The Oklahoma Sooners are heading into a busy couple of weeks on the recruiting trail, with decisions on the horizon and visits beginning to pick up. Let’s check out a few of the biggest names to watch.
Five-Star DL Dominick McKinley
While Oklahoma has been tied to McKinley for some time, it was thought that they had fallen behind the likes of Texas and others over the past couple of weeks. Fast forward to today, and Oklahoma finds itself right in the middle of the McKinley sweepstakes along with Texas A&M.
The case for the Sooners is easy. There is a long-standing relationship between defensive line coach Todd Bates and the McKinley family. Oklahoma can sell playing next to another five-star defensive lineman in David Stone, as well as a five-star EDGE already on campus in PJ Adebawore. Then there is the faith element with the McKinleys — Venables and others on staff haven’t been shy about their faith, which developed another connection between the No. 1 prospect in Louisiana. Will that be enough to land McKinley’s commitment? Tough to say, as A&M has a proven track record of winning these types of recruiting battles. The Aggies certainly have the NIL element going for them, and despite what some may say, they’ve also quietly developed a good relationship with the McKinleys. We’re less than 24 hours away from a decision, and while A&M is perceived to have a slight edge, these five-star recruitments have a tendency to swing by the hour, so we’ll be watching this one closely.
McKinley is scheduled to announce his decision on Friday.
Five-Star DL Nigel Smith
If you’re looking for a less chaotic recruitment to follow, Nigel Smith is your guy. While a lot of Sooner fans have focused on names like Williams Nwaneri, David Stone, and now Dominick McKinley - Nigel Smith has been a name nearly synonymous with Oklahoma recruiting. The 6’5” defensive end out of Melissa, TX, has been a focus for both Todd Bates and Miguel Chavis since receiving an offer last January.
Oklahoma does have some competition for Smith, however. Ohio State has been a contender for Smith’s services in the past, and Oklahoma also finds itself in yet another head-to-head battle with Texas A&M. That said, there is a fair amount of confidence that Oklahoma has a considerable lead heading into Smith’s announcement that is slated for September 8th.
Four-Star EDGE Danny Okoye
At one point, the Sooners were on the outside looking in for the No. 1 prospect in the state of Oklahoma. However, over the past several months, the coaching staff led by Miguel Chavis has done a remarkable job not only getting the Sooners back into the recruitment, but also to the point where some perceive Oklahoma as the leader. They’ll have a chance to further that perception this weekend, as the Sooners are slated to host Okoye on an unofficial visit.
Okoye currently ranks as the No. 159 overall prospect according to the On3 Industry Rankings. That said, expect the 6’4” 240 lb. EDGE rusher out of the Tulsa area to continue to rise up the rankings, as the talent is undeniable.
Four-Star OL Grant Brix
One of the quieter recruitments in this cycle is that of the No. 2 IOL in the country out of Logan, Iowa. Brix has taken numerous visits to Norman, including an official visit back in June. However, it’s been tough to get a read on where Oklahoma stands, with both Nebraska and Kansas State vying for the elite offensive line talent. Proximity is a factor in this recruitment, which automatically puts Oklahoma behind the two aforementioned programs, but it’s also hard to deny Bill Bedenbaugh’s development of NFL talent. There’s no definitive timeline for a decision, but look for the Sooners to continue leveraging their NFL production to overcome their disadvantage in location.
Five-Star ATH Terry Bussey
Bussey has long been connected to Texas A&M, but the uber-athletic, do-it-all athlete from Timpton, Texas, continues to make appearances in Norman. He’ll do so again this weekend on an unofficial visit for the Sooners’ home opener against Arkansas State. Bussey projects as a receiver at the next level, and while Oklahoma already has five receivers committed in 2024, it stands to reason they still have a spot for the five-star prospect. That said, it’s still too early to start getting your hopes up, as Texas A&M has been seen as a leader by a wide margin for some time. His recruitment is still worth keeping an eye on, as new receivers coach Emmett Jones already has the markings of an elite recruiter since joining the Oklahoma staff in January.