I know it feels like OU isn’t seeing the kind of bump you’d expect a team headed to the playoff to see. Here’s an idea why.
– OU landed a lot of kids earlier than usual. The Sooners have 20 commits. Teams can only sign 25. Now, it might be wise not to count Jordon Austin in that number (we shall see) but it might also be wise to count Bookie in that number (again, we shall see). Sometimes scrambling at the end feels exciting but OU had so many early commits that they haven’t had to do that quite as much as some years past.
– Gap between Bob Stoops deciding to leave and Lincoln Riley taking over was an extra dead period. This is a period where OU gave up ground to Texas A&M. Though Texas A&M lost their head coach, the Texas A&M class began to come together behind the scenes during this period where certain kids and their families began recruiting other kids and their families in a way similar to Sooner Squad 17.
– Class was missing a major player recruiter. Ronnie Perkins turned on the juice late and almost helped OU land Ayodele but there wasn’t that big time player or a group of players throughout the cycle who could do that for OU. Texas A&M for example had Leon and Max Wright and other guys who are vocal leaders that command a lot of respect from other players.
– Offensively OU has been pretty much full for a while. OU tends to recruit better on that side of the ball so without those offensive bumps coming late it probably felt like they didn’t have the momentum one would expect.
– Defensively OU has some guys that can recruit but given the change from coach Stoops to coach Riley, it feels like there probably isn’t a clear recruiting leader on that side of the ball. You’ve almost got three DCs in Cooks, Stoops and Ruffin. Bob Stoops was the leader on that side of the ball in the past. I think you’ll see this issue become more clearly defined in the 2019 class which should help.
– Sooners also had a unique situation with a guy like Josh Proctor. Normally he ends up at OU. For a long time it felt like he eventually would. But every so often you get a situation like this. Funny little rumor, I heard Georgia may have even be running second behind Ohio State (Proctor’s family on his father’s side is originally from that part of he country). A Proctor commitment would’ve put OU at 21.
– DaShaun White’s recruitment is another idiosyncratic situation. White wants to be at OU but he has family members wanting him to wait. If he has his way, I believe he’ll end up a Sooner but I think in a normal situation it would’ve happened earlier giving OU a little end-of-the-cycle momentum. That would’ve made it 22.
– Taking Jordon Austin early. He may still end up this class but it doesn’t sound like he’s developed in the way the staff might have expected. But that’s 23 right there.
– Then they were hoping to grab 24 from either Bonitto, McClain or Parsons. I don’t like where things stand with Bonitto and USC has come on strong with McClain so we’ll see. They were in late on McClain. They were also a little hesitant on Bonitto and I think they were fine not pushing for him to get on campus for a game. And Parsons’ family is a Penn State family who they also really didn’t get in on until earlier this fall. But again, one of those guys would’ve given OU 24.
– 25 was a spot they probably would’ve held for after the first signing period anyway in order to see if a late name came up (maybe a guy like Courtre Alexander or Mario Goodrich) or save the spot for a guy like Bobby Tre Brown.