2015 Defensive Line Recruiting Breakdown | Part One

We all know that football is won and lost in the trenches. A little over year ago, Oklahoma brought in two excellent line coaches. On the defensive line, it was the young and charismatic assistant coach from Michigan, Jerry Montgomery. I’ve written about Coach Montgomery before (here), and we’ve already seen just how good he is as a teacher. But now we are also starting to feel the effect of his ability as a recruiter.

Right now Oklahoma is building a front that is versatile, which means they are looking for the right combination of players with the right combination of strengths. And they are willing moving guys around, depending on the down and distance. For example, your first down personnel MIGHT (it’s spring, so nothing is set in stone yet) be something like Geneo Grissom as your Jack LB, Charles Walker, Matt Dimon, Chuka Ndulue or Charles Tapper as a DE, Jordan Phillips as your nose guard, and then Eric Striker as your OLB (basically, this would look like a 50 front). That’s a lot more size and potential physicality than we saw last year. But then you can imagine speed they would be able to put on the field — on obvious passing downs — when you move guys like Striker to the Jack and move Geneo back to DE.

I’d love to see Grissom, Tapper, Striker, Walker, and Devante Bond on the field at the same time. That would be a pass rushing nightmare for opposing offenses to try and stop.

As they move forward with recruiting, they want to find the right combination of players to continue that same kind of development. Obviously what you look for is someone who can do it all, but that’s often difficult to find in one guy. So, instead, you look for the right combination of players.

Du’Vonta Lampkin

One of the first things that stands out to me is that Lampkin has a great frame. He doesn’t have the most explosive first step, but he’s really more of your archetypal 4-tech that you’d see play DE at Alabama. Big frame that can grow into a player that’s just really hard to move off the ball. But even Alabama has come to realize they have to find a way to get more pass rushers on the field. In fact, Coach Saban specifically told a recruit — that I know — they’re looking to get a little quicker and more explosive at DE for that very purpose.

However, you also need to have guys like Lampkin that have the potential to grow into a true run stuffer. Like any fan, I love a dynamic pass rusher. But like any Okie, it’s painful watching teams running over our defense. You don’t run the rock down our throat! Lampkin measured in at the recent Rivals camp at 6’4″ 306 lbs. That’s huge! He currently weighs more than what Jordan Wade played at last year as a nose guard!

Lampkin has picked up a few nice offers, including one from LSU, but he told me he doesn’t have any plans on visiting Baton Rouge. He essentially said that the only thing that could cause him to open his recruitment would be a coaching change (at Oklahoma). So in terms of recruiting, we continue to hold strong with Houston big man.

Marquise Overton

Overton is another DLineman that is committed to Oklahoma, but he is more of a pure nose guard. We’ve written about him extensively in the past (here, here, and here). In fact, we were clamoring for him to get an offer before OU even extended one. If you haven’t seen it, this is a piece JY wrote on Overton about a week or so before his offer (here). Ever since Overton comitted, no one has really talked about him much but he is going to make people remember him as soon as he gets some time on the field at OU.

Nothing much to report in terms of his recruiting. His mother actually sent us a message the other day about how excited she is for him to play at OU. And she also sent us this picture of two future Sooners (Overton and Steven Parker) and said “Next championship together will be at OU!!!”

Parker and Overton

In the next defensive line post I’ll be looking at some of the uncommitted OU defensive line targets and where we stand with them. I’ll also talk about a few defensive linemen that I believe we should offer.

NOTE: Hope y’all like the title image which is another drawing our artist rendered for us. Yost owns a screen-printing company so, as I mentioned before, we’re hoping to print these images on t-shirts. It’s just a busy time in our professional lives for all of us at the moment, which is the only reason for any delay in doing so.

  • Zack

    Great stuff as always. These 2 are a great start for the d line. Looking forward to see what part 2 says about the other targets. Do you guys like the move to a 3 man front or do you think a 4 man front is ideal?

    • Jordan Esco

      They seem to have so much depth at the moment I think the temptation is there to go back to a four man front, but I really like the versatility the 3-4 offers them in terms of who/where they can bring guys on the blitz.

      I expect you’ll see them play primarily 3-4 this year, but work on some four man fronts quite a bit as well.

      • Zack

        I agree. Especially if Grissom and striker can excel at being hybrid players. And I wonder if the 4 man front is becoming less and less effective as more teams are moving to a quick passing game.

        • Super K

          Agree Zack…30 front give us more versatility against the spread but can also be effective against the run with the right personnel.

          • Zack

            I’m not really much of a defensive mind. But I can only imagine how much fun mike is having trying to find a way to get Grissom, bond, Striker and Byrd or Thomas on the field at the same time. And to me it doesn’t matter who the down linemen are I think any combination on an obvious passing down is good enough.
            To me a cool formation would be to have one single high safety, Hayes most likely, with Byrd and striker on opposite sides in a blitzing position like as a nickel while having bond and Grissom also in position to blitz.

  • soonerbred4ever

    You can’t beat a good cup of coffee and TFB to start the day. Thanks Super K for all your efforts. Great insights into recruiting and Sooner football.

  • Doobie74OU

    First of all Super K went all Lawyer on us this morning and dropped “archetypal! ” Some of us Okies will have to look that one up. LOL! (if it helps anyone it is original model or prototype) Great write up on the 2 DL we already got locked up at this point. These guys should be able to clog up the middle for OU in the years to come. CAN”T WAIT TO READ ABOUT OUR CURRENT AND FUTURE TARGETS!

    • Super K

      haha I just throw words out there and hope they’re in the right place 🙂

  • Sooner Ray

    Really like the future for Lampkin and Overton, both nice looking recruits. There are going to be endless options for this defense over the next few years. If Mike can figure a way to stuff the run and keep the pass rush we have we will no doubt have one of the top D’s in the country. Where’s JY been hiding? need to have Jordan search the KC area!

  • EasTex

    Really like the two D linemen in this post. Talented and want to be Sooners with out any reservations.
    My compliments to your artist. A very skillful rendering of one of the all-time great Sooner plays.

  • Kevin Fielder

    You guys continue to pump out great work…thank you! Great to read information that we know is from experience and passion. Thanks again!

  • Kevin Fielder

    Any concrete news on Jordan Phillips progression? Almost everything written is caveated with “pending Jordan Phillips return”. A little nervous, but optimistic.

    • Jordan Esco

      Still not back at practice yet, but that was expected. From everything I’ve heard, his recovery is going as well as they could have hoped. Still expect him back this summer I believe.

      • Kevin Fielder

        Thanks. One benefit (not that an injury is a positive for anyone) is that when he went out, it gave us an opportunity to develop depth and experience. When he was in there, it really took some of the heat off the MLB spot. When you can draw double teams, match-ups are critical and it allows us to create blitz gaps inside. When the pressure is created that we were able to bring on the edge, it helped our young LB’s and gave Mike Stoops some inside blitz options. Looking forward to seeing that again this year.

  • Malicong

    Great to see two solid DL guys commit early. Since switching to the 3-4 as a base defense the number of 300 lb DT’s would seem to be not as great but we seem to still bring a lot of them in. With both of these young men committed and Fehoko and McKenzie still strong possibilities, that is four big guys for essentially 1 primary position. OU is not exactly senior laden at that position already with Walker, Wade, and Garnett in the fold for at least a couple more years. Do any of these guys show enough versitility play both DT and DE or will some of them be switching to DE full-time? With that much beef on the interior and at the DE, it would seem the speed aspect would diminish versus having guys like Grissom and Tapper at 250-275.
    The title image is awesome, BTW. When you do start selling t-shirts, could you please make them in a tall size? I am a tall guy and have a hard time finding OU swag that fits (and surprisingly have a hard time finding Thunder gear as well).

    • Zack

      I had the same question the other day. I think it was super k, said lampkin and fehoko are being recruited by ou as DE. And Overton a nose guard. And Mckenzie they will let him decide what he likes to me they just really want to get him on the field.
      What I like already is it looks like this class may have more than just one 5* guy. Barnett already has 5 stars on at least one site but word is wariboko may be the best guard in the nation so I think he may get his 5th sometime before NSD and Mckenzie is right there as well.

  • rphdenton

    ….when is the next practice report……thxs

    • Jordan Esco

      That’s a bit of a touchy subject at the moment. Unfortunately, it may be a while.

      • rphdenton

        ……sounds mysterious………thxs for responding

        • Jordan Esco

          Yeah, sorry. I didn’t want to just ignore your question and leave it sitting out there w/o an answer. Wish I could say more, but I don’t want to divulge any details K doesn’t want out there.

          Trust me tho, I’m just as disappointed as you are.

          • Gary Robbins

            That sucks. Your old buddy Z. G. has some excellent practice articles on another free site. Coach M. Stoops was talking about Frank Shannon.

          • cpearc00

            May I ask which one?

          • Jordan Esco


          • Sooner Ray

            Which site Gary? I would like to see what he said about Shannon.

          • Gary Robbins

            Not going to say the site, but the poster is Zach Givens who always posts excellent info. You know it’s probably best to not even post just read . I usually visit 8-10 sites every day.

          • Sooner Ray

            That’s cool, I know you and Baker have a lot of time on your hands! HAHA.

          • Gary Robbins

            Amen, that’s right. Trying to keep up with my basketball brackets now and picking horses for the Kentucky Derby. On Kentucky Derby Day about 15-20 of us go to Will Rogers Downs Racetrack and Casino in Claremore. Most of the wives are on the slot machines while the men try to figure out what a horse will do!!! oh, yeah Bobby and Kathy Baker will be there.

          • Sooner Ray

            I may have to try that trip. I may need to meet you all on the hill some afternoon for a drink, If I can’t crash at Bobby’s house, I’ve got a sister who lives across the highway by Beverly Hills Estates. Claremore sounds like a good time.

          • Gary Robbins

            Every Wednesday is a must for most of us because we turn in our money for our weekly Powerball lottery pot. Last year a good friend of ours won a $1.oo Super trifecta on Ken. Derby day. It was around $28,000.00, his check after taxes was $19,000.00 plus. Yes he bought drinks the rest of the evening. My truck was too drunk to drive home , thankfully the wife was with me.

          • Sooner Ray

            LOL, gotta love our driving wives!. Bobby told me about crashing his vehicle one evening and he lives one block from the joint!

          • Perry Dickey

            Which site?

          • Steve Cooke

            He might be talking about the free scout board.

          • Super K

            Not sure who Z.G. is bud. Our guy doesn’t put practice reports on any site.

          • Gary Robbins

            oh no not Jordan. I was referring to Zach Givens who gets a lot of his info from the OU official sooner site, I think. Sorry about the confusion and still wish you could continue to share your info, but we understand.

          • hOUligan

            That sounds even more mysterious and somewhat foreboding. Hate the thought of not having TFB as you guys, w/o question, put out the best info from football minds, not just journalistic fluff pieces I am accustomed to seeing on other sites. Will hope all is well with you guys personally and professionally and you keep the good stuff coming. If it’s money, will buy one of the TFB T-shirts if Yost gets one together. LoL To the story, love having Lampkin and Big O in the fold and firmly committed.

          • Jordan Esco

            Yeah, it’s nothing that ominous. TFB isn’t going anywhere.

  • Big Higg

    Love the artwork – I still enjoy watching that play lol

  • Eddie and Amber

    Big ups to the artist. Drawings/paintings would look good in the office. I love the recruits we have on board now with the DL. Just really started enjoying to fun of recruiting in the last few years. Question: Are we giving out offers earlier now due to the mess with J Manning’s brother or is that the evolution of where recruiting is going with the early offers?

    Either way I feel sorry for coaches having to evaluate and offer so early.

    • Zack

      The Maryland coach is trying to get some changes to where you can’t offer before a guy is a senior. I would guess it probably has to do with smaller programs not having the money to keep up with the big programs sending out scouts and asst coaches to watch guys and make offers. It may not be a bad idea. But on the other side if there’s enough small schools admitting they can’t keep up with the big programs maybe that will give way to break up the NCAA and they could have that super conference of 32 or 64 teams

  • Kanfdog

    Thanks for the update! The only thing that gets me more juiced than TFB updates is thinking about how nasty the OU defense will be next year. If our secondary can come together next year is going to be so much fun to watch!

    Do you guys see Bond as just a third down pass rusher next year or do you think he will force his way on the field in other settings? All the updates have been about how he is a freak pass rusher but is he making progress against the run at all?