National signing day is in the books, but that doesn’t mean Oklahoma is done with its 2012 class. But it does mean we’re allowed to start looking ahead to 2013 and 2014. Bob Przybylo answers all your recruiting questions. Have a question? Send it to his mailbag at email@example.com
Ron in Tulsa, Okla., asks: I saw sophomore running back Devon Thomas was at junior day this weekend. What do you make of that?
Bob Przybylo: I saw that as a case of OU recognizing some home-grown talent and taking the early steps to make sure he doesn’t get away.
Not sure it would be accurate, but it wouldn’t be crazy to suggest that Devon Thomas (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow) will be the state’s best running back in 2013 as just a junior. At 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, he has the size of an elite runner. And if you’ve seen him in the open field, then you know he has the speed of a top back.
I believe OU will try to stay at home for 2014 at quarterback and running back as I could see Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) as the Sooners' likely quarterback option. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hansen was invited to junior day on March 3.
Will in Edmond, Okla., asks: I don’t want to assume, but Bob Stoops saying they might not be done has to be alluding to Davonte Neal, right?
Bob Przybylo: Yes, assume away on this one as I don’t see who else he could possibly be talking about than Davonte Neal (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral).
A couple of positive notes for Oklahoma came last week in which the Neal family denied Arizona was its final official visit here coming up. It doesn’t mean OU will be the final visit when it’s all said and done, but it’s a start.
Another good sign was Ohio State essentially dropping out of the Neal race. And all these visits Neal has taken (OSU, Notre Dame, Arkansas, North Carolina), the fact he doesn’t seem enamored by any of them is also good for the Sooners.
OU is holding a scholarship for the eighth-ranked player in the nation and already has sent him a letter of intent, like a few other schools. Now he just has to sign one of them.
Jason in Oklahoma City asks: Why do you think the Sooners were able to close as strong as they did with the 2012 class?
Bob Przybylo: Besides the fact that it seemed a lot of the seven commits OU picked up last week wanted to be Sooners, I attribute a lot of the success to the “Cali trio” of Brennan Clay, Kenny Stills and Tony Jefferson.
Those three bring a different dynamic to the campus that hasn’t been seen before. They host most of the recruits, and the hosted recruits normally bring up some story regarding one of the trio as a highlight of the trip.
That goes along with the atmosphere as it feels like the tone on campus is a lot different than what it was in December. The in-house cleaning has been done, the coaching situation is now stable and everybody appears to be on the right page again.
With all that said, that final weekend of going four-for-four will be remembered for a while with defensive end Michael Onuoha (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe), offensive tackle Will Latu (St. Petersburg, Fla./College of the Canyons), defensive back Zack Sanchez (Keller, Texas/Central) and wide receiver Courtney Gardner (Reno, Nev./Sierra College).
Charles in Shawnee, Okla., asks: Was there any recruit that OU had a realistic shot at but just messed it up for this class?
Bob Przybylo: I don’t think top-ranked wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (Springfield, Mo./Hillcrest) fits in this category. OU did what it needed to, what it wanted to do, but it didn’t work out.
However, I have a hard time believing the Sooners couldn’t have gotten the commitment of four-star linebacker Brian Nance (Euless, Texas/Trinity) with more effort.
Nance always had OU high on his list because it was the first team to offer him. He even tried to commit in September, but the coaches didn’t answer the phone.
But after two months of not reaching out to Nance, when OU finally did again, he had moved on. Nance signed with Baylor on Wednesday. He would have been a great addition to OU’s defensive class.