Oklahoma Sooners: Northwestern Wildcats

Top position classes: RBs 

February, 11, 2014

With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and SEC)
Tennessee went into the 2014 class with a gigantic future need at running back, and coach Butch Jones and staff delivered for Volunteers fans in a big way. The Vols' running back haul includes not only ESPN 300 backs Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech) and Derrell Scott (Havelock, N.C./Havelock) but also four-star Treyvon Paulk (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton). With different body types, styles and strengths, Tennessee added talent and depth for years to come as well as many different skill sets within the position. Hurd is tall, lean and chock-full of speed, athleticism and versatility, and Scott is a slasher with excellent ball skills out of the backfield. Paulk is a compact, downhill back with leg drive and power.

The Volunteers had the nation's best RB class; here's which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:

Cornell, No. 1 in 2015 class, narrows list 

November, 20, 2013
Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin Derham-Hall), the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2015, has narrowed his top list. After much deliberation, Cornell has cut the list of schools in the running down to 15.

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LEANDER, Texas — After a late-June and early-July trip to the West Coast that included elite camp appearances and unofficial visits, Houston Lamar four-star safety John Bonney was back with his teammates recently for the Texas 7-on-7 state championships.

The Redskins performed well, going 3-0 in pool play in day one of Division I action, then making a run in bracket play to the quarterfinals before bowing out to eventual Division I tournament champion, Southlake (Texas) Carroll.

Bonney, a 6-foot, 182-pound prospect who has 32 offers, was glad to be back with his team. Now his focus is shifting to the start of fall practice in August and a potential decision on his college future.

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Lessons learned: Texas State 7-on-7 

July, 13, 2013
LEANDER, Texas -- The 2013 Texas State 7-on-7 Tournament saw a number of college football targets put on a show. It also saw some of the lesser-known players make a case for more publicity.

Graham (Texas) High School won the Division II (small-school) competition, while Southlake (Texas) Carroll claimed the Division I (large-school) prize. Carroll won the first 7-on-7 state tile 15 years ago in College Station, Texas.

Here are five things we learned from the state tournament:

2015 has one over former Carroll QBs

[+] EnlargeRyan Agnew
Damon Sayles/ESPN.comClass of 2015 QB Ryan Agnew showed poise in leading Southlake Carroll's aggressive passing attack to the Division I title.
Southlake Carroll has a tradition of producing quality quarterbacks. Chase Daniel, Greg McElroy and Kyle Padron all have NFL experience, and Daniel, McElroy, Chase Wasson, Riley Dodge and incoming Texas A&M freshman Kenny Hill have won state championships. Ryan Agnew hopes to follow those footsteps.

The 2015 quarterback did something that the others hadn’t, and that’s lead Carroll to the state 7-on-7 title. Agnew connected with receivers such as Luke Timian and Keaton Duhon en route to an undefeated run in the tournament.

Agnew, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound quarterback, has early looks from Northwestern, Iowa State, Texas Tech and Ole Miss.

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Sooners 17th in Way-Too-Early Top 25

January, 8, 2013
Alabama CheerleadersStreeter Lecka/Getty ImagesAlabama, with three of the past four national titles, is No. 1 in the Way-Too-Early Top 25 for 2013.

There are still seven months before the start of the 2013 season, and the teams and their order figure to change frequently, but it's never too early to take a look at the Way-Too-Early Top 25 for 2013.

And with three national championships in the past four years, there's no reason to change the team that's on top. Oklahoma will try to make it back to the top from the No. 17 spot.

Also see:

Q&A: 2014 OLB Otaro Alaka 

January, 2, 2013
Other 2014 linebackers might get more hype in the state of Texas, but Otaro Alaka doesn’t need it. He’s already got the offers to back up his talents.

The 6-foot-3, 196-pound outside linebacker from Houston Cypress Falls has already picked up eight verbal offers and is excited to see how his recruitment plays out this spring.

[+] EnlargeOtaro Alaka
Max Olson/ESPN.comClass of 2014 LB Otaro Alaka says Northwestern, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are his top three schools right now.
Alaka has been in contact with Manny Diaz and Texas, but several other schools are in the lead at this point. Here’s the latest on his recruiting process.

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UCLA offer a game-changer for Benenoch 

September, 3, 2012
Caleb Benenoch (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes) received an unexpected surprise on Monday, one that might throw off his original decision plans.

The four-star offensive lineman picked up an offer from UCLA. He has more than 20 offers already, but this one is a big one for Benenoch.

“I’m excited,” he said. “[UCLA is the] No. 25 ranked academic school nationally, and we talked about me starting as a true freshman.”

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Since reopening his recruitment last month, four-star offensive guard Caleb Benenoch (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes) has been enjoying the process on all angles. Part of his fun has been hearing from the already-committed players on a regular basis.

“I hear from Jake Raulerson a lot,” Benenoch said of the Celina, Texas, offensive lineman who has committed to Texas. “We’re pretty good friends and very good competitors. It’d be fun to be teammates with him. I’m probably going to let him know which school I’ll commit to before I announce it.

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Plans and defensive tackle Hardreck Walker (Houston/Westfield) simply do not go together. But he’s going to give it one more attempt.

Walker, who is a three-star recruit, originally planned to verbally commit to Texas A&M in April.

But he waited. Other schools entered the race. And not just any random schools. Michigan offered. Texas, his childhood favorite, started pursuing him. Oklahoma, a program on Walker’s radar since the winter, finally offered, even if it was a little later than what Walker was hoping for.

[+] EnlargeHardreck Walker
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comDefensive tackle Hardreck Walker will choose between six schools on July 1.
So scratch that April commitment. With the bevy of schools showing interest, Walker said two weeks ago he wanted to take his official visits before making his decision. Digging deeper, that plan stemmed from Walker wanting to be able to see schools such as Missouri and Northwestern because they’re not within driving distance.

But cross that plan out, too. Walker confirmed Tuesday night he is going to make his decision on July 1 and said Wednesday night he is down to six schools: Arkansas, Missouri, Northwestern, OU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

“With the season coming up, I just want to get it all done so I can concentrate on my senior season,” Walker said.

Speeding up the process, though, might mean his commitment on Sunday isn’t his final one. Walker doesn’t want to think about the process during the season. After the season, however, that’s another story.

“After the season, if I feel like I need to make an official visit somewhere, then I’m going to,” Walker said.

With his decision on the horizon, Walker gave RecruitingNation some insight as to what he likes about each of his six finalists:

On Arkansas: “The way they’ve competed in the SEC. They’re doing really well on a consistent basis and playing in the SEC would be a great opportunity.”

On Missouri: “It’s all about the coaching staff. They haven’t had coaching changes so I know that if I went there, I would be working with the same guys I’ve been talking with.”

On Northwestern: “Education. The education up there is top of the line when it comes to engineering.”

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Two months ago defensive tackle Hardreck Walker (Houston/Westfield) was close to committing to Texas A&M. But when he saw how many college coaches were visiting spring practices at his high school, Walker talked with his mother and decided he wanted to wait.

Then Michigan offered. And then he impressed at Texas’ camp last weekend.

And on Monday night, a new wrinkle was added as Oklahoma has officially joined the Walker sweepstakes.

[+] EnlargeHardreck Walker
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comDefensive tackle Hardreck Walker said he was 'so happy' to receive an offer from the Sooners.
This offer, though, is a little bit different.

“This changes a lot of things,” Walker said. “When I think about the last two months, I actually cannot believe it right now.”

Walker, who is 6-foot-2 and 281 pounds and is ranked No. 40 at defensive tackle, has been a favorite of OU defensive tackles coach Jackie Shipp for a long time. Shipp told Walker he wanted to offer him after Walker’s visit to OU’s junior day in February.

It wasn’t that defensive coordinator Mike Stoops butted heads with Shipp about the offer, but Stoops never got a chance to see Walker perform.

That changed last Tuesday at OU’s satellite camp in Houston. Walker was one of three defensive tackles in attendance, which gave him ample time with Shipp and Stoops.

“That camp was pretty good. I got a lot of one-on-one time, and I got to see him and how he works,” Walker said. “Both of them are really good coaches.

“Coach Shipp said that Coach Stoops really liked how I worked last week and how I moved and that they wanted to offer me.”

Walker had OU in his early favorites in March but that was back when he didn’t have the amount of offers he has now. As much as he wanted to keep the Sooners near the top of his list, it became increasingly difficult without an official offer.

Those fears are gone now.

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