When Oklahoma initially set out to fill their 2012 class it was believed there would be a pretty limited amount of spots and would likely be one of the smallest classes to ever come in during the Bob Stoops era. However things have changed quite considerably, so much so that it's now the Sooners could be looking at possibly taking a full 25 member class after early speculation of a class as small as 12 or 13.
The Sooners will be hosting multiple five star targets this coming weekend (Dec. 16th), including two of the country's highest rated players, so the list of 2012 commits could be changing quite significantly in the near future. However, as it stands now the Sooners have 16 verbal commitments spanning all the way from Florida to California. In years past, OU has very heavily recruited the state of Texas but this current 2012 class is much more balanced from a geographic standpoint with just five of the 16 verbals residing in the Lone Star State.
Currently the top rated verbal commitment for the Sooners is five star WR Trey Metoyer. Metoyer was originally a member of the 2011 class, but failed to qualify academically after some confusion surrounding some high school classes. He was forced to attend a prep school, but is on target to arrive in Norman this January with hopes of participating in spring football.
In addition to the five star Metoyer, the OU coaches are putting together one heck of a wide receiver class. Metoyer is joined by four star recruits Durron Neal and Sterling Shepard. Neal had a phenomenal senior season and would be the #1 rated prospect from the state of Missouri were it not for a man-child and #1 overall recruit (per Rivals) named Dorial Green-Beckham. Neal is a star waiting to happen at the D-I level and could make an immediate impact both at wide receiver as well as in a return game where the Sooners have been lacking a play maker of Neal's caliber for several years. Shepard was at times overshadowed by his son of a Hall of Famer teammate, Barry Sanders Jr., but not because of a lack of talent. Shepard was a star for his OK h.s. team, spending time at WR, RB, QB, as well as being a starter at CB. The Sooners love him at WR and with his run after catch skills, he's is a perfect fit in the slot that will be vacated by the graduation of All-American Ryan Broyles. And all of that is without even mentioning one of OU's most recent verbals in four star Derrick Woods. Landing the Inglewood CA product was a big win for the Sooners, stealing a talent like that from USC's back yard. It also maintains the CA recruiting pipeline OU established back in 2010 scoring starters in Brennan Clay, Kenny Stills, and Tony Jefferson.
With two seniors departing, tight end was always going to be a focal point for the Sooners in the 2012 class. TE coach Bruce Kittle dipped into the football rich state of Florida to grab three star Laith Harlow. Harlow dealt with some injury issues during his senior season, but had surgery to correct the problems and is reported to be in good health. Hoping for more of an immediate impact type of player, the Sooners went the JUCO route for their second TE commit in Brannon Green. Green is in the mold of former Sooner and current Indianapolis Colt Brody Eldridge.
In the backfield, the Sooners current boast their state's #1 overall player in RB Alex Ross and one of the state of Texas' top QBs in Trevor Knight. Ross has a rare combination of size and speed that is rarely found in kids at that age and with all the issues Oklahoma has at RB right now could be a possible candidate for early playing time. Ross did deal with his own injury issues for most of his senior season and there have been persistent rumors he might be a grade risk, but if he make it in he'll be hard to keep off the field. Trevor Knight's chances of playing next year are not nearly as great as Ross, but he is the kind of run/pass threat the OU coaches have seemed to favor in recent years. Blake Bell two years ago and Kendal Thompson last year, Knight is right in line (in terms of athleticism) with both those guys. He's a little raw as a passer, but the Sooners have unquestionably the best QB coach in the game so his development as a passer will be just a matter of time.
Up front, Oklahoma has the #1 ranked center in Ty Darlington our of Florida, a four star OG in John Michael McGee, and a solid right tackle prospect in Kyle Marrs. The Sooners would like to grab a tackle or two, preferably a top left tackle prospect, before closing out this 2012 class.
In what you can obviously tell by now is an offense heavy class, Oklahoma only have five current commits on the defensive side of the ball. And that's only if you count three star Daniel Brooks who the coaches would like to see at corner back, but Brooks has been pretty open about wanting a shot at RB. While they can only claim one other defensive back commit as it stands today, the one they have in DeVante Harris is a potentially elite one. He will benefit significantly from a D-I strength and conditioning program, but has the look of a pure shutdown corner.
At linebacker, the Sooners have found another 'tweener' type athlete in Eric Striker that could play both linebacker and safety. It's the kind of player this staff loves to recruit and if nothing else he's got one heck of a name for a football player.
On the d-line, Oklahoma can claim two defensive ends who can get after the QB. Three star Charles Tapper is a super raw prospect, but has the kind of athleticism you just don't find all that often. If might take a year or two of seasoning, but if the OU coaches can harness his raw talent he could be a special rush end. Going back to the JUCO route, the Sooners recently secured the commitment of Chaz Nelson who was his conference's defensive player of the year in one of the best conferences at the JUCO level.
It's a Top 15 class with the commits they have currently, but if the Sooners are able to secure a commitment from some of the targets still on their board it could legitimately turn into a top three class. The one thing about Stoops' classes are if you come in and put in the work he's not afraid to get them on the field early. So while it's difficult to say now who may or may not have an immediate impact, the possibility is there for any of these guys to come in and get early playing time if they earn it.