Oklahoma Sooners: Arizona Wildcats

Semper Fi notebook: Day 3 

January, 3, 2014
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News and notes from Day 3 of the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.

Delp to announce on Sunday

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: The Red River Rivalry always has recruiting implications, and this year’s game is no exception; Texas’ loss could end up being Arkansas’ gain; and one of the nation’s best offensive tackles will take trips to Florida and Florida State.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Da'Shawn Hand changing his visit schedule up is good news for Wolverine fans and bad news for Alabama fans; Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M fans can see big pieces of their 2014 recruiting classes on television Friday night; and one of the top juco recruits in last year’s class is going to redshirt at Kansas.

Looking good for the Wolverines
Five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) was set to visit Florida on Oct. 4 for its game against Arkansas and Alabama on Nov. 8 for its game against LSU with national title implications on the line. However, the SAT is on Oct. 5, causing Hand to alter his schedule. Hand is still ironing out the final details, but it looks like he will visit Alabama on Oct. 25 when its hosts Tennessee, and he'll trip to Florida on Nov. 8 when the Gators host Vanderbilt. He’s already taken a visit to Michigan and will announce his decision on Nov. 14. The Wolverines have been his leader for quite some time with Florida and then Alabama next in line. Some observers have long-worried what a visit to Alabama for what could be the game of the year would do to Hand’s process. But a college coach close to the situation believes the change now gives Michigan a major edge and puts Bama clearly third in the pack. “I would say this puts it at about 80 percent for Michigan,” the coach said. “The biggest question left is whether or not Florida can wow him enough right before his announcement to get him to change his mind.”

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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Several recruits in Los Angeles took to Twitter on Wednesday to criticize Lane Kiffin, sparking a heated debate with Trojan fans; how Florida losing a four-star offensive line commitment is a good thing, and Oklahoma sends out offers to two of the nation’s top juniors.

Big 12 recruiting mailbag

August, 16, 2013
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It’s time to open the mailbag and answer some questions about Big 12 recruiting. We encourage all to send questions each week, either via Twitter to @DamonSayles or @ESPNWilkerson or via email at dsaylesespn@gmail.com or wilkerson.espn@gmail.com.

@hammerheel: Which Big 12 team can improve their recruiting ranking the most with a big season on the field? Which team has biggest upside?

Damon Sayles: I think Texas Tech can really improve its ranking down the road if it can score a few clutch victories. This is Kliff Kingsbury’s first year as head coach, and if he can lead the Red Raiders to a great season, it will result in getting some top-notch commitments for the future -- the same way Texas A&M picked up stud commits after a strong 2012 season.

@LeeRagland: Never asked before, but did Ty Barrett to TCU surprise you? Enjoy your work.

DS: Thanks, Lee, and honestly, Barrett’s decision did not surprise me. I’ve always known Barrett to be a shock-the-world type of player. Several of the players from Dallas Skyline think similarly (remember, Victor Evans surprisingly chose Ole Miss over Texas). Barrett should be a major asset to the Horned Frogs’ offensive line -- and trouble for opposing Big 12 defenders.

@CLadyjags31s: As a parent, I want to know the reason for committing so early. Things change day to day. Why is it such a rush to commit?

DS: Unfortunately, it’s one that doesn’t have a conventional answer. Some commit early because they’ve been set on going to one school for quite some time; perhaps, it’s their favorite school. Others commit early because they jump on the first school to offer. That’s frowned upon by many, because you want a player to have time to weigh all options, but it happens. Then you have some players who commit early for the glamor and glitz of the event. They make a deal out of it either by way of a school ceremony or per an announcement on Twitter. One thing’s for sure: If a player commits, almost every college coach would agree that you should honor that commitment.

garrettjelley@yahoo.com: Other than Steven Parker, what ESPN 300 prospects do you see Oklahoma State ending up with? Also, does Oklahoma State have a shot at Malachi Dupre, Trey Quinn or Cameron Sims?

DS: I’m sure that Oklahoma fans would beg to differ on Parker going to Stillwater and not Norman. Those are the two favorites, but whether or not he ends up a Cowboy is still to be determined. As for Dupre, Quinn and Sims, I think Oklahoma State is in the running for all three. However, it’ll be tough to steer Dupre and Quinn from LSU and Sims from Alabama. The process isn’t over until it’s over, right?

@ElmoSledd: Where do you think Dakota Allen will land?

DS: Allen is supposed to make a decision Friday night, and he is down to Texas Tech and TCU. While he’d look good in TCU purple, I think the relationship he’s built with the Red Raiders coaching staff will be the ultimate decider. Plus, Texas Tech is in dire need of a linebacker for its 2014 class. Allen is one of the best-available inside linebackers around, and whichever school ends up with him gets a steal.

@RL1_Era: Which Big 12 team needs a big recruiting class the most?

DS: A team like Kansas really could use a big class strictly for the confidence boost. The Jayhawks only have seven commitments entering the weekend. Fortunately for Jayhawks fans, three of the seven are four-star players, and two -- OLB Kyron Watson and OL Jacob Bragg -- are ESPN 300 players. A strong 2014 class will help change the image of Kansas football. Charlie Weis and Co. understand that with recruiting in Lawrence, it’s all about taking small steps.

tuxjackson@ymail.com: When does Jamardre Cobb plan to make his decision, and if you were to guess today, who would you say has the upper hand out of his top 3?

DS: Right now, Cobb is focused on winning a state championship for Los Angeles Salesian. Recruiting isn’t necessarily taking a back seat, but it’s far from the forefront. The ESPN 300 linebacker has an official visit scheduled for Oklahoma in early October, and the Sooners have had success landing players from the west coast. Arizona and Arizona State also are teams to watch in the Cobb sweepstakes.

The 2015 quarterback class in California is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory, and Tyler Hilinski (Upland, Calif./Upland) is well on his way to putting himself in the middle of that conversation.

The 6-foot-3 quarterback led his team to the finals of the Gamebreaker Classis this past weekend, as he put together a terrific performance on the second day. In a tournament filled with 2015 talent, Hilinski stood out as one of the most productive underclassmen in attendance.


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DUNCANVILLE, Texas -- Speed might best define ESPN Watch List wide receiver K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant). His hands might be a close second. His outstanding 4.37-second 40-yard dash time and his 104 catches for 1,597 yards and 25 touchdowns support that.

What Cannon has been recently working on is how to overcome size mismatches against larger defenders in the secondary. At 6-foot-0 and 170 pounds, he knows that at the next level he will go up against cornerbacks and safeties who are 15 or 20 pounds heavier -- and just as quick.


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videoIt's possible that few players helped their stock more than Tyler Whiley (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) during this past weekend's NLA 7-on-7 tournament in Las Vegas.


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ESPN Watch List running back Nathan Starks (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman) is starting to narrow things down. But he’d also like to hear from one program in particular before he gets too deep into the recruiting process.

Which program is that? Where does Texas stand with him? And is the Longhorns’ biggest rival his favorite right now?


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Four-star OT Cochran delaying decision 

January, 1, 2013
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The plan was for four-star offensive tackle Aaron Cochran (Atwater, Calif./Buhach) to make his decision at the Semper Fidelis All-American game.

But with the game looming later this week, Cochran is in no position to make that call. Instead of trying to force a decision, Cochran is opting to delay the decision.


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Cochran already planning second OU visit 

November, 13, 2012
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The bad news for Oklahoma fans is four-star offensive tackle Aaron Cochran (Atwater, Calif./Buhach) never considered committing to the Sooners during his official visit.

The good news for OU fans is Cochran and his father had such a good time that he wants to come back to Norman, Okla., for an unofficial visit with his mother.

[+] EnlargeAaron Cochran
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comFour-star offensive tackle Aaron Cochran is planning a couple official visits to PAC-12 schools before making a commitment.
Cochran, who is 6-foot-8 and 350 pounds, is ranked No. 22 at offensive tackle and was one of two tackles on an official visit to OU.

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Watch List WR Denson taking his time 

October, 18, 2012
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The state of Arizona is loaded with top-tier talent in the 2014 recruiting class. One of those players, wide receiver Cameron Denson (Tucson, Ariz./Salpointe Catholic) already holds eight scholarship offers from some big-time programs, including Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington.

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound athlete has done a big of everything for the Lancers this season. He has completed 29 of 36 passes for 408 yards and three touchdowns, rushed 56 times for 944 yards and 18 touchdowns, and caught 14 passes for 215 yards and another score. He's also added a kickoff and punt return for touchdowns.

And while he's one of the more highly-recruited juniors in the region, Denson hasn't done much with the recruiting process at this point. He did however, take an unofficial visit to UCLA this past weekend.

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Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops wasn’t shy about praising his former school, which knocked off Oklahoma State late Saturday night. Stoops was fired from Arizona midway through last season after eight years there.

“I was certainly happy for Arizona, happy for Coach (Rich) Rodriguez and all the players at Arizona there,” Stoops said. “They must have played an awfully great game. That’s a tough place to play there at night.”

Stoops singled out quarterback Matt Scott, whom Stoops signed out of high school. Scott finally won a starting job this fall after backing up Nick Foles for four years.

“We all knew Matt Scott was a great player,” Stoops said. “It’s not a shock. I saw what Matt Scott did for four years there. He got beat out by an NFL quarterback in Nick Foles and Matt is a tremendous talent.

“So I’m really happy and proud of what those guys did against a really good Oklahoma State team. It’s more personal for me because I coached at Arizona. I’m really proud of those guys. I had a feeling that game would be tougher than people thought.”
Junior college tight end Beau Sandland (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College) is making the most of his first foray into the recruiting process. A non-qualifier out of high school, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound athlete turned in an impressive showing on the recruiting trail this offseason. Beginning in February, Sandland said it felt as though he collected an offer -- and sometimes two -- each day, through the end of spring. Though things have slowed considerably since then with the end of the spring evaluation period and fall camps starting, Monday proved that it isn’t over completely, as Tennessee stepped forward with a scholarship offer.

“It’s been fun,” Sandland said of recruiting. “This is the first time I’ve ever gone through it, so I didn’t fully know what to expect. You hear stories and see the sophomores from last year, but it’s been a really exciting and fun time. It can get a little hectic, but in a good way. It’s been really humbling talking to these schools and having offers from some of the top programs in the nation.”

Several SEC heavyweights extended offers to Sandland, including Florida, Georgia, LSU and Mississippi, though he took opportunities this summer to get a better feel for programs in other conferences. Pac-12 programs Arizona State, California and UCLA received unofficial visits, while Nebraska was the recipient of an official visit. This weekend, Sandland will travel for Oklahoma for his second official visit.

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OT Kenny Lacy sets official visits 

July, 12, 2012
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While many of the nation's recruits are making verbal commitments this summer, three-star offensive tackle Kenny Lacy (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe) is content to take his time.

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound lineman is down to a final seven schools, but will likely wait until after he takes all five of his official visits to make a commitment.

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