It couldn’t get any bigger than this.
For months the Oklahoma Sooners have been assembling a top-five 2017 recruiting class, drawing talent right on pace with perennial Signing Day powers like Alabama, LSU and Florida State. Bob Stoops hasn’t pulled down a class this good since at least 2010, but it’s still missing one thing:
Well Sooners fans, Oklahoma will have the chance to play in front of not one, but two such players this Saturday in Norman, and the game’s outcome could very well be the difference between a solid class with no five-stars or a top-3 class with two of them.
Most scouting services consider defensive tackle Marvin Wilson to be one of the nation’s three best recruits. A Houston native, Wilson is taking a hard look at schools like Alabama and Florida State, but he also understands that the D-line is crowded at those schools. In Norman, Wilson could be The Guy, and that has to be appealing.
Unfortunately, Charlie Strong’s torrid start has made Texas a serious contender for the 6’4”, 320-pound big man. Wilson has been careful not to lean too hard in any direction, but an Oklahoma loss on Saturday could hammer home the impression that Texas—not OU—is the Big 12 program on the rise.
An equally intriguing storyline belongs to five-star safety Jeffrey Okudah out of Grand Prairie, Texas. Okudah has long been rumored to favor Ohio State, with Oklahoma being more of a “close to home” option for the talented defensive back. Fortunately, he’ll get the chance to see both schools at the same time on Saturday, taking a hard look at Kerry Cooks’s unit and tOSU’s young, athletic secondary.
If Oklahoma wins, it will definitely reinforce the notion that Okudah doesn’t have to go all the way to Columbus to compete for a title. If not—well, there’s a good chance that Ohio State’s top-ranked 2017 class will get even more impressive. If there’s one decision that will be made based on Saturday’s outcome, it might well be Okudah’s.
The Oklahoma coaching staff won’t have to do all the work by itself. A vast majority of Oklahoma’s 2017 commits will be on hand for the Buckeyes game, and reportedly the group is very good at extolling the virtues of #SoonerSquad17. Chris Robison considers himself the Sooners quarterback of the future, and the four-star trio of Texas wide receivers (CeeDee Lamb, Charleston Rambo and Jalen Reagor) definitely give the impression that Oklahoma’s offense will hum for years to come. Four-star DBs Robert Barnes and Tre Brown may be able to convince Okudah that he’d have fun on the practice field with them for a few years.
There will be 2018 guys like Owen Condon and Jaylen Waddle taking unofficial visits on Saturday, and even a few 2019 guys OU is looking at. Oklahoma-OSU is one of the biggest matchups in all of college football this year, so it’s not surprising that the nation’s elite recruits are treating it like a giant meet-and-greet.
In the end, though, this weekend will be about taking the 2017 class to the next level. Any momentum the Sooners lost in Houston is there for the taking again. Their chips are on the table—now all they can do is play.