As first reported by Josh McCuistion of SoonerScoop.com, the Oklahoma has cancelled their first planned Junior Day that was set to take place this weekend. Many of the state's top prospects were expected to attend as well as a number of OU's top 2014 targets from the state of Texas.
For those unaware, Junior Days are very similar to a football camp where players and coaches alike have an opportunity to get to know one another and gives Oklahoma a chance to feature their campus and football facilities. It is also a setting in which a number of early scholarship offers can be handed out as the coaches get a chance to see these players in person.
This would have been the earliest Oklahoma had ever held a Junior Day, which several have speculated could be in response to what transpired between the OU legacy, 2013 defensive tackle Justin Manning, and the Sooners. Fair or not, Manning believed that Oklahoma waited too long to offer him and it was perceived to play a role in his eventual decision to commit to Texas A&M.
Whatever the reasons for Oklahoma moving their first Junior Day up, now it's not happening. The primary reason being the weekend of January 11th was long known to be an 'official visitors' weekend in which the Sooners will be hosting a number of 2013 recruits.
Now you may be asking yourself "Why would the OU coaches schedule a Junior Day on the same weekend they'd be hosting a number of official visitors?" This is a fantastic question on your part and one very few have an answer to. The natural assumption being the latter (hosting 2013 official visitors) led to the cancellation of the former (hosting their first Junior Day).
In my opinion, you can take this one of two ways. (1) The coaches realized they need to focus on closing strong in a 2013 class that hasn't necessarily gone their way and has seen them miss on an alarming number of their top targets. (2) It's yet another sign of the disorganization those of us who follow recruiting continue to hear stories of when it comes to this current Oklahoma coaching staff.
There is an argument to be made for both and as in most cases, the truth likely lies somewhere in between.
On the positive side of things, the coaches have seemingly placed a renewed emphasis on 2013 recruiting and Oklahoma will be hosting a number of 2013 prospects, more than one of whom could commit this weekend (look for a write-up on this Friday). On the negative side of things, you had a number of 2014 recruits make arrangements to be in Norman this weekend only to cancel the very week of the event.
At the end of the day, it may prove not to be that big of a deal. It's obviously very early in the 2014 recruiting process and these kind of things can be smoothed over. But it does, at least to some degree, give off a little bit of a bad perception and in the fickle world of recruiting sometimes that's all it takes to influence a recruit's decision.