Fresh off the nation's 15th ranked recruiting class, there's a lot to be optimistic about in regards to the future of Oklahoma football. The Sooners had the highest ranked recruiting class in the Big XII, right on the heels of the conference's most impressive bowl victory. What is there not to love about Oklahoma football right now?
History should throw us out a word of caution though when it comes to hyping up a recruiting class. A look back at the 2011 class shows us the same thing that every class does, some guys are underrated, some are overrated, some are right on target and some don't hang around. Take a look and see for yourself.
4-Star Defensive Tackle Marquis Anderson, Cibolo, TX - Appeared in four games as a redshirt freshman in 2012, recording five total tackles, before transferring to Navarro Junior College in the spring of 2013.
4-Star Offensive Lineman Dylan Dismule, Duncan, OK - Set out as a redshirt freshman in 2011 but suffered a career-ending knee injury in team workouts before the Insight Bowl. Despite no longer being a member of the football team Oklahoma is still honoring his scholarship.
3-Star Offensive Lineman Derek Farniok, Sioux Falls, SD - Was redshirted in 2011, played mostly special teams in 2012 and then made four appearances on the offensive line in 2013, including a start at left tackle in Bedlam.
4-Star Defensive End Nathan Hughes, Klein, TX - Was shuffled back and forth between the offensive and defensive lines in his two season at Oklahoma. Transferred out of the program in the spring of 2013.
4-Star Wide Receiver Kameel Jackson, Arlington, TX - Caught twelve passes for 165 yards, including a career-high 3 catches for 45 yards in the Insight Bowl, as a freshman in 2011 but was suspended indefinitely and later dismissed from the team in the spring of 2012 for a violation of team rules.
3-Star Offensive Lineman Nila Kasitati, Euless, TX - Sat out the 2011 season with a redshirt, played in four games in 2012 before suffering a season-ending knee injury, played in all thirteen games in 2013 with seven starts.
3-Star Linebacker P.L. Lindley, Round Rock, TX - Redshirted in 2011, played in seven games in 2012, and saw action in ten games in 2013 including a start in the Sugar Bowl win over Alabama.
5-Star Wide Receiver Trey Metoyer, Whitehouse, TX - Didn't actually make it to Oklahoma until the spring of 2012 because of academic issues, caught 17 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown as a freshman (2012), was dismissed from the team in October of 2013 after an arrest.
3-Star Cornerback Bennett Okotcha, Coppell, TX - Was redshirted in 2011, transferred to UTSA in 2012.
4-Star Defensive Tackle Jordan Phillips, Towands, KS - Sat out 2011 with a redshirt, played in 11 games (recording a career-high 12 tackles) in 2012, suffered a season-ending back injury against Notre Dame in 2013.
3-Star Llinebacker Frank Shannon, Dallas, TX - Redshirted in 2011, played in twelve games in 2012 (with 2 starts), was honorable mention All Big XII by the coaches after starting all thirteen games and recording 92 tackles in 2013.
4-Star Tight End Max Stevenson, Klein, TX - Decided to walk away from football in the fall of 2011 after suffering a torn pectoral.
3-Star Tight End Dan Tapko, Kansas City, MO - Never made it on campus in Norman after deciding in June of 2011 to quit playing football and focus instead on academics.
3-Star Quarterback Kendal Thompson, Moore, OK - Redshirted in 2011, did not play in 2012, completed 4 of 13 passes for 64 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT in 2013. Will transfer to Utah to play following his graduation this spring.
4-Star Defensive Tackle Jordan Wade, Round Rock, TX - Didn't arrive to Norman until the spring of 2012, was redshirted for the 2012 season, played in 12 games (with 8 starts) in 2013 and recorded 17 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
5-Star Running Back Brandon Williams, Brookshire, TX - Rushed for 219 yards on 46 carries as a freshman, transferred to Texas A&M in the spring of 2012 to be closer to family.
3-Star Athlete Danzel Williams, Arlington, TX - Redshirted in 2011, transferred to Central Arkansas after the spring of 2012.
So, if you're keeping track, that's eleven of seventeen players that signed in 2011 who are no longer with the team. Among those transferring out were the two 5-star recruits, the crown jewels of the class if you will, and a Sooner legacy quarterback.
This relates to 2014 how? Well, it really doesn't except that it emphasizes the fact that you just never know how a recruiting class is going to turn out. The true measure of a class is not what they are when they sign but what they are four years later. Each group has its share of Brandon Williams' and also its share of guys like Frank Shannon who didn't have as many stars by his name but paid his dues, worked his tail off and became an impact player. Here's to hoping there are more of those guys in the 2014 class than anything else.