Busy weekend this weekend for the Oklahoma coaches as they are in the midst of spring practices, first day in full pads will be Saturday, and they will also be hosting three recruits this weekend. Among the three will be the top rated quarterback thus far in the 2013 class, Max Browne. However in addition to the talented signal caller, the Sooners will also be hosting two in-state prospects in linebackers Devin Rolan and T.J. Ponds.
Obviously Browne is the headliner and he is someone we've talked about here at CCM a couple times.
Browne was scheduled to arrive in Norman Thursday night, allowing the he and his family to spend the entire day both Friday and Saturday touring both the city and campus. With the Sooners in the middle of spring practices, it will also allow Browne to see both the team and coaches in action to give him an better feel for whether or not he and Oklahoma would be a good fit. With Browne looking to make a decision later this spring/summer, this is very likely to be the Sooners lone chance to make a positive impression on him while he is on campus.
As you'd expect, being the top quarterback in the class Browne has offers from virtually everyone. Among others, he currently boasts Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Clemson, USC, Washington, and Wisconsin. Alabama, USC, and Oklahoma are believed to be the top contenders at the moment.
While the other two prospects expected to be in town may not hold the same cache as the nation's top quarterback, given the position they play it's unlikely they receive much less attention this weekend. After not taking a true linebacker in their 2012 class, the position was unquestionably going to be a primary position of focus in 2013. This fact only gained further importance with the news this week of Kellen Jones' decision to transfer. Which leaves the Sooners with little experience behind their starters this coming season and even worse off considering they have two seniors who they'll have to replace as well.
T.J. Ponds (VIDEO) will be pretty familiar with Norman and the campus considering he was just there last weekend for Oklahoma's second Junior Day. It's a little curious that he would make another visit so soon, but it's a relatively short drive from Wagoner, OK and Ponds has made no secret about his feelings for OU. Now he didn't pick up an offer from the Sooners last weekend, so how likely is it that changes this weekend? He's a little bit of an undersized guy, more in the traditional mold of a guy Brent Venables might have recruited, compared to some of the bigger linebackers that have received offers from OU thus far. That said, he's a kid on film that just makes plays. As we're all aware, sometimes there is more to the evaluation process than simply measurables.
Somewhat in the same mold, Devin Rolan out of McAlester, OK is another 'tweener' guy at 6'1" 230. The thing that stands out to me on Rolan's film though is the physicality with which he plays the game. The guy is an absolute missile when attacking the football and while he can play undisciplined at times that is something that can pretty easily be adjusted with quality coaching. What Oklahoma fans will love about Rolan is that even without an offer from Oklahoma in hand at this point, he's easily been one of the most vocal recruits in professing his affinity for all things OU. If he were to receive an offer this weekend, which might be a big if (I'll explain in a minute), I have little doubt he would commit on the spot. He's spoken that highly of Oklahoma in the past and seems like one of those kids I genuinely feel Oklahoma should take more of (the kids that grow up dreaming to play for OU).
The 'big if' explanation. For whatever reason, the OU coaches seem to annually slow play local kids like Rolan and Ponds when it comes to their recruitment. You almost get the sense that they view them as kids that will still be there if/when the coaches come back around to potentially offering them. Honestly, I really hate this approach. It's burned OU in the past and I just think it plays really poorly in the state. If you think the kid is good enough, take him. Don't make them wait around until you think you've missed on other opportunities. Ok, mini rant over.
Clearly we're all hoping for some good news this weekend, but it's important to keep things in perspective at the same time. Browne already holds an offer, so this is really about he and his family getting the full OU experience. A commitment is not impossible, but pretty unlikely as chances are he will prefer to discuss things with his family following the visit. Maybe things just click for him and the OU coaches, but if you're expecting some kind of definitive news this weekend I think you're setting yourself up for some disappointment. Now Rolan and Ponds on the other hand, I think if either get an offer this weekend then you'll be here on CCM reading about the second member of Oklahoma's 2013 class. But as this point, I think an optimistic prediction of a 50/50 chance either receive one might be as high as one could go right now.