is a Louisianna kid who is committed to LSU.
So while we believe the Sooners would like one more guy in the 2020 class who would at least present them with the possibility of playing both inside and on the end (like a Stripling or Roberson), that player/recruit has yet to reveal himself to this point.
It will be interesting to see how Grinch and Defensive Line coach Calvin Thibodeaux approach the defensive tackle position going forward. In the 2020 cycle, the Sooners initially entertained true defensive tackles such as Alex Huntley (6’4″ 285, SCar Commit), Octavious Oxendine (6’2″ 308) and Branard Wright (6’3″ 300) but seemingly backed away upon Grinch’s arrival. The Sooners could still get back in on Oxendine and Wright at the very least should they choose to, but right now we are seeing no real inclination of that.
We will be digging for more information and further clarity in regards to defensive line recruiting as camp settles in and the dead period comes to a close in September. Until then, there are still some questions as to how the Sooners plan on addressing the loss of three contributing members along the interior of the line next year.
Quick Hitters | Edgerrin Cooper & Blayne Toll
– Charlie S
*** Touched base with Sooners 2020 Linebacker commit Edgerrin Cooper (6’1.5″ 205).
I was looking to see if he had locked in his official visit to Norman yet and he told me he has not yet done so but he is working on getting it set.
I was checking to see if any other teams were hitting him up hard and he mentioned that Mississippi State was. I asked if there was any interest in visiting Starkville and he said he would prefer not to comment which I can respect.
Not trying to alarm you all as he gave no indication of being anything but solid to OU, just letting you know some of the things we are picking up and we will continue to check in with commits and recruits.
As you know, I am a big buyer in Cooper and I have been saying that OU will look back and be grateful when/if he signs with them since the time he committed. I expect him to continue to pick up offers and interest from other schools as the cycle progresses.
*** Also touched base with Sooners 2020 DE target Blayne Toll (6’5″ 244) real quick to see how involved the Sooners are with him since his commitment to Arkansas.
I was very surprised by his answer when I asked him if OU is still working him hard as he only said ‘a little bit’. The reason it is surprising to me is that sources have indicated to me that Toll is still a priority target for the Sooners.
Now, a ‘little bit’ is quite vague and while he didn’t expand on that, he also would not commit to the possibility of a visit. Could be a case of Blayne not wanting to tip his hand or it could be a sign that OU feels he is pretty locked in and is letting him breathe a bit.
Either way, with that said, defensive line recruiting continues to be a bit of a mystery in the 2020 cycle.
Sourced Notes & Quotes | Post Practice | Tuesday Night, August 6th
– James Hale
Tuesday Night Lights
*** For OU’s fourth practice of fall camp, the Sooners went to a night practice to get out of the intense sun that has hit the state of Oklahoma this week.
*** OU will work out at night again tomorrow and sounds like there are plans for their first scrimmage this Saturday.
*** I’m told OU worked quite a bit tonight on the quarterback run game and the run game period.
**** Of course, that is right up senior Jalen Hurts (6’2, 219) alley but both redshirt freshman Tanner Mordecai (6’2, 208) and freshman Spencer Rattler (6’0, 197) can run the ball pretty well. I knew Rattler could because he ran the ball very well in high school and while he’s not a blazer like Kyler Murray or a bulldozer like Hurts, he has good quickness and instincts and he can gain yardage in the run game.
*** Junior cornerback Tre Norwood (6’0, 184) was on crutches at practice with his knee heavily bandaged and tapped but still no official word from OU what his status is. Again, we know it’s a severe low leg injury and we suspect it is a torn ACL. Norwood would have been the starting corner opposite junior Tre Brown (5’10 185) and he was also working the at the nickel battling Bookie Radley-Hiles (5’9, 180) for that spot.
*** When Norwood was healthy those two along with senior Parnell Motley (6’0, 178) were battling for playing time at the corner and the nickel with Norwood and then the best player between Bookie and Motley starting at corner or nickel.
*** Now I am told that sophomore Justin Broiles (5’10 189) has moved back down to the nickel back and joined the competition with Bookie
*** This training camp, the competition is very intense to see who is going to emerge and become players in the secondary. I’m told Brown had another good night tonight and is going to be the main corner but is Motley really improved and can he play through the bad times? Can Parker regain his old magic after major knee surgery? Are the new guys good enough to play as freshmen? That’s what camp is for, finding the answers to those questions.
*** Cornerback is one of the big stories of this training camp and who plays in the secondary will continue to be a topic until the defense takes the field for the first time on September 1st.
Lead by example
*** Once again Quarterback Jalen Hurts was the last player to leave camp last night, but this time he had a partner in junior wide receiver Mykel Jones (5’11, 191).They were still out there as we were speaking with the coaches.
*** They worked a good 40 minutes after practice with Jones running routes and Hurts making all the throws. Both also worked on footwork drills and got in at least another 50 throws. Jones didn’t run another 50 routes but he did get 10 to 20 yards downfield and stood at the end of a route allowing Hurts to make the throw from different angles.
*** We forget about Jones at receiver, or at least I do sometimes. Jones played in 26 games his first two years at OU and started one game and he has caught 31-passes for 453-yards and one touchdown during his career that covered 55-yards. He has played both inside and outside and can’t be discounted in the competition for playing time at wide receiver.
*** Even talking to some of the offense guys tonight I got the sense that the defense has been good early n camp and been very competitive.
*** I was told by half the guys that I talked to tonight that the defense had been more competitive than they had been for the last couple of years. OU tight end and H-back Coach Shane Beamer said that the defense is playing hard and giving the offense all it can handle and that’s great competition.
*** Beamer said that both sophomores Jeremiah Hall (6’2, 246) and Brayden Willis (6’3, 235) are basically interchangeable and that both will play this year. He said that Hall is further along in basic fundamentals at the position but that Willis is an intriguing player as a receiver coming out of the backfield.
*** I was told that once again Kennedy Brooks (5’11, 209) sat out with a minor injury giving sophomore T.J. Pledger (5’9, 195) a chance to take advantage of additional reps. Pledger is having a great camp and is proving to be a very good running back.
*** As expected, sounds like Sophomore Charleston Rambo (6’1, 177) is winning the wide receiver opposite junior CeeDee Lamb (6’2, 191) despite the great young talent at wide receiver. That is at least early in camp, but those young guys are very good.
*** Sounds like one position that is totally loaded and had a good day today, especially in Red Zone work, was the big inside receiver position of junior Grant Calcaterra (6’4, 233), senior Lee Morris (6’2, 215) and freshman Austin Stogner (6’6, 237).
*** I was told Stogner made a great catch in the end zone sandwiched between the two safeties and the fact he held onto the ball was impressive. In fact, word is the DBs got a talking to for hitting him so hard in the end zone during practice. It was a big-time play by the rookie. Stogner has proven to be a very good blocker thus far in camp, but I still wonder how many reps he can get this year with Morris and Calcaterra in front of him.
*** Calcaterra is working on special teams as a deep snapper. Kasey Kelleher (5’10, 227) is the starting deep snapper and a good one, but Calcaterra has proven to be very good at it, and it turns out he did the deep snapping for his high school team. A tight end who is on preseason award watch lists such as the Mackey award will be the backup deep snapper at OU this year. College Football is awesome.
New Swiss Army Knife for Bedenbaugh.
*** Since I had him on the radio, this was the first time since he arrived at OU that I had a chance to talk to Virginia transfer R.J. Proctor (6’4, 337). Proctor says already in camp he has worked at center, guard, and tackle.
*** “I am ready to play any position in case somebody goes down,” said Proctor. “If somebody gets hurt I can go to right tackle or if somebody goes down I can go to left tackle. I will still know what to do. I know the whole scheme, the whole concept so if something breaks down I know exactly who to get.”
*** At Virginia, Proctor trained under legendary Virginia Strength and Conditioning Coach Shawn Griswold and now he has gotten a taste of the Sooners Bennie Wylie.
*** “Bennie is a great guy and he definitely makes us work hard,” said Proctor. “Don’t get me wrong so does Coach Griz. Coach Wylie is just intense. The heat is different here in Oklahoma. Virginia heat is bipolar but it’s nothing like this. There’s nothing like this Oklahoma heat and I’m glad we practiced at night tonight. That helped me to really get my head into the game and really focus on things on the field. I was very happy with how I played today.”
*** Coach Bedenbaugh isn’t sure where Proctor best fits yet but he works a lot at left guard and left tackle.
*** “I will play anywhere Coach B (Bedenbaugh) wants to play me,” said Proctor. “I have gotten some snaps at every single position and in pass pro tonight I got snaps at left guard and right guard. I have taken reps here after practice at both tackle spots and even had a couple of snaps snapping the football. So, I’m ready for anything.
*** The Oklahoma offense will be the most wide-open offense he has played in thus far in college football.
*** “Yeah, the offense is difficult at times,” said Proctor. “The actual scheme is different things that when I go to the line of scrimmage can be difficult. I am just taking this day by day and I try not to make the same mistakes that I made yesterday. I try to be coachable and if I mess up on one thing I try to not mess up on it again.”
*** “I just have to take things one play at a time and think about things until they become natural for me in the offense. I have to have a short memory sometimes, at least right now, because again I’m just now trying to run the offense in real-time. If I mess up on a play I need to get up and forget about it and get ready for the next play. Let’s don’t let it happen again.”
*** Proctor, like Hurts, knows this is a one time shot to make something happen at Oklahoma. Proctor’s situation is more complicated than Hurts with more players involved, but he has started 12 games already at Virginia and feels that experience will help him at OU.
*** “Playing at UVA I got to play against a lot of different studs,” said Proctor. “I got to play against a lot of different people like Eric Smith of the Jets. I played against a whole lot of people that are now in the NFL.”
*** “Here being at Oklahoma is so humbling. Going through that transfer portal and then getting that offer from OU made my dreams come true. It’s really cool having that experience that I gained from UVA and yet being here with Creed (Humphrey) who knows this offense so well. Creed really helps me learn the offense and helps me know what I’m doing. He is a smart guy and he helps me with everything.”
*** I am told tonight Humphrey was the starting center with sophomore Marquis Hayes (6’5, 332) and sophomore Tyrese Robinson (6’3, 328) at guard and sophomore Adrian Ealy (6’5, 336) at right tackle and junior Erik Swenson (6’5, 317) at left tackle. Proctor worked all over the offensive line as did junior Finley Felix (6’5, 314).
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Elite Florida Wide Receiver Duo Want to see OU Live
– Super K
Following the monster wide receiver class the Sooners landed last season, it was no surprise that the 2020 class wasn’t necessarily going to have the high profile guys Sooners have grown accustomed to.
That doesn’t mean OU didn’t do a really good job of evaluating talent – I believe they did.
In 2021 though, the doors should be open for OU to land some of the top guys. Two of the guys they have their eyes are 5-star WR, Agiye Hall (Seffner, FL) and 4-star blazer (as in Hollywood Brown type speed), Mario Williams (Plant City, FL).
I mentioned last month, following the Prime 21 Camp that we heard a lot of buzz about the fact that both Hall and Williams would not only like to play together but that both have the Sooners near or at the top of their list.
I checked in with Agiye and he tells me that both he and Williams are scheduled to be in Dallas for the Red River Rivalry game. With Texas being the home team, they will technically be guest of the Longhorns, but there is no contact allowed with recruits at the game.
Agiye Hall has already announced that he’d like to make his commitment in early January. The staff over at Armwood (Hall’s school) has a good relationship with the Sooners staff as you’ll recall Eric Striker played there.
TFB Randoms | Sooners DB Commit Seeing Natty’s
– Charlie S
So as you know I have been checking in with the Sooners commits this week in regards to where things are at in their recruitment and what not…
I know some Sooner fans are concerned about the commitment status of several current commits, Bryson Washington (6’2″ 195, Houston, TX) being one of them, so with that, I wanted to share some positive vibes with you.
Was able to catch up with the Sooners 2020 safety commit who let me know that he is locked in on OU at this time and is very excited about his future in Norman.
I asked him what his big-picture vision for his career at OU is and he said ”Man my future at OU is about to be crazy! Me and my boys about to win a Natty’.
Not a huge note, but I know it is nice to get some positive news with the tumultuous state of defensive recruiting of late and it cannot be understated how big of a head to head win it was for the Sooners to get Washington’s verbal commitment over Texas.
For him to be locked in and focusing on OU is a very good sign.
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