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Five from Friday: Evitt, Cornwell impress

10/22/2012

Every week through football season, SoonerNation writer Bob Przybylo will reveal five things he learned while out on the road watching the best in the Midlands area play football.

1. With all the talk of Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe quarterback Justice Hansen being the top in-state quarterback for 2014, he might have some pretty stiff competition from David Cornwell (Jones, Okla./Jones). Cornwell was 13-of-24 for 185 yards with a touchdown and a rushing touchdown in a 23-7 victory at Tuttle (Okla.) More than the numbers, however, was how in control Cornwell was of the offense against one of the best defenses in the state. Cornwell camped at OU in the summer but said he has had limited contact with Josh Heupel since that occasion. He has not been bashful about making the rounds, having already visited Oklahoma State and Michigan with a planned visit to Alabama in the works.

2. Another position where the top-ranked recruit might be a bigger battle than previously thought is at running back. It looked like it was a runaway victory for 2014 running back Devon Thomas (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow), but Lawrence Evitt (Wagoner, Okla./Wagoner) is making his charge. Evitt has rushed for nearly 2,000 yards in eight games and came up huge Thursday night with 336 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns in a 40-24 victory against Cleveland (Okla.). Evitt, an admitted OSU fan, will get his first taste of OU this weekend as Wagoner coach Dale Condict is going to take him for the Notre Dame game.

3. Also at Wagoner is linebacker T.J. Ponds, who has visited OU almost more than any other recruit in the 2013 class. But talks have stalled between Ponds and linebackers coach Tim Kish. Ponds is still hopeful an offer is in the works, but he has definitely fallen into backup plan status at this point. He is receiving interest from Iowa State and Missouri but is also still looking for his first Division I offer. Ponds might be a shade too slow and a shade too small to see his dream of playing for the Sooners come true.

4. Wagoner seemed like a safe bet to compete for another Class 4A state championship. But an injury in the final minute of the game has definitely made things more difficult. Kerwin Thomas, recruited as an athlete, already had scored four touchdowns against Cleveland, when he was sandwiched with T.J. Ponds on a tackle. Both players were down for a considerable amount of time. Ponds said he is fine, but Thomas is now out for the season. So it’s possible if you want to see Lawrence Evitt in the playoffs, you might have to do it sooner than later.

5. Just because Wagoner graduate Kevin Peterson ended up going to the Cowboys doesn’t mean OU soured on going back to Wagoner. If the Sooners are impressed with Evitt, it will be another uphill battle, just as it was with Peterson and OSU. But give credit to OU running backs coach Cale Gundy for once again beating OSU to the punch. No in-state school had given Evitt a look or inquired about him until Gundy called Wagoner coach Dale Condict last week. With Evitt seeing his first OU game, and it being a showcase game like Notre Dame, it's a big opportunity for the Sooners to show Evitt what OU is all about. Peterson originally committed to OU before switching and signing with OSU for the 2012 class.