Sooners verbal commit, 2013 RB Keith Ford - SoonerScoop.com
Taking stock of where Oklahoma's 2013 recruiting class stands a little over two weeks away from National Signing Day.
With a little more than two weeks to go until National Signing Day, on February 6th, now would be as good a time as any to take stock as to where Oklahoma stands in this 2013 class.
As it stands today, the Sooners have 20 verbal commitments and are the No. 16 team according to the Rivals team rankings. Looking at the current numbers, if you assume everyone committed makes it to campus and accounting for the players already enrolled Oklahoma would have room for four more players in this class. Now that of course presumes that there are no more departures from the current roster (i.e. possible transfers, attrition, etc.) that we do not know about, so that number could certainly go up between now and signing day.
We'll take things position-by-position here in a minute, but the obvious remaining needs in this class are pretty well known: linebacker, defensive back, tight end, and offensive tackle. As you'll see, there are a lot more questions as opposed to answers when it comes to how the Sooners will close out this 2013 class.
Quarterback - Commits (1), Projected (1)
Oklahoma is solid here with Colleyville (TX) product Cody Thomas who is coming off a monster senior season and arguably the top quarterback in the state of Texas.
Running Back - Commits (1), Projected (1)
Similar to quarterback, Oklahoma is in great shape here with Keith Ford. Ford is one of the top running backs in the country and a guy who is physically ready to play from the day he sets foot on campus (though he'll likely redshirt).
Wide Receiver - Commits (4), Projected (3)
While lacking in "five-star talent" this receiver class is one Oklahoma fans should be excited about. It's a solid group and one that should develop nicely throughout their careers in Norman.
Tight End - Commits (0), Projected (1)
Okay, here is where things start to get, um, interesting. Oklahoma essentially put all of their eggs in the Beau Sandland basket and then missed badly when he didn't even include the Sooners in his final three. The coaches have made a couple other offers and put out some feelers, but at this point you're looking at the very real possibility of not even taking a tight end in this class.
Offensive Line (Interior) - Commits (0), Projected (1)
Despite suffering a number of injuries at the guard/center positions and batting depth issues this past season, Oklahoma seems determined in their refusal to take an interior lineman in this class.
Offensive Tackle - Commits (2), Projected (3-4)
The number of players Oklahoma have offered and missed on at tackle is, well frankly it's embarrassing for a program of this caliber. It cannot be taken for granted that they are returning two starters and recruits are certainly smart enough to realize that. However, anyone who has watched this team in recent years is well aware the OU coaches are constantly rotating offensive linemen in and out of the game. So playing time, even with two starters returning, is always going to be available.
Landing JUCO tackle Josiah St. John was huge, both literally and figuratively, but it also hurt Oklahoma's chances with other JUCO targets like Matt Finnin (Nebraska) and Desmond Harrison (Texas) who both committed elsewhere very recently.
Ideally, Oklahoma would add at least one more high school offensive tackle in this class, though two would be even better. The problem with that scenario being how little time they have remaining to do so and how little interest they seem to be drumming up from those recruits still looking. Oklahoma offered two high school prospects in the last week, Rami Hammad and Dwayne Johnson (no, not that Dwayne Johnson), but appear to have done so too late in the process.
Hammad had an official visit to Norman planned for this past weekend, but cancelled once a trip to rival Texas became available. Shortly thereafter he announced plans to reveal his college decision this Wednesday, which should tell you pretty much all you need to know as to his future choice.
Johnson just took a trip to Nebraska and couldn't have enjoyed it any more given some of his quotes to the recruiting services following the visit. In fact, it was apparently so good that he's even discussed canceling a planned trip to Norman.
Aaron Cochran, a 6'6" 320 pound tackle out of California, is easily Oklahoma's top remaining target on the board. He has a brother at Cal, which is believed to be OU's primary competitor for his services. (As I was typing this, Cochran committed to Cal.)
Other possible names out there: Christian Morris - UCLA commit who Oklahoma has been working on for quite a while. Maurice Porter - Texas Tech commit whose name recently popped back up on OU's radar. Josh Outlaw - A former Florida commit who could be making a trip to Norman this weekend.
Defensive End - Commits (3), Projected (2-3)
One of the few defensive positions in this class where Oklahoma looks to be in good shape. D.J. Ward is enrolling early after having to unexpectedly sit out his senior season. Matt Dimon had a monster year and could be a guy who pushes for playing time as a true freshman. And Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is an athletic, high motor guy with a nice upside.
Defensive Tackle - Commits (3), Projected (2-3)
At one point this position, much like offensive tackle and linebacker, seemed like a lost cause. Oklahoma has rebounded nicely in picking up three commitments, however they are still actively seeking a fourth. While that isn't alarming on its surface, it does lend credence to the somewhat considerable talk that Kerrick Huggins is likely to be a grade causality.
Add that to the fact one time projected early enrollee Quincy Russell's arrival has been delayed due to academic reasons and Oklahoma could struggle just to fill the position this spring for practices.
Linebacker - Commits (2, kind of), Projected (3)
Your guess is as good as mine here. Everyone wants some answers and right now there simply aren't any. In fact, every indication at the moment is that Oklahoma may have settled on their fate and shifted their focus on the position to the 2014 class.
The 'kind of' above is due to the fact that both of their commitments, Jordan Evans and Dominique Alexander, could likely wind up playing somewhere other than linebacker once they get on campus. Which only further emphasized how significant the loss of Jordan Mastrogiovanni earlier this month was for the Sooners. The now Texas A&M commit was Oklahoma's only true linebacker in this class and chose to be the Aggies sixth linebacker commit over likely playing time as a true freshman for Oklahoma.
Cornerback - Commits (1), Projected (2-3)
Another position on this side of the ball in which Oklahoma has work to do before signing day. Their lone commitment, Stanvon Taylor, is a guy who may not even wind up on defense after a big senior year playing primarily wide receiver.
Oklahoma appeared to be in good standing with Lamar Robbins, a talented corner out of Florida, but for some inexplicable reason cut-off contact following what was believed to be a successful trip to Norman several weeks ago. The only other known remaining targets are Adrian Baker and L.J. Moore. Baker was committed to Florida State, but is now believed to be deciding between OU and Clemson. Moore was in Norman this past weekend and by all accounts enjoyed his time, but many believe he will not leave the west coast.
Safety - Commits (2), Projected (2-3)
The Sooners are in good shape here with early enrollee Ahmad Thomas and California product Hatari Byrd, but Mike Stoops would definitely take another if he can find one before February 6th. Not really sure who that would be at the moment however.
Still quite a bit of work to do and very little time with which to do it. These next two weeks could be very interesting with Oklahoma chasing hard after a number of players who are committed elsewhere. If there track record in recent years is any indication, a signing day steal or two could certainly be in their future.
As always, you can utilize our 2013 recruiting story stream for Oklahoma's commitment list and all of our 2013 recruiting related stories.