The Sooners are returning quite a few playmakers on defense, but they hope to add a few more pieces as National Signing Day inches closer. They coveted Austin Faoliu, but he committed to Oregon instead.
It was a position of need last season, and that has not changed. The Sooners need talent and depth along the D-line badly if they truly want to be a playoff and title contender in 2017 and beyond.
Three intriguing prospects remain for the Sooners along the line.
The first one is defensive tackle (and potential defensive end) Tyreece Lott out of Ardmore, who will reportedly make his decision this week:
Lott had initially committed to TCU, but his recent decision to decommit has opened the door for the Sooners. He’s long, lean and fast, meaning he’ll able to run down backs in the open field:
Lott could make an impact right away if he commits. His body is just about there—Lott is 6’4”, 265 lbs. — so with some weight-room work, he shouldn’t have an issue transitioning from high school to the college game.
The fact that Tyreece de-committed from TCU just two days after his visit with OU is a pretty good sign that he’ll will be playing in Norman next season.
Another player who could make an immediate impact is defensive end Taquon Graham. Graham committed to Texas in September, and he supposedly had a very good and reassuring visit to Austin recently. But judging by the fact that he’s taking an official visit to Oklahoma this weekend, the Sooners have a very real chance to flip him.
The Temple, Texas product excels at shedding blocks, making the correct reads, and has the speed and size to make life difficult for opposing offenses:
Amani Bledsoe is probably the best defensive end (in a future 4-3 scheme) on Oklahoma’s roster as constituted, and he won’t be eligible to return until the eighth game of next season—if coach Bob Stoops decides to field him. Only one other defensive end (D.J. Ward) is an upperclassmen. Put simply: there’s plenty of room for young players like Graham to make an impact off of the edge.
Last, but certainly not least, is Marvin Wilson, the top uncommitted recruit of the 2017 class. It appears as if the Sooners made an impression on him last night:
Yup — Stoops and his staff brought along an Outland Trophy to Houston. The 6’4” defensive tackle could have an impact on the line that we haven’t seen since Gerald McCoy. Du’Vonta Lampkin has even gotten in on the recruiting fun along with McCoy (and Tommie Harris?):
The Sooners have an outside chance of snagging Wilson, but they’ll have to contend with Florida State, Ohio State, and LSU, who are all scheduled to make in-home visits to Wilson this week and weekend. Still, OU is in his top five, and even an outside chance is still a chance. LSU appears the best bet, though.
Oklahoma certainly needs help on the defensive line, especially at the end position if they do indeed move to a 4-3 in 2017. And while top-level, starting talent is obviously highly important, depth is also necessary. Stoops and co. are working to ensure that last year’s Walking Dead impression of a defense doesn’t happen again. Injuries and circumstance will occur; it’s your job as a coach and recruiter to ensure the depth exists.
It’s part educated guess, part gut feeling, but I believe that Stoops and his staff have a very real chance of signing Tyreece Lott and Taquon Graham. Marvin Wilson would be a massive bonus—easily Stoops’ highest-profile signing in a while.
A position group that had previously been thin now has the potential to be one of the deepest in the conference in the coming years. If any of these guys commit, look for them to be making plays sooner rather than later.