Open Post | Weekend, March 20th – 22nd

Tunmise Adeleye | A Journey Interrupted
– Charlie S

The world as we knew it just one week ago has been dramatically altered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public schools and colleges have closed and will transition to online learning across the country.

‘Social distancing’ is a thing now and the CDC has introduced ‘guidelines’ which include suggestions that there be no gatherings of over 10 people and no open movie theaters, bars, or restaurants. America is at the point where they are turning off the lights at 8:00 pm nationwide as curfews and quarantines are being introduced from coast to coast.

Professional sports leagues are suspending and canceling their seasons for the foreseeable future.

March Madness, The Masters and the entire cadre of collegiate spring sports docket has been canceled.

Life, for all of us, has been interrupted.

The reason you all are reading this is that you are all college football fans and college football has not been spared.

Spring practices and games have all been affected by being pushed back or canceled altogether. The spring is not only a time for your favorite program to get better on the field, but it is also a crucial recruiting period during which elite prospects from across the country take visits to your favorite schools.

Those elite prospects are young men who are literally chasing their dreams. Some of those dreams are different than others and they too have been affected.

Last Friday, elite 2021 defensive lineman Tunmise Adeleye sent out a pair of tweets that caught my eye…

Of all the tweets from last week about all the massive amount of news in the sports world which was thrown at us in such a rapid fashion, that tweet stuck with me.

It’s very easy to forget that your favorite recruits are 16-17-18 years old and they have been working their tails off to get to a point where they are securing their future with college offers. Some also have dreams and goals to go along with those offers which include events like The Opening, The Five-Star Challenge, and All-American games.

Tunmise is one of those with dreams that are so close to becoming a reality yet seemingly they are drifting away as precautions are taken to fight the pandemic.

Last night, I was able to have a long talk with Tunmise to get his perspective on the situation and he was incredibly gracious and insightful as he shared his time and thoughts with me.

This is the ‘why’

Tunmise Adeleye is a young man who has worked very hard to get himself in the position he is in.

He has scholarship offers from all the big programs in the country and has actually narrowed his list down to six which is made up of a ‘Who’s who’ of college football powers: OU, Ohio State, Florida, LSU, Alabama and Texas A&M.

He has the invitations to all the big events which he has dreamed of attending… and he is up against the COVID-19 pandemic to see those dreams come true.

“It’s such a sad feeling. These are things I have been looking forward to since I was in sixth or seventh grade. I remember this so vividly, the summer of seventh-grade year, I was on YouTube and looking at all of The Opening Regionals and the Finals and seeing all of the guy’s names and just saying I’m gonna be there one day.”

His voice was filled with reverence as he spoke about how he perceived the events.

“I didn’t even realize how big it was until I got older, but I knew that these were the steps that the guys that I wanted to be like were taking. What really drove me back then was that I was always telling everyone, like back in sixth and seventh grade, that I wanted to go to the NFL and I wanted to play D1 college ball and they would always laugh in my face.”

He continued by adding, “It’s just something that I have always wanted to do, you know, go to The Opening, go to the five-star challenge, play in an All-American game. Now when I get the invites to all these things, people don’t understand that these are truly dreams come true. Not just for me, but for a lot of these guys, this is something we have looked forward to for as long as we have played ball.”

“Just knowing this could be robbed from me, it’s crazy. It’s something I’ve been working toward my entire life.”

Invite vs Participation

As the conversation continued, I noted the fact that he was invited to all the events. I wondered if the invites provided some consolation and a sense of validation in the case that the events do not take place.

“The invitations are nice and all, and they serve as some validation, but it’s more than just the invites I have been looking forward to. It’s the relationships you can build. You know, you talk to the guys that have been to The Opening Finals, and a lot of those guys that are in those classes, they are still connected to this day. Those guys are the same people you’re gonna see at the draft and at the combine. It’s the same group of guys for the most part and, to me, it’s about more than just the invite… it’s the experience out there, it’s the bonds you make… it’s just something deeper to me.”

“It’s about knowing all of you there are on the same grind and the same path. You’re staying up late at night getting your pushups in and waking up early in the morning to go running. Just the chance to be with a group of guys who share your same drive to be the best… I want to be able to spend time with them and understand their stories and where they’re from… the whole experience is about more than just football.”

“So being robbed of something like that, something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, that would hurt. So I am just praying that it doesn’t happen for me and for all of the guys.”

Let’s go back to the beginning

At this point in this post, I know some of you may be thinking ‘Why is he so worried about those events when there is a worldwide pandemic going on’ and you’re ready to pounce.

Hold your thought… all that was written above was a topic we covered at the very end of the conversation following an incredibly insightful look at how he views the pandemic and the precautions that the CDC and government have initiated.

Our discussion began when Tunmise shared his thoughts with me on the pandemic itself and how it is being portrayed on social media, how his peers are reacting to it, and how it affects him and his journey both on and off the field.

“For me personally, I’m a person that is big on facts and statistics so when this Corona Virus really started popping out, I felt like, with how interconnected the world is, there is cause for concern.”

“At the same time, if you look at the grand scheme of things, like the total world population, you look at the number of people who were infected and the number of people who have recovered, you kind of start to think that maybe it’s not as big as it is portrayed in the media.”

“But the fact that it really negatively affects the older population and those with underlying health issues, it makes you start to think about people like your grandparents and possibly other members of your family.”

“So, for me personally, it’s been something at this point, when they are talking about shutdowns and quarantines, I’m looking at it like this is all preventative right now and it’s not as bad as something in a movie like ‘Contagion.’ I feel like these measures we are taking are for a good reason and perhaps we can get a hold of it before it gets completely out of control. In this social media age and how interconnected we all are, I can understand how some aspects of the issue get overblown. But I do feel that it is better to be safe than sorry.”

Eyes Wide Open

We started talking about how his peers are reacting to the precautions and guidelines. We spoke at length about schools being dismissed and a move to online education.

The recruiting game exposes young men like Tunmise to a whole different world. These recruits are being talked to on a regular basis by coaches who are 20-40 years older than them and they are professionals who are very good at their jobs. In some cases, it makes them grow up rather quickly, so I wanted to see if he noticed a difference in how he views what is taking place in comparison with his peers.

“I feel like I view it differently than most of my peers because of the things I have done. With the move to IMG and the recruiting process I have gone through, I think my eyes may be more open to the bigger picture. Just looking at the recruiting calendar you can see how big this is with the calendar, for all intents and purposes, being shut down for the next two months, it really can have an effect on a huge decision for me and my family.”

He added, “It’s a bit frustrating for me seeing everyone being all happy and excited to be off of school because I’m kind of looking at it as this thing has messed up my entire timeline. I don’t want to sound selfish because I understand that this is a big issue, but the way it will impact my life is one thing and then to see my peers not taking it seriously in some cases is frustrating. It’s hard seeing all this happen when you know it is going to have a direct impact on you on a personal level and then balancing that with the concerns for your family, it’s just difficult to process.”

Spring Break Crowd

When I asked him if it bothered him to see his peers not taking things seriously, he said, “It’s like people don’t care. They don’t understand that this is a lot bigger than them. Some people see it as a joke and what I have told myself is that I don’t want it to get worse and it feels like only if, or when, it does start to get worse, that’s when people are going to start paying attention.”

“Right now with around 170,000 people in the world being affected, it doesn’t seem that bad when you take the world population into consideration, but again, I know how interconnected the world is. I know about traveling, I understand business, and since my mom is in the medical field I understand how simple it is if I have the virus and didn’t even know it and I touch the door then the next person who comes in touches the door and touches their eye or something they have the virus and on and on. When more people are infected with the virus, those are just more people that have the ability to transmit the virus.”

“I understand these things logically and I understand all these precautions that the government and the CDC are telling us to take, but it’s like some of my peers, they’re young and some are immature and they don’t understand that. I tell them all the time it looks like something out of a movie and, if we aren’t careful, that’s exactly what it’s going to turn into. It’s going to turn into a movie.”

Journey interrupted

Tunmise has a great head on his shoulders, a supportive family, and elite talent. Hopefully, for everyone’s sake, he will be able to attend the Opening and those other events. But even if that is not to be, his journey has already been interrupted.

I asked him how he will approach this hiatus in recruiting. He said “I’m going to approach this whole process and life, in general, the same way I have been approaching it the last couple of months, which is to wake up and grind. I’m still going to grind like there’s no tomorrow. I’m still going to work on perfecting my craft. As far as recruiting goes, this hiatus has, and will, hurt my timeline in a sense that I had things figured out. I knew that I was going to take some unofficials which would help me figure out which schools I was going to take officials to, then take those officials and then commit.”

“Now that this is happening, I’m not one hundred percent certain it will push my commitment date back, but it might just based on the simple fact that I’m not sure where I’m going to go. All those flights and trips we had planned, they’re all just gone right now and that makes the process more difficult to navigate.”

“I want to really take my time and make the right decision and this hiatus in recruiting has taken some of that information away which would help me make that decision.”

Something tells me that Tunmise Adeleye will be fine. He will choose a college which is right for him and he will be very successful both on and off the field.

While we all hope and pray that this worldwide crisis ends with as few tragedies as possible… I, for one, am hoping it concludes in time for him to realize his dreams and have the opportunity to experience all the things he has worked for and all the things which his dreams are made of.

2021 WR Dekel Crowdus | The Latest | Official Visit
– Super K

Earlier this week, 2021 4-star WR, Dekel Crowdus (Lexington, KY) released his top 10 which included…

***After his announcement, I spoke with Dekel over the phone to discuss the Sooners and some of this other top schools.

***It’s worth noting that after some discussion, it became pretty clear to me that the list in his mind is much shorter than the ten schools he released.

***If I had to guess I’d say that his short list is Kentucky, Louisville, Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas, Virginia Tech and Baylor.

***If I had to narrow it down even more, I’d say Kentucky, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and Michigan.

***Crowdus is set to announce his decision in May and with the suspension of all on campus recruiting, he says he will take his official visits after his announcement. He’s not pushing his announcement back but I don’t think it’s going to be quite as firm.

***He hasn’t seen a ton of schools yet. Sounds like he’s been to Kentucky and Louisville on multiple occasions but outside that he’s been to Michigan and Ohio State.

***Crowdus is another burner. He doesn’t run track so I don’t have numbers on him but he’s fast.

***Riley was the one who led the push here, “Oklahoma, the head coach shows me lot’s of love. Coach Riley and I FaceTime like every other day”

***Both Dennis Simmons and Riley are recruiting Crowdus and he says he will take an OV to the Sooners in the summer (still a possibility that it could happen in the spring).

***When I asked Dekel about how the Sooners are recruiting him he actually listed coach Riley, coach Simmons and coach Cale Gundy as recruiters but added, “basically the whole staff is recruiting me”.

***I know this because this continues to be the trend with OU. Riley is making recruiting and recruiting hard a priority for his staff and he leads by example. Compare that to say Texas who has one person recruiting Dekel right now and it isn’t even his position coach.

***Simple and plain, the Sooners are doing work and this is what it takes and rest assured it will pay dividends. If not with Dekel, with others.

***Among the schools recruiting him the hardest, Dekel says that OU is one of the three our four that is putting in the most work. He listed Kentucky, Oklahoma, Michigan, Baylor and Virginia Tech as the schools recruiting him the hardest.

***In terms of official visits he said, “I’m for sure taking one to Oklahoma and UK (Kentucky)”. Says he isn’t certain about the others, just yet.

Sooners Looking at OL Transfer
– Super K

I know we’ve talked about a high profile transfer and as I previously noted there was a scholarship issue. I was told that for said high profile player, if he still wants to transfer, it would happen for fall camp.

Now then, I am told that the Sooners do actually have one scholarship but it’s being held for an offensive lineman.

It sounds like OU has already identified the lineman in Chris Murray out of UCLA and I’m told he will have two years of eligibility.

It’s clear from this and from the recent presser with coach Riley that he and Bedenbaugh were not happy with the offensive line performance last year (rich people problems amirite?). So, moves are being made to ensure that the line is back up to Bedenbaugh’s standard.

5-Star RB TreVeyon Henderson | Cancellations may Change Plans
– Super K

As you know 5-star RB, TreVeyon Henderson was set to take an official visit to Oklahoma for the Spring Game. That has not yet been canceled but it’s very possible that it will be.

With that, there has been a lot of speculation that Henderson could shut things down much much earlier than anticipated. And, if he did do so, the likely winner in all this would be Ohio State.

I spoke with a source close to Henderson and was told the following…

***With the commitment of Evan Pryor to Ohio State, Tre does have some concerns about the possibility of the second and final spot at Ohio State being taken.

***I know that may seem strange for the most highly coveted back in the country to be concerned about but after speaking with him at the school a couple weeks ago, I got a very clear sense that he wanted to go through the process quickly and make a decision so that schools did not fill up.

***The interesting part of this is that Tre really hasn’t taken many visits yet. He’s obviously taken none of his official visits. And, what’s even more noteworthy is he has never actually visited Ohio State. In other words, if he committed there, it would be sight unseen.

***Source I spoke to said that the folks around him would really prefer he hold off and be patient so that he can take his visits. I can tell you that the Sooners are very much within striking distance. In other words, while Ohio State may lead, if he does wait and the Sooners get him on campus, they could win it.

***Also worth noting that the Hopewell high school football staff is very close to Lincoln Riley. They used to go down to ECU in the summers to learn from Riley and they tell me that Lincoln was very gracious.

***Bottom line here is that Sooners need the voices around Tre to win out and ensure that he take his visits. However, I will say that even if he made a hasty commitment, one would think he might decide to go ahead and take his official visits, anyway. Sometimes a player overestimates their value in the recruiting world. In this case, I think Henderson is underestimating his value. He’s probably the fastest running back in the country and he has the vision, later quickness and violence to make you feel every bit of that speed.

Update | Keeping Busy | Foster & Allen
– Charlie S

Been checking in with recruits to see how they are doing with all the downtime they have on their hands as a result of their schools being closed and college recruiting at a standstill from the physical aspect.

*** One of the recruits I checked in with was 2021 OL Bryce Foster (Katy. TX).

As many of you know, Foster is not only an elite football recruit, but he is also a monster in track and field in the throwing events. So Bryce is usually a very busy young man and I wanted to see how he is filling his time.

Bryce told me “I’ve been hanging out with my brother and just staying in the house.” He added “I’ve been able to work on my shot a disc throws mainly, but I have been limiting my contact with most people just to be on the safe side”.

What would normally be one of the busiest times of his life, with track events and recruiting visits, has basically come to a complete halt.

But he is handling it as best he can and being thoughtful with his actions.

*** Also had a chance to catch up with elite 2022 DB offer Bryan Allen Jr out of Aledo, TX.

Allen’s recruitment has blown up this spring as he has received a ton of offers which includes offers from both OU and Texas as well as a bunch of national offers.

Bryan had a busy spring full of visits planned, including a trip to LSU and return trips to Norman and Austin as well as a few others.

He is very anxious to get things going and while he is a 2022 kid and will likely be able to take his officials next spring and fall, he is currently stuck in the holding pattern the rest of us are all in.

Allen told me “I have just been working out at home and with my trainer.” He went on to tell me that his online classes have yet to begin and he is hoping they start soon because he is “incredibly bored”.

Bryan said, “For the most part, I’ve just been relaxing and hanging with my family, but I’m definitely looking forward to things getting back to normal.” He added, “We are just doing our part and taking this all very seriously.”

It’s nice to see that these guys, and many others, take the issues we have been confronted with seriously and in stride as best they can. Most of these recruits are used to being on the go ’24-7′ and this interruption has to very disruptive for them.

Quick Hitter | Sooners Getting a Visit From Recent Offer Tommi Hill
– Charlie S

*** Yesterday the Sooners offered 2021 Athlete Tommi Hill (6’2″ 185) out of Edgewater High School in Orlando Florida.

*** I was able to get in touch with Hill and he let me know that he is being recruited by Oklahoma as a defensive back (safety).

*** Hill told me that his communication with Grinch and OU began in earnest about three weeks ago and that led to the offer.

*** He mentioned that he is looking to take a visit to Norman (once he is able to)

*** When I asked him if he had any connection to the Sooners (friends, family, coaches etc..) he said his current connection to OU is “friends who are thinking about OU”

*** So naturally, I pressed there a bit and asked if those ‘friends thinking about OU’ included 2021 WR Mario Williams out of Plant City. He confirmed that Williams is one of the guys he was talking about and also mentioned 2021 WR Christian Leary who just happens to be his teammate at Edgewater.

You have to like hearing that.

Watch out for the Caleb Williams Effect
– Super K

So I was recently speaking with a recruit who is tied in with a number of other recruits. He’s a higher profile guy and is well-liked in the recruiting world.

He was telling me how a big part of recruiting is where the best players end up.

“Guys can have a 5-star rank and all but we know who’s really a dog. We see it. We talk about it. And the best players want to play with the best players”.

So, I changed the subject to Caleb Williams. He’s a five star but I asked said recruit if Caleb Williams is respected as a baller amongst the players.

He looked at me like the question was crazy, “Of course. That man’s a dog”.

We talked about the possibility of Caleb ending up at OU (he basically looked at me like, dude you know he’s going to OU). He added…

“If Caleb Williams commits to OU, just watch”.

What, I asked?

“Just watch”, he said grinning.

Bottom line is, if the Sooners do land Caleb Williams, expect them to get some serious help on the recruiting trail for this 2021 class.

And if you want to know the difference the athlete upgrade is going to make at OU, as school that’s already knocking on the door of a championship, well…

More on that in a later post.

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