There was some good news this weekend in the world of Oklahoma football recruiting, but there was also a healthy dose of bad news as well.
Let's start with the good.
And that would be the surprising commitment the Sooners received from Desert Mountain (Scottsdale, AZ) 2014 wide receiver Mark Andrews. No one, outside of himself and his immediate family, even knew he was planning to be in Norman over the weekend, let alone making the trip with the likely intention of committing on the spot.
When you consider the reality of his situation -- lifelong OU fan, from a family of OU fans, his dog is named 'Boomer' -- the commitment shouldn't necessarily come as much of a surprise. However, there had been very little talk as of late regarding Andrews and Oklahoma. Add to the already mentioned fact that very few people knew he had a trip to Norman planned and it was a little hazy to just where the Sooners stood with the talented Arizona prospect.
After all Andrews has no shortage of suitors when it comes to his impressive offer list. Whether it is Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas A&M, and USC you know a recruit is in high demand.
However, a number of schools have been looking at the 6'6" 225 pound Andrews as a player who could eventually grow into a tight end. Andrews has been adamant that is not something he is interested in and it played in Oklahoma's favor that they were recruiting him strictly as a wide receiver from the jump. And oh by the way, it was noted OU fan punching bag Tim Kish, with his ties to the state of Arizona, that served as Andrews' lead recruiter.
At his size, as you would suspect, Andrews using his physical attributes to his advantage against lesser high school competition. It doesn't hurt that he also has one of the top quarterbacks in the 2014 class (Kyle Allen, Texas A&M commit) throwing him the ball, so you can expect a big senior season in the coming year. He's not a guy who is going to blow past defenders with his speed, but he has a long stride and covers a lot of ground as a result. Very big receiver who loves to go up over the defender and high point the football.
The other thing to consider is just what Oklahoma is doing with this 2014 wide receiver recruiting class. The Sooners current list of verbal commitments check in at 6'6", 6'5", and 6'5" respectively. It's clear they have identified a type of receiver they are targeting and have secured commitments from three impressively talented players. We'll have to wait and see what, if anything, this could signal in terms of a change in their offensive philosophy, but you would have to think at a minimum the jump ball and/or fade routes become much more prominent in the OU offense.
Sooners Lose Out On A Pair Of 2014 Recruits At Crucial Positions Of Need
While the commitment of Andrews was certainly a welcome surprise, Oklahoma entered the weekend hoping to land multiple 2014 recruiting targets. Unfortunately, things did not play out that way.
It started Thursday when the Sooners missed out on Allen (Texas) linebacker Christian Sam who instead committed to Arizona State. Sam is the teammate and good friend of current OU commit Tay Evans, so the Sooners were believed to have a leg up in his recruitment. But things just never really seemed to click between the two and the Sun Devils as well as Ole MIss surged ahead in the latter part of Sam's recruiting process.
Oklahoma was dealt another blow Saturday evening when longtime offensive line target Ty Barrett spurned the Sooners for their conference foe TCU. Bill Bedenbaugh had been in on Barrett since back when he was on the West Virginia staff and actually provided the Dallas Skyline product with his first scholarship offer at that time. Evidently that and the allure of OU wasn't enough to overcome the job Gary Patterson and company did.
And with that it's hard not to see the weekend as a fairly substantial disappointment. Meaning no disrespect to Andrews whatsoever mind you as landing a top three player in the state of Arizona is no small feat. But picking up commitments from skill position talent hasn't been an issue at Oklahoma for a number of years. However, the same cannot be said as of late for securing top level talent at positions like offensive tackle, linebacker, or all along the defensive line. And again, no disrespect, but as it stands today neither Sam or Barrett are really considered to be "top level talent" type players.
To some that probably sounds like sour grapes, but you can do your own research if you care enough to look and find any number of people with a similar assessment.
Which, if you haven't already figured it out yet, is where the problem currently lies with respect to Oklahoma recruiting. It's not just that they aren't landing elite guys at the positions mentioned above. Or that they are now routinely losing recruits to schools like Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech, and others which is something that very rarely happened in the past.
It's that they are doing both. And doing both regularly.