With the early Signing Period beginning on Wednesday, the Oklahoma Sooners are carrying some serious momentum after securing two more commitments. Four prospects — QB Nick Evers, WR Jayden Gibson, DT Alton Tarber and OLB Kobie McKinzie — visited this past weekend, and now all four are on board with Brent Venables’ program. With the additions of Gibson and Tarber, OU’s class is now up to No. 9 in the 247 Composite Rankings entering signing day, which is a far cry from where the program was in the wake of Lincoln Riley’s departure.
Miguel Chavis, a former defensive lineman himself, is now coaching the defensive ends at OU and has put the finishing touches on the big man’s recruitment. It was certainly a quick turn of events for Tarber, who was offered, decommitted within hours, and then committed.
Tarber decommitted from Georgia Tech, but also had offers from Penn State, Miami, LSU, Arkansas and several other programs.
Oklahoma is obviously in need of defensive linemen ahead of their move to the SEC, but also just out of necessity after the recent departures of Perrion Winfrey, Isaiah Thomas, and Nik Bonitto. Also, with the amount of times the former staff hit the JUCO ranks for interior defensive linemen, Venables needs to develop his own guys. The Sooners are getting a guy in Tarber that couldn’t be more different than what the previous regime in Norman was recruiting. Tarber is a high school senior with a frame standing at 6’3, 320lbs. Of course Tarber has bad weight to lose and good weight to pack back on, which Schmitty will make sure of– but Oklahoma is preparing for the SEC and mirroring what Venables did best at Clemson: Get massive, disrupting, body-movers in the trenches to create havoc in the backfield. The Sooners won’t just be tough in the trenches, but they’ll also be violent and quite frankly, hard to move around.
With Isaiah Coe, Josh Ellison, and Jordan Kelley slated to be seniors this upcoming season, Oklahoma cannot continue to rely upon JUCO guys despite most working out in favor for the Sooners. The current underclassmen at OU that are interior defensive linemen are Kelvin Gilliam, Kori Roberson, and Jalen Redmond. If Redmond has a big year next season, expect him to be NFL bound as well, so the signing of Tarber is a must. He is certainly a project that the Sooners are working to turn into a playmaker and with his size and frame reminds me of Casey Walker. According to 247Sports Composite rankings, Tarber is rated as the no. 138 DL and the no. 141 player out of Florida. People may scoff at his ratings, but one look at his tape, one would see his pad leverage and size that includes not just how big and tall he is but also how wide Tarber is as well. Venables has a type on the defensive line, and the Sooners are just getting prepared for the SEC grind.
The Sooners’ staff struck again in poaching what’s left from the Florida recruiting class after the firing of Dan Mullen, who still apparently has been playing his scout team since they faced off against Oklahoma in last year’s Cotton Bowl. Jeff Lebby seems to have been able to convince Jayden Gibson to come along with former Florida QB commit Nick Evers as well. Gibson is finding a home in Norman, OK. as the Sooners transition to the SEC amid offers from several other programs such as Arkansas, Cincinnati, Miami, Florida State, Georgia and several others.
As a player, Gibson has a large frame that he needs to fill out– he’s 6’5, but only 185 lbs. at the moment. Of course that’s nothing an offseason and Schmitty cannot fix, but he’ll certainly be over 200 lbs. by the time he’s on the field making plays. Just being 6’5 and likely growing a little more while at OU, Jayden is going to create mismatches for opposing defenses because of his ability to high-point the ball. Not just that, he has the sheer size advantage that would allow QBs to throw the ball up and allow him to go get it considering he’s so long and tall. He will need some coaching up by Cale Gundy as far as his mechanics are concerned, but he’s certainly a player that you stick in the red zone as a threat. I’d say his floor is rotation player, ceiling is WR1 mismatch, I think he will find the field in some capacity.
Gibson is currently Oklahoma’s 16th commitment for the 2022 recruiting cycle and currently the second wide receiver of the class. According to 247Sports Composite, Jayden is the No. 25 QB in the US, the No. 20 player in the State of Florida, and the No. 149 overall prospect in the country. Oklahoma will certainly lose more players to the transfer portal just as much as they may gain transfers and late commitments– it’s just the nature of the business after a head coach leaves. Sooners will grin and bear it, but be more SEC ready after a retooling year in the 2022-23 football season.