In the span of a couple hours, Oklahoma picked up their second 2014 commitment of the weekend and the 17th in this 2014 class.
Junior college tight end (yes, a tight end) Isaac Ijalana (VIDEO) announced via his Twitter account that he had committed after taking an official visit to Norman this weekend.
With an older brother (Ben) in the NFL playing for the New York Jets, the younger Ijalana obviously has football in his family's bloodlines.
Ijalana is a guy that has been asked to block quite a bit in the system he's been playing in, so that was certainly something that helped to draw the interest of Oklahoma. Considering all tight ends currently on campus not named Brannon Green have failed to see the field presumably because of their blocking.
But don't take that to mean Ijalana is a one-dimensional player. In interviews he has compared his game to that of Vernon Davis and while that might be a bit of a stretch, at 6'5" 235 pounds he does have the speed and athleticism to make plays in space and over the middle of the field. Two things this Oklahoma offense has been incredibly desperate for ever since Jermaine Gresham left for the NFL (or since James Hanna was on campus, was rarely if ever used, but has managed to find a home on an NFL roster).
Surely the OU coaches sold him on their need for a guy that could come in and contribute immediately, assuming they don't believe they already have that guy on campus. Which, based on how little they've used the tight ends they do currently have, seems like a safe assumption.
Ijalana is still somewhat raw are a route runner, so if he can manage to qualify academically and enroll this spring that extra time to work with the OU coaches during spring practices would be crucial to his development. He's probably more athlete -- with good hands and excellent leaping ability -- than polished tight end at the moment is essentially what we're trying to get at.
But he fits in the mold of what the Oklahoma coaches appear to be looking for when recruiting kids in this 2014 class, a quality athlete they can mold into the player they envision them to be.
Fans have been concerned with the overall talent level in Norman, well this is how that problem gets fixed. You're going to have to take some chances on kids that other schools might not offer or that recruiting services don't have ranked very highly. But the goal is to get top quality athletes on campus, after that it's the job of the coaches to develop them into football players.