Oklahoma Sooners: Stanford Cardinal

Top position classes: TEs 

February, 13, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and Big 12)
Oklahoma addressed many needs with its top-15 recruiting class, and that certainly includes the tight end position. Coach Bob Stoops and his staff signed a trio of tight ends, including ESPN 300s No. 277 Carson Meier (Tulsa, Okla./Union) and No. 295 Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain), as well as three-star junior college prospect Isaac Ijalana (Mount Holly, N.J./Pierce College). All three players have terrific size of at least 6-foot-5, and Meier and Andrews possess the frame to add mass and strength. Meier has good initial burst and above-average ball skills, while Andrews has excellent hand-eye coordination and the ability to beat linebackers and safeties with regularity.

The Sooners had the nation’s best tight end class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:

1. The NFL and NFLPA standing firm on not taking players until they are three years out of high school has been good for college football. But the record 95 players who declared themselves eligible for this year's NFL draft should give anyone pause. That’s 22 more than the record set last year. Not all of them are ready, and their departure will diminish college football. The bottom line is that adults have the right to make a bad decision. But look for coaches and the NFL to redouble their efforts to provide the info to keep early-entry candidates from coming out before they should.

2. In its season wrapup, Oklahoma displayed a long list of improvements the Sooners made from 2012 to 2013. The ones that struck me: Oklahoma rushed for 62.5 more yards per game and gave up 55.4 fewer rushing yards per game than it had the previous season. That total of nearly 118 yards per game speaks directly to the Sooners’ play at the line of scrimmage, where Bob Stoops hired a new O-line coach (Bill Bedenbaugh) and D-line coach (Jerry Montgomery) a year ago. The results are plain to see.

3. Fred Hargadon, the admissions director at Stanford from 1969-84, died Wednesday. Hargadon had a wonderful sense of humor. In 2006, he told the story of fending off former Stanford coach John Ralston. “I said, ‘I’m really sorry, John. There’s no way we can take this guy,’” Hargadon said. “He said, ‘Well, OK. We’re going to see him in our backfield one way or another next year. Either playing for us or running through us.’ And sure enough, he went to ... Southern California, and came up here and ran for 200-something yards.”

Cornell, No. 1 in 2015 class, narrows list 

November, 20, 2013
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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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3-point stance: BCS shakeout begins

November, 8, 2013
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1. For two months, Baylor's point-a-minute-plus offense begged the question of quality of opponent. November arrived, and the Bears answered that question with authority. The 41-12 defeat of No. 10 Oklahoma should allow Baylor to slip into Oregon's chair in the BCS debate. The Sooners, meanwhile, have a question to answer. Where are they going to find a quarterback?

2. In preparing for Oregon, Stanford head coach David Shaw watched the Cardinal's last five games against them. The lack of turnover in their coaching staff makes it worth his time, Shaw said. "Just looking at things that they changed, things that we changed, things that maybe worked before, or things that didn't work before that we don't need to try again," Shaw said. Anyone else that Shaw delves that deep into history? "For nobody except these guys."

3. The convincing nature of No. 6 Baylor's victory, and that undefeated record, makes it conceivable the Bears will leapfrog the No. 5 Cardinal in the BCS ratings Sunday. Stanford solidified its position as the top one-loss team. And, of course No. 2 Florida State and No. 4 Ohio State will benefit from the Ducks' loss. The BCS race is only starting to get interesting. All the handwringing about a surplus of undefeated teams is a waste of energy. There are five Saturdays left.

Video: Flash vs. Tradition

November, 7, 2013
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Tom Luginbill and Gerry Hamilton discuss the changing landscape of recruiting over the last 25 years and they debate whether flashy style or tradition carries greater weight with prospects today.

Thursday Title Talk Live

November, 7, 2013
11/07/13
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Oregon-Stanford. Oklahoma-Baylor. Four top-10 teams. Conference and BCS implications galore.

It’s almost certainly the biggest non-Thanksgiving Thursday in college football regular-season history and we know many of you will be working the remote and following social media during this titanic night. Keep Thursday Title Talk Live open throughout the evening – starting at 7:30 p.m. ET -- and we’ll bring you real-time reaction and analysis from ESPN’s stable of reporters, analysts and experts.

ESPN 300 DE talks Stanford unofficial 

October, 6, 2013
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A bye week allowed ESPN 300 defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) to take a road trip to the West Coast.


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ESPN.com's preseason power rankings

August, 9, 2013
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College Football Power Rankings illustrationESPN IllustrationTBD BY EDITORIAL


Not surprisingly, the back-to-back BCS champions are again preseason favorites and top ESPN's power rankings. But a number of elite programs are ready for their chance to dethrone the king.

Top 15 breakdown
No. 1 Alabama
No. 2 Ohio State
No. 3 Oregon
No. 4 Stanford
No. 5 Texas A&M
No. 6 (tie) Georgia
No. (tie) South Carolina
No. 8 Louisville
No. 9 Clemson
No. 10 Florida
No. 11 Florida State
No. 12 LSU
No. 13 Notre Dame
No. 14 (tie) Michigan
No. 14 (tie) Texas

#AskLoogs: Crafting the perfect QB

August, 8, 2013
8/08/13
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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.



Sure, we’ll give this a try with QB’s in the current 2014 class with the categories below…

Arm strength: Georgia commit Jacob Park (Stratford/Goose Creek, S.C.). This was close, could have put Alabama commit David Cornwell (Norman North/Norman, Okla.) here as well. The ball jumps out of Park's arm with velocity, power and RPMs to drive the ball vertically and into tight spots.

Accuracy: Stanford commit Keller Chryst (Palo Alto/Palo Alto, Calif.). Chryst shows terrific ball placement and timing with the ability to change ball speeds and drop the ball in over coverage to small windows. His ability to anticipate allows him to throw to a spot before the receiver breaks.

Delivery: Purdue commit David Blough. Is is an uncoachable trait, in my opinion, and one that is highly coveted. Blough pops the ball out of his hand with a lightning quick stroke. It is tight, compact and smooth.

Running ability: Florida commit Will Grier. He is a true dual-threat only when needed. If asked to be an integral part of the running game, Grier can really hurt you with his legs and is not a guy you want to let out of the pocket.

Mental toughness: Chryst. This is where his aptitude and upbringing (his uncle is Pitt coach Paul Chryst) come into play. Chryst is mature and capable of handling the ups and downs of the position having grown up around the game in ways few prospects have.

Competitiveness: LSU commit Brandon Harris. This was close; Texas A&M pledge Kyle Allen also fits the bill. Harris wants to be great and is willing to do what it takes to make it happen. He had received limited exposure and offers in the spring, but proved himself on the camp and combine circuit.

Poise: Clemson commit Deshaun Watson. Calm, cool and collected. Watson has a quiet swagger and calming pocket presence that exudes confidence and control. He weathers the peaks and valleys of the game with an even keel.

Instincts: Oklahoma commit Justice Hansen. Hansen and Grier could swap categories here. Hansen is just one of those guys that knows when to pull the trigger and is at his best when improvising and on the move. He has a sixth sense about where pressure is coming from, can evade defenders and keep plays alive instinctively.
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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Oklahoma fans can relax a little bit. There is no doubt linebacker recruiting has been a sore spot for the Sooners, but OU is on the board for the Class of 2014.

Three-star outside linebacker Tay Evans (Allen, Texas/Allen) confirmed he has committed to OU while on an unofficial visit to campus Tuesday.

Evans picked the Sooners over offers from Stanford, Boise State and Kansas State, among others.

Evans, who is 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, visited OU in March for junior day and was hoping to get the offer at that time. It didn’t happen.

OU linebackers coach Tim Kish visited Allen High during the spring evaluation period, and everybody thought the offer would happen. It didn’t.

Evans admitted afterward that he wasn’t sure the offer was ever going to come. Instead of dwelling on it, Evans said he was going to move on and focus only on what he could control.

But following OU’s camps, more offers were doled out. Evans was among the first to be notified of some good news. Evans said before the offer, he was contemplating a commitment to Stanford. The OU offer, however, was a game-changer.

He had thoughts about committing on the spot but said he wanted to visit the campus one more time and then make the call. Tuesday was that occasion.

Evans is the son of former OU basketball player Bobby Joe Evans, and Tay Evans has not been shy to say how much he loves the Sooners.

Once the Sooners reciprocated the love, it was only a matter of time. OU had some concerns about his health as Evans had shoulder surgery following the season. The OU coaches eventually agreed they were satisfied with Evans’ progress and made sure to let him know how big of a priority he is.

Evans is OU’s 11th commit for the class and the first linebacker. He is the No. 38 outside linebacker in the nation.

Solomon Thomas recaps recent visits 

July, 2, 2013
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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- ESPN 300 defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) has a top eight consisting of Texas, Oklahoma, Stanford, Notre Dame, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio State and UCLA.

The 6-foot-3, 256-pound defensive end recently visited three of his favorites and said he came away impressed with each school.


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Lessons Learned: Camp of Conquerors 

June, 15, 2013
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HornDamon Sayles/ESPNMesquite Horn won the Camp of Conquerors 7-on-7 Tournament.

CEDAR HILL, Texas -- The second annual Mike Adams Camp of Conquerors 7-on-7 tournament featured 13 of the top 7-on-7 teams in the Dallas area on Saturday. The tournament, put on by the NFL defensive back, gives the opportunity to win $5,000 for the winning 7-on-7 program.

Early Saturday evening, Mesquite (Texas) Horn defeated Cedar Hill to walk away with the championship.

Here is what we learned after the event:

Horn WR the talk of the tournament

Horn all spring has shown that it’s more than quarterback Destri White, Rice cornerback commit Jorian Clark and a talented group of linemen that features Baylor commit Andrew Morris and 2015 standout offensive tackle Conner Dyer. On Saturday, Del’Michael High reminded everyone of just how good he is.

High, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound wide receiver, was borderline unstoppable throughout the tournament, and he was a big reason why Horn went undefeated. In the championship game against Cedar Hill, High was able to score wins in several one-on-one battles, some featuring talented Oklahoma cornerback commit Marcus Green.

High hasn’t been on the recruiting radar, but he showed tools of being one of the top receivers in the state on Saturday. He admittedly said that part of his lack of recruiting exposure might be because of academics, but he added that he’s been focused more than ever to make sure his work off the field is as solid as his work on it.

Bishop Dunne DB targets going both ways


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DALLAS -- Forget the riddles of the Sphinx. Try cracking the riddles of the Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne).

When it comes to deciphering where the ESPN 150 cornerback plays college football, one old adage comes to mind. As nice and media-friendly as Watkins is, he is the riddle wrapped up in an enigma when it comes to recruiting.

And Watkins’ ability to keep most in the dark about his process is not an accident.

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FRISCO, Texas -- Soso Jamabo (Plano, Texas/Plano West) would have liked to be a part of this weekend’s Nike EYBL series playing with the Texas Titans. With a sling on his right shoulder, however, the 2015 two-sport star was reduced to watching the Titans on the bench, offering instruction to teammates and being the team’s biggest supporter.

For the rest of the spring and most of the summer, Jamabo’s focus will be on rehabbing after undergoing shoulder surgery on April 30. Jamabo broke some bones and damaged some ligaments in his shoulder during a Texas Class 5A Division-I state quarterfinal playoff. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound athlete is expected to miss 6-10 weeks but is projected to return a couple of weeks before Plano West’s first scrimmage in August.

“It’s early in the process, but it’s going well,” Jamabo said of the rehab process. “I’m just trying to get the shoulder back to usual, if not better. Right now, I’m just doing basic stuff and keep everything as minimal as possible.”

Exactly what kind of football player will Plano West look to see back on the field? Jamabo’s first rush as a varsity player was against Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus on Aug. 31. It went for 12 yards. His second rush: A 75-yard touchdown run.

Since then, Soso has been ... well ... anything but.

Only the shoulder injury managed to slow the electrifying 2015 running back down. He rushed for a team-leading 1,697 yards and 24 touchdowns and also caught 20 passes for 453 yards -- an average of almost 23 yards per catch -- and four touchdowns. On the basketball court, Jamabo averaged 13.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 11 games.


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