Open Post | Weekend, January 5th – 7th

DaShaun White: TAMU LB commit and top Sooners LB target, DaShaun White is in San Antonio this week for the Army All American prep and game. I caught up with his briefly yesterday and asked him how things are coming with his decision and his family. As we’ve previously noted, White’s family have been hesitant about him making a move but White says the family understands that it is ultimately DaShaun’s decision and they will support it.

White is still uncertain about when something will happen. He said it could happen, “sometime this week if it all flows well” but that isn’t set in stone.

I know coming out of the Army game camp there have been some rumors that because White is rooming with Leon O’Neal, he’s leaning back in their direction. I asked him about that and he said, “He’s in my ear but I’m not swaying much”. – (Super K)

Solomon Tuliaupupu: Sooners are in need of a true middle linebacker and they’re hoping Solomon (Solo…yes he has the coolest name) Tuliaupupu will be that guy. I recently spoke with Solo’s father, Turnbull, about Solo’s game and his recruitment.

His Recruitment…

Solo holds offers from all over the country. The Sooners were actually involved in his recruitment pretty early, “OU has been after Solo for a long time. Coach Kish saw him at Claremont (Solo’s school prior to his transfer to Mater Dei)”. But Solo and the Sooners lost contact for a bit. In fact, according to Turnbull, in focusing on the season Solo put recruiting almost completely to the side. But once the season was over and recruiting became a priority again Turnbull says, “we reached back out to OU and they were excited. OU was one of the schools we entertained because of coach Kish. He’s a guy we respect”.

So far, Solo has taken two official visits and has three remaining. He visited Notre Dame and Hawaii. Of course he’s taken numerous unofficial visits to his local schools like USC, UCLA and Utah.

In talking to Turnbull about the Notre Dame trip and what stood out it’s clear that they really want to find a program that will bring out the best in Solo, “It was solid. We liked what we saw in their weight training program. They hired the guy who developed the IMG program. So they have their old Utah strength and conditioning guy and the IMG guy and they monitor everything. It was good to see that. And then just seeing the commitment to football in terms of the facilities and the money they put into the program was big. It’s a good school as well. Solo is a high academic player. Stanford offered him, if that tells you anything”.

Coach Riley and coach Kish did a in-home visit with Solo and the family just before the dead period began. The plan was for Solo to take a official visit to Oklahoma on the first weekend after the dead period but it sounds like they want to make sure that the players and students are back. So, as of right now, we are expecting Solo to visit Oklahoma on the final weekend before signing day (26th – 28th). Another visit they are considering is one to Ohio State.

Insider Notes…

Because Solo really wasn’t focused on recruitment it does look like he and some schools that may have been a threat to the Sooners have parted way. I think the big one is Stanford. I also know the family has a lot of ties to Utah but I get the sense from talking to folks around Solo that Utah just isn’t a big enough program. I’d definitely keep an eye on Notre Dame. I’m told UCLA is making a late run. I don’t get a good sense of where they are in all this. Oregon is another school that they’re interested in but I’m told that Oregon doesn’t have quite the academic profile they’re looking for.

USC is the school people think is the biggest threat. I think if USC wants him, they’ll be tough to beat but signed a few linebackers so I’m not sure how hard they are pushing. OU needs to win this one. If they can finish with Solo and DaShaun…to go along with the guys they got last year…now you’ve got some dang linebackers.

His Game…

He is a true inside linebacker. As Turnbull correctly said, a lot of guys can learn to play outside linebacker but playing inside linebacker isn’t for everyone. Inside backer requires toughness, physicality, great eyes and perfect timing. No matter how big an inside backer gets, he will never be as big as a lineman. So, he needs to be able to engage and disengage. He needs to be quick and decisive, understanding when to attack and when to be patient which is partly instinct/eyes and partly understanding football. When it comes to inside guys (safeties and ILBs) you hear coaches talk about eyes a lot. Saban says, “see a little…see a lot”. In other words you need to know what you’re looking for. If you’re early or late, there is a good chance you’re getting washed down or blocked down field by a bigger man. And if you’ve got good eyes but you’re not athletic enough to be where you need to be when you need to be there, you run into the same problem. Solo has the true inside linebacker features you covet. He understands personnel and formations and knows how to react appropriately. He can engage and disengaged in instant, scraping across the formation to make a play. He can pressure up the middle. He can wade through trash. He’s surprisingly long for a true ILB and has good bend for drops. It is no wonder Oklahoma has made him a priority.

– We are told that 2018 Alabama LB commit, Vernon Jackson (Boling, TX) will visit on January 20th. Jackson intended to make it up to OU before the early signing period but was not able to do so. It sounds like he is adamant to make it back up to Oklahoma before the February signing day. As some of you may know, Jackson has taken multiple unofficial visits to Oklahoma and the Sooners were in his final four before he committed to Alabama.

– Spoke with source on the OU side about remaining targets and was told once again that the focus will be linebackers. Oklahoma wants another pass rusher in this class and it sounds like the Sooners are fully focused on Jeremiah Martin. Staff will make it an immediate priority after signing day to get out to California to do another in-home visit with him. Martin tells us he has two more official visits he’d like to take, Washington and Utah. He says he will announce his decision on signing day.

– I know there has been some concern that things have changed with regards to Bookie and the Sooners. I can only tell you what our sources are telling us and that is simply that nothing has changed on that front. Our sources still feel good about where things stand.

– Sooners have offered 2018 DT, Moro Ojomo (Katy, TX).

I chatted with Moro last week and at the time he said that the only official visits he was certain to take are to Oregon and Texas. We’ll see if this OU offer throws the Sooners into the mix. – (Super K)