With the Early Signing Period beginning this Wednesday, here’s a quick rundown of recent commits and remaining prospects for the Oklahoma Sooners:
Nick Evers - With Malachi Nelson off-the- board, Brent Venables and assumed offensive coordinator, Jeff Lebby have moved quickly to get a QB a part of this 2022 class. For that, look no further than 4-Star QB, Nick Evers who announced his commitment to the Sooners early Monday morning. There is history between Oklahoma’s new commit and their new staff. Evers was offered by Lebby back in March while he served as offensive coordinator at Ole Miss but soon after committed to the Florida Gators. The emerging dual-threat QB is an ideal fit for Jeff Lebby’s offense with impressive arm strength and ability to hurt opposing defenses on the ground.
Jayden Gibson - Another recent Florida Gators decommit who took an official visit to Oklahoma this weekend is 2022 4-Star WR, Jayden Gibson out of Winter Garden, FL. Not hard to see what Oklahoma likes in Gibson who stands at a rangey 6’5” with skilled hands and impressive speed for his size. An obvious fit for Lebby’s offense as a guy that can win the 50/50 balls and exploits zone coverages over the middle. With Evers committed to Oklahoma, it’s not inconceivable that Gibson is soon to follow.
Kobie McKinzie - Looking for one of the more rollercoaster recruitments? Kobie McKinzie, who had flipped his commitment from Oklahoma to Texas just over a week ago, has flipped back to the Sooners. McKinzie was close with former Oklahoma linebackers coach Brian Odom, and when it was apparent that he would not be retained by Brent Venables, it threw his recruitment into question. Credit Venables for taking the lead to repair that bridge between McKinzie and Oklahoma and get the highly-touted LB out of Lubbock, TX back on board. (Update: since his commitment yesterday, Kobie McKinzie tweeted out “oh, and I’m not coming back by myself!”, so… that opens up a conversation for another Oklahoma decommit)
Gabe Dindy - Going to go ahead and include this since it’s bound to be a topic. There is some speculation as to what’s happening with 5-Star DL, Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy since Mike Elko’s departure from Texas A&M. Plenty of turmoil here for the Dindy family over the past couple weeks so it stands to reason that Oklahoma fans would be interested in what’s going on. Kobie McKinzie’s tweet will no-doubt lead some to think something is going on there. Is there substance to it or is it simply an attempt to recruit or even re-recruit certain prospects? I tend to lean toward the latter; don’t get too invested.
Jihaad Campbell - Another big name back on the market due to the coaching changes: 4-Star Edge, Jihaad Campbell. The highly sought after pass rusher from IMG Academy had been committed to Clemson since June with his primary recruiter being Brent Venables. Since BV’s departure for Norman, Campbell has lined up visits with Alabama and Texas A&M. This feels like a long shot for Oklahoma, but if Alabama lands 5-Star Edge Marvin Jones Jr., maybe BV can make it a race between the Sooners and Aggies.
Chris McClellan - Maybe one of the more interesting developments since the coaching staff changes is the recruitment of OkPreps 4-Star DL, Chris McClellan. McClellan - who’s communication with the previous staff was dubious at best - has reportedly opened up to the new coaching staff. Venables values position versatility and McClellan offers that along the defensive front. Just based on that aspect alone, he’ll be high up on Venables recruiting priorities. The Sooners will, however, be playing catch-up and even more so with McClellan coming off a visit to Gainesville. Nothing is impossible, but Oklahoma has a hill to climb here.
Ahmad Moten - A “late-riser” in this recruiting cycle is Ahmad Moten, the 6’3”, 290-pound defensive lineman out of Fort Lauderdale, FL. Moten has garnered offers from Oklahoma, LSU, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, and Miami over the past few weeks. New Sooners defensive ends coach Miguel Chavis had an in-home visit to meet with Moten and family. However the Oklahoma staff will have their work cutout for the South Florida native who is fresh off an official visit to Iowa State and an emerging Miami program under Mario Christobal will undoubtedly give him something to think about. With all the new offers and expected visits Moten will take, it’s not surprising this recruitment will play out through the new year.
Alton Tarber - A name that Oklahoma was quick to offer is 2022 3-Star DL, Alton Tarber out of Deerfield Beach, FL. Put the rankings aside for a minute… Deerfield Beach has produced college prospects like Jerry Jeudy, Jaylan Knighton, Riley Ridley, and Jason Pierre-Paul - not a bad list of alumni. Tarber received an Oklahoma offer on Dec. 9th, took an OV to Norman this past weekend, and announced his decommitment from Georgia Tech on Sunday. This one isn’t hard to put together, as it seems to be trending the right way for Oklahoma.
DeSean Brown - A name that Oklahoma fans had been waiting to see get an offer was in-state 2022 EDGE DeSean Brown, and it finally happened Saturday. Brown flew under the radar of the previous staff with their efforts focused on Marvin Jones Jr. If you ever got a chance to see Brown play at Choctaw High School or even just seen his film, it’s hard not to get excited about what he could do in a Venables defense. Brown is a big-bodied, explosive and physical pass rusher that has tremendous upside at the next level. When the offer went out, it was hard not to like Oklahoma’s chances here being the in-state powerhouse program with a brillant defensive minded head coach. However, things have cooled down between the two parties since the offer was extended, and a match is seeming less and less likely.
Jaren Kanak - Something to keep an eye on here is Clemson linebacker commit, Jaren Kanak. The 2022 4-Star ATH had been committed to the Tigers since July and has a strong relationship with now Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables. Is that enough to pull Kanak away from Clemson? Is Venables going to recruit against his former school? This is one to watch if only to see how Venables handles this situation.
Jovante Barnes - Throughout the coaching changes, the one major constant has been DeMarco Murray, who has been as active as anyone on the recruiting trail. With that, Oklahoma looks to be the leader for 4-Star RB Jovante Barnes out of Murray’s hometown Las Vegas, Nevada. Oklahoma will have to hold off efforts by Alabama, Florida State, and yes… USC, as all seem to remain in contention for this powerful, between-the-tackles rusher. Oklahoma has the familiarity advantage and now adds the appeal of Jeff Lebby’s running back-friendly offense, which led the SEC in rushing this season. Because of those two factors, this seems to be only a matter of time for Oklahoma.