The Oklahoma Sooners signed 19 players during the Early Signing Period and have three commitments in four-star linebacker DaShaun White, three-star tight end Brayden Willis and, for now, three-star cornerback Jordon Austin.
Earlier this week, 2018 running back Tavion Thomas and wide receiver Treveon Johnson each tweeted their decommitment (which still isn’t even a word outside of college football) announcements. Hopefully, this is helpful guide for Sooner targets and a brief word on what to expect from Oklahoma’s most recent commit - Brayden Willis.
And we’re off!
MORO OJOMO, DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Katy (Texas) defensive tackle Moro Ojomo tweeted he received an offer from Alabama late Tuesday night. The 3-star recruit reportedly met with Alabama coach Nick Saban and Crimson Tide assistant Jeff Banks.
Ojomo has been highly coveted by Oklahoma, Texas and several others as of late. He’s listed at 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, but what’s not said is he will not be 18 until he gets on campus.
This means he’s not only mature enough to play big-boy college football, but he’s still has room to grow up in a hurry. However, we have to believe Texas has a chance to win Ojomo over before Signing Day, and in truth it may have already happened. Ojomo was in Austin this past weekend for an official visit.
MICHAEL THOMPSON, DEFENSIVE TACKLE
U.S. Army All-American Michael Thompson has said his decision is down to Oklahoma and Missouri. With Thompson hailing from St. Louis, it’s easy to see how and why the Tigers were at the top of Thompson list for such a long time. But after he took a visit to Oklahoma in January, the Sooners seemed to swing into the lead.
2018 defensive end and Sooner signee Ronnie Perkins is from the St. Louis area, so expect him to be doing his part in recruiting Thompson, too. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound 4-star recruit said he’ll announce his commitment on Signing Day. Thompson is No. 4 rated tackle in the 2018 class and the No. 2 player in the state of Missouri, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. With just one defensive tackle in this 2018 class, Thompson is at the top of my list of targets Oklahoma needs to land.
LEON O’NEAL JR., SAFETY
There were a brief couple of weeks when the Sooners possibly looked like the team for four-star safety Leon O’Neal Jr. But after the U.S. Army All-American took a visit to Clemson, Oklahoma looked to be forced into the third place as the Aggies—who O’Neal was once committed to—have made it back into O’Neal’s good graces. I don’t expect Oklahoma to give up its recruitment of O’Neal, but I don’t expect the Sooners to land him either.
TANK JENKINS, OFFENSIVE GUARD
Last Wednesday, Marcus “Tank” Jenkins announced he’ll make his decision between Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Ole Miss on National Signing Day, according to 247 Sports. After taking an official visit to Norman late last month, Jenkins said he left feeling high on OU. However, a recent trip to College Station might have changed his mind.
On top that, the folks in Oxford have the advantage of fostering a relationship longest among Jenkins’ top 3. He’s reportedly traveled to Ole Miss a number of times. He’s rated the No. 8 player in the state of Alabama, and at 6-foot-5, 325 pounds he’s physically ready-made to play right away in the interior wherever he decides to play next year.
WHAT POSITION WILL WILLIS PLAY?
The Oklahoma Sooners picked up a verbal commitment from 2018 tight end Brayden Willis. But Willis seems to be a tight end in name only. Tape of the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Willis shows an ability to catch, run and move in a way that makes it hard to stick in one archetype of player. Fortunately for us, the Sooners have a name for what most of us have a hard time categorizing. Some people call it H-back. Some call it multi-back. The OU staff calls it fullback.
It’s the same position Dimitri Flowers and Trey Millard occupied. It’s a player with the size to line up in a 3-point stance alongside an offensive tackle; hands soft enough to line up in the slot between a wide out and a true tight end; and feet nimble enough to take a handoff from seven yards deep and make the right cutback at the right time.
While we’ll most certainly be scratching our heads trying to figure out where Willis might fit in Oklahoma’s 2018 offense, the nature of most players who have Willis’ skillset is decidedly agreeable. Because that position requires so much in the way of versatility, most H-backs don’t get rooted to the idea of catching passes, rushing for touchdowns or even blocking blitzing linebackers. His job changes game-to-game, quarter-to-quarter, play-to-play.
They also get used to the terms overlooked and underrated. But when they get the ball something great usually happens. In Flowers’ final season at Oklahoma, he caught just 26 passes in 14 games, but he averaged 17.8 yards per catch yet he’s tied for first with DeMarco Murray among running backs for receiving touchdowns in a career (13).
Willis could also end up playing the position he played in high school—pure pass-catching tight end, or the ‘Y’ receiver in Riley’s offense. For winners at that position, we need look no further than Mark Andrews who was a unanimous All-American and likely first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. But we could. At the tight end position, we could look at James Hanna, Jermaine Gresham, Joe Jon Finley, Blake Bell and even Trent Smith without leaving the 21st century. But, like I said, we don’t have to.
What bodes well for Willis, though, is he was first discovered by OU assistant Cale Gundy, who has earned a reputation for recognizing prep potential, getting players onto campus and turning them into pro producers.
NOW HERE’S A VIDEO:
ONE FINAL THOUGHT:
Oklahoma softball is the preseason No. 1 team in America—again. With four national championships—all this century, including back-to-backs in 2016 and 2017—OU coach Patty Gasso is the best college coach in the state and has an argument to be the best ever at Oklahoma. Fight me.