Back in late October of 2017, the Oklahoma Sooners had one of the biggest recruiting weekends in its history, and it ended up paying dividends in the end. Defensive end Ronnie Perkins, who had long flirted with the two Red River rivals for quite some time, announced a commitment the Sunday following his trip to Norman. That same weekend, Oklahoma also made another great impression with four-star linebacker DaShaun White and flipped the script with elite DB Bookie Radley-Hiles. Of course, OU would later earn crucial signatures in all three cases. Outside of the recruiting victories, OU also made a serious impression with a number of major prospects, eventually becoming major players in their recruitment after originally being labeled a bit of an afterthought in some cases.
With the NCAA’s new recruiting calendar in place, programs are now able to host official visitors as early as April. Oklahoma, as one might expect, is taking full advantage of that. The group that will be in attendance for this one is perhaps stronger across the board — at least on paper — than the group OU hosted for the aforementioned Texas Tech game in 2017, the Ohio State game in 2016 and, quite frankly, any group OU has hosted in memory. If Lincoln Riley’s Twitter activity is any indication, things should go quite well.
Oh wow...this weekend keeps getting better— Lincoln Riley (@LincolnRiley) April 11, 2018
I don’t know if you’re ready for whats coming
Here’s who is currently expected to be in town:
WR Theo Wease - The Allen (TX) prospect and former OU commit will be in Norman, and he’s someone who could potentially pull the trigger this weekend. If that goes down and he eventually signs, OU will be getting a big and strong jump-ball receiver who is also fairly adept as a route runner. That equates to an absolute matchup nightmare for Big 12 defenses.
Since experiencing a bit of a charge from Jimbo Fisher’s staff earlier in the year, Oklahoma has established itself as a fairly heavy favorite in his recruitment once again.
WR Arjei Henderson - Like Wease, Henderson is a former WR commit who could very well end up back with the Sooners. As is also the case with Wease, OU currently appears to have the momentum in the race for Henderson. Alabama and Texas A&M are also in his top 3, but OU will be the first to host him for an official visit.
If OU eventually signs a WR class comprised of Henderson, Wease and Trejan Bridges, the Sooners will be pretty much set for the future at the position. Having three elite wideouts who each bring a unique skill set to the table would just be an embarrassment of riches.
WR Jadon Haselwood - OU is getting an official visit from a five-star UGA commit and OU legacy, but it’ll definitely be an uphill battle to land this guy. Despite the family connection (his dad is an OU alum), Haselwood seems pretty solid with the Dawgs. Something tells me that OU would be perfectly content with Bridges and some of its other primary targets, but flipping him would likely result in OU having the best receiver class of all time. He’s that goo, and the recruiting situation at the position is also that good.
TE Austin Stogner - The OU commit has been to Norman a number of times, and he’ll be back this weekend for his official visit. He’s very solid with the Sooners and has been receiving quite a bit of praise as of late.
One of the top TE's in the '19 class & an #OU Commit @austin_stogner performed well & up to expectations today. The Under Armour All-American has a big frame & strong hands & can be a well-rounded weapon for the #Sooners pic.twitter.com/BFJDEnbFym— Craig Haubert (@CraigHaubert) April 8, 2018
The Mark Andrews comparisons arise frequently. Honestly, there are certain areas in which Stogner can be even more successful than Andrews, particularly as a red zone threat. And that’s absolutely no knock on the type of athlete of player that Andrews is, it’s just that this kid has that kind of potential. He’s incredibly rangy, runs great routes and is deceptively athletic for a guy of his size. The thought of Stogner and elite QB commit Spencer Rattler building chemistry should make you happier than an Oklahoma State fan buying a lift kit.
DT Derek Green - Green will be in Norman for an official visit after de-committing back in February. A family health issue forced him to reevaluate the distance between his hometown of Jacksonville, N.C., and OU’s campus, and that will likely hurt OU’s chances in the end. Nonetheless, OU made his top 3, and the Sooners don’t appear to be giving up.
It won't be long and this list goes down to 2 thanks for supporting y'all frfr pic.twitter.com/CzAkN9SCbh— HoneyBear (@derekgreenn) April 7, 2018
The Sooners have really been on it today‼️— HoneyBear (@derekgreenn) April 10, 2018
CB Chris Steele - Five-star corner Chris Steele will be one of the headliners in Norman this week. As is always the case with blue-chip prospects in greater Los Angeles (Steele is from powerhouse St. John Bosco in Bellflower), USC is a tough school to beat when they make a legitimate push. However, the Cali connection with Bookie and T.J. Pledger could certainly help OU in the race to eventually sign him.
S Jamal Morris - Oklahoma is considered the current favorite for the four-star Richmond (TX) Fort Bend Bush safety, and Lincoln Riley’s staff could do an awful lot so solidify that position during his official visit. LSU and Texas round out his top 3.
Oklahoma missed out on its high-profile targets (Josh Proctor, Leon O’Neal, etc.) at the safety position in 2018, but don’t expect that to be the case in the ‘19.
S Jalyn Phillips - Speaking of high-profile safety targets, the Lawrenceville, Ga. native will also be in town for an official visit. The four-star prospect also touts offers from the likes of Alabama, Tennessee, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas and USC, but Oklahoma is second none in that race at the moment.
S Jarrian Jones - Phillips isn’t the only safety from SEC country who will be in town, as Flowood, Miss. native Jarrian Jones also announced his decision to take an official to OU for the Spring Game. Jones is receiving plenty of love from the Mississippi schools as well as pretty much every other SEC program, and Mississippi State is currently the school that stands out a bit. However, the fact that he’s using one of his five officials on the Sooners is an encouraging sign. As is always the case, getting a kid in town for an official visit always gives you a puncher’s chance, and that’s become particularly true since Riley took over.
DB Cam’Ron Kelly - OU hasn’t landed a Virginia native since signing Ricky DeBerry in 2015, but Kelly officially visited Washington State last week and does not appear to be deterred by geography. He has the skill set to play more than one secondary position and is officially listed as an athlete by services.
CB Jaden Davis - The corner out of Ft. Lauderdale powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas is receiving his fair share of attention from inside his home state and across the country, but he’s using one of his five official visits for this weekend’s Spring Game in Norman. OU fans can take comfort in the fact that the Sooners were able to snag a blue chip prospect — four-star pass rusher/OLB Nik Bonitto — out of the same high school this past winter. Davis will also be officially visiting Texas and Penn State later on, and the Florida schools will also be tough to beat.
DE Braylen Ingraham - Davis isn’t the only St. Thomas Aquinas standout to make the trip to Norman this weekend, as four-star DE Braylen Ingraham will also make it to town for an official. Miami appears to be the primary competition at the moment, and I have to admit that his size, athleticism and mean streak remind me of the ‘Canes I grew up watching. Those types of players need to end up in Norman if OU hopes to finally create a truly dominant defense.
OT Tyler Johnson - The nation’s No. 5 offensive tackle was in Austin last week to visit Texas, who is the presumptive leader in his recruitment. However, Oklahoma is right in the middle of things and will have a chance to make a very strong impression on his official this weekend.
A person of his size shouldn’t be able to move as well as he does. Seriously, how fun would it be to watch this kid at one of the tackle positions (opposite Brey Walker?) in Oklahoma’s offense if Bill Bedenbaugh is somehow able to pull off a bit of a steal? IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN.
OG Caedan Wallace - The No. 7 offensive guard in the 247Composite rankings hails from Princeton, N.J. and has plenty of high-profile offers from coast to coast. The favorite at the moment is Penn State, but this weekend’s official visit could go a very long way in changing that. He’s expected to be in Happy Valley for an official during Penn State’s Blue-White Game next weekend, so it’ll be interesting to see where things stand later this month. One thing is for sure — Wallace is a major priority for a program that didn’t sign a freshman guard during the 2018 period. He
OT Michael Tarquin - He’s the weekend’s only three-star official visitor, but don’t let that mislead you. His offer list, which consists of Miami, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Texas A&M, USC and others, certainly speaks for itself. The Belleview, Fla. prospect is considered a ‘Canes lean, but OU is starting to make a bit of noise.
DE Joseph Wete - Wete, who is from Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., is one of nine recruits from out east expected in Norman for an official visit. OU has actually had a bit of success with DMV recruits in recent years, so perhaps Parnell Motley can get in his ear during his visit.
LB Cade Stover - The Mansfield, Ohio product is considered a fairly heavy Ohio State lean, but he’s using one of his official visits on the Sooners and is missing the Buckeyes’ spring game — also played on the 14th — as a result. I wouldn’t read too much into that, as he lives about an hour away from the OSU campus and has stated that he plans on visiting a few more times.
Perhaps it’s a long shot, but Stover would be a huge get the Sooners and would be a particularly strong contributor against the run. This kid brings the pain on a regular basis.
Notre Dame grad transfer DL Jay Hayes - Hayes started all 13 games for Notre Dame as a junior, but rumored issues with work ethic were potentially leading to him losing that job to the younger Khalid Kareem as a senior. Having said that, he had a solid game against Georgia and was always a key contributor against the run. The Brooklyn product — who stands at 6’3”, 290 — would at the very least add some quality depth to Oklahoma’s defensive line for a season. SEC schools are also on the prowl for Hayes, but this is the only known official visit at this point.
Oklahoma will also be hosting a number of unofficial visitors from both the 2019 and 2020 classes. That list includes — but is not limited to — Millwood RB Marcus Major, Florida LB Ge’Mon Earford, Cali CB Isaiah Rutherford, St. Louis safety Jalani Williams, Arkansas offensive tackle Stacey Wilkins and recent de-commit Isaiah Spiller. Keep in mind that — although OU can’t provide them with meals — an unofficial visit doesn’t necessarily equate to a hands-off experience as far as the staff is concerned, so rest assured that these kids will be receiving plenty of attention during their trip. This also leaves the door open for these guys to take official visits during the fall.
To sum it all up, this is an absolutely enormous recruiting weekend that is loaded with star power from top to bottom. Expect to spend Saturday, Sunday and the following week on “boom watch”.