- Bob Przybylo, Reporter, RecruitingNation
It didn’t take long for Mike Stoops to return to Oklahoma and target the top defensive backs for the 2013 class. Stoops was aggressive in going after them in the spring and summer and it has paid off now in the fall. The Sooners have three commits in the secondary and have made the final cut for several more.
Coincidentally, a lot of those defensive back targets will be at OU this weekend for the No. 8 Sooners’ contest against fifth-ranked Notre Dame.
Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Calif./Central East, 6-1, 192, No. 14 S): Byrd is making his first visit to OU this weekend. Committed to the Sooners since July 31, he has remained a strong OU commit in interviews and on Twitter. He is incredibly pumped for this weekend.
Stanvon Taylor (Tulsa, Okla./East Central, 5-11, 170, No. 25 ATH): The only question with Taylor is what position will he end up at with OU. Recruited as a cornerback, Taylor has been a star this season at wide receiver. A change in position would also open up another spot in the secondary.
Ahmad Thomas (Miami/Central, 6-0, 195, No. 56 S): Like Byrd, Thomas has not seen the OU campus yet. He was offered in May and took less than two weeks to commit to the Sooners. Thomas is making his official visit to OU on Nov. 23 for Bedlam weekend.
FAVORITES TO COMMIT TO OU
Tyler Foreman (Enicno, Calif./Crespi Carmelite, 6-2, 161, No. 32 S): The Sooners made a strong impression on Foreman during his official visit to OU last month. Mike Stoops also was among the first coaches to take notice in Foreman’s ability. Foreman could still stay in state with California and UCLA very much alive in the process, but the Sooners have done all they can to try to earn his commitment.
Cole Luke (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton, 6-0, 165, No. 33 CB): Arguably the most important official visitor and recruit for the weekend. Not necessarily the biggest and not the highest ranked, but Luke is a priority for the Sooners. He has already taken official visits to Notre Dame and Texas and has said he is choosing among the Sooners, Fighting Irish and Longhorns.
Lamar Robbins (Miami/Southridge, 6-2, 175, No. 69 CB): Robbins is another cornerback making an official visit to OU this weekend. He has been on two official visits and watched Purdue and West Virginia both lose those games. He has been high on OU for a long time but has admitted he needed to see the campus first before he could ever decide anything. Robbins has been attending the visits alone and could be swayed if OU is impressive this weekend.
IN THE MIX
Adrian Baker (Hollywood, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna, 6-1, 165, No. 18 ATH): Baker made his official visit to OU for this weekend a long time ago. He committed to Florida State after scheduling the visit and said he still wants to see the OU campus. He has weekly talks with Mike Stoops and is being recruited as a cornerback. Clemson also remains in the mix, but Baker is committed to the Seminoles at this point.
L.J. Moore (Fresno, Calif./Central East, 6-0, 164, No. 27 CB): Things have gotten a little muddled between OU and Moore. Expected to take an official visit this weekend, he said he is not sure if he will join Hatari Byrd. Moore has seen the Sooners play once this season, taking an official visit to Texas Tech when OU thrashed the Red Raiders earlier this month. It’s starting to look like OU and Moore might be going their separate ways.
Dakota Austin (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster, 5-10, 149, NR): Austin was a star at OU’s camp in June, but there are still concerns regarding his size. OU has kept in contact with Austin, but he might be a backup plan at this point. He doesn’t have an offer from the Sooners.
Maurice Chandler (Lawton, Okla./Lawton, 6-0, 185, No. 48 CB): Chandler also doesn’t have an OU offer although it might be more because of an academic concern than his on-field performance. Chandler started talking with Mike Stoops heavily in the spring but committed to Texas Tech in July. There is no question about his size or his speed, but he is very comfortable with Texas Tech. Even if he does start to favor OU, it might be a while before the Sooners seriously look in his direction.
Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips, 6-1, 209, No. 7 S): The good news is OU made the best impression it could on Harris during his official visit to OU last month. The bad news is OU lost the game to Kansas State, and it looks like the Sooners are on the outside looking in. Harris has taken official visits to Texas, Florida and Florida State. Those schools might be the favorites to land the ESPN 150 safety.
Johnny Johnson Jr. (Fresno, Calif./Central East, 5-10, 180, No. 19 CB): OU was among Johnson’s first offers, but for some reason the Sooners and Johnson have not really been on the same page. Johnson said earlier he believes OU-Texas is the best college football rivalry, but he is another Cali kid that feels like he will stay close to home. Johnson, like Moore, was supposed to visit OU this weekend. But that is still to be determined. Pac-12 schools have made a solid impression on Johnson.
Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos De Niza, 6-2, 199, No. 4 S): With Willis being so quiet about his recruitment, it’s tough to accurately gauge where the Sooners stand with him. There have been no positive or negative signs regarding OU and Willis. OU already has two safeties in Thomas and Byrd and Foreman is definitely a more probable commit than Willis. However, if Willis were to get back in the mix, OU would be foolish to ignore him.
It didn’t take long for Mike Stoops to return to Oklahoma and target the top defensive backs for the 2013 class. Stoops was aggressive in going after them in the spring and summer and it has paid off now in the fall.