There’s an old adage that goes, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” And lately, brisket hasn’t been the only thing smoking at the University of Oklahoma. Lincoln Riley has been on a recruiting tear since being named head coach. And he’s not simply winning over the hearts of these recruits, he’s also winning over the hearts of Oklahoma Sooners fans everywhere.
As many OU fans are aware of by now, the Sooners hosted a summer barbecue on Saturday — something that’s becoming an annual recruiting tradition. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the event, OU commit Patrick Fields gave a full rundown to the Tulsa World’s Eric Bailey. Dozens of high school football prospects were in attendance, both committed and considering alike.
However, not many folks were predicting any commitments on the spot.
Should just be a mostly a good vibe day + 2019 momentum builder more than anything - I wouldnt hinge todays success on booms. same as lst yr— RedDirtSports (@RedDirtSport) July 29, 2017
Exactly. BBQ resulted in a commitment from Kenneth Murray last year, but the boom came about two weeks later. https://t.co/vDjjmhSqgg— Jack Shields (@jlarryshields) July 29, 2017
But the reception the BBQ received from the recruits and their families was immediately apparent on Saturday. The inaugural event went over well last summer, but this year’s event had OU reaping the benefits almost instantly.
If you’re just now catching up, the first commitment was announced by 2019 ATH Jeffery Carter out of Aledo, Texas. Carter possesses exceptional speed and has the ability to play on both sides of the ball. That single commitment was already more than most expected out of the BBQ for the short term, but OU’s night was just getting started. Soon after Carter’s announcement, 2020 RB prospect Jase McClellan, Carter’s teammate, pulled the trigger and also committed. McClellan, although just entering his sophomore year, is already receiving serious attention from a number of Power 5 blue-bloods such as Georgia, Miami (FL), and Michigan. Finally, to cap off the historic night, the Sooner state’s own Jalen Redmond chose to stay home and don the Crimson & Cream. Redmond is a DE and is part of the class of 2018, and his pure athletic ability jumps off the screen. With these three commitments announced so soon after the BBQ festivities, all that smoke had become a full-fledged inferno.
The man who deserves a massive amount of the credit for the commitments OU’s reeled in over the past two months is the head man himself. Since Lincoln Riley was named head coach on June 7th, a whopping 12 recruits have committed to OU. By the numbers, 8 of them are part of the class of 2018, 3 are part of the 2019 class, and he’s even managed to win over McClellan from the class of 2020. All this being said, we must keep in mind that these commitments are never set in stone. However, what we can take away from all of this is that the interest level in playing for OU is steadily growing among recruits.
So we already know he has a brilliant offensive mind. Now we are seeing that the young man (young by head coaching standards) is proving that he can relate to the recruits of both today and tomorrow. What Riley has done thus far in nothing short of incredible. What can’t he do? That remains to be seen, but we’ll find out soon enough.
But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Lincoln Riley’s recruiting successes is the fact that he has astoundingly managed to accomplish all of this without any of these commits being able to take an official visit yet. There’s no telling what will happen when he gets those chances, but if what he’s done so far is any indicator, Sooner fans should prepare themselves for something special, because the Lincoln Effect is starting to spread like wildfire.