Sooner Intel: Recruiting news and notes 

April, 19, 2012
Every Thursday, SoonerNation releases the Sooner Intel, a sneak peek inside Oklahoma Sooners football recruiting with news and notes on the latest happenings around the program. Talk about it on our forum. A few things discussed in this week's update:

• Could Oklahoma be close to offering an in-state cornerback?
• A Sooners linebacker offer is eyeing a summer visit.
• The father of an OU commit has been sold on the idea of his son as a Sooner.
• An in-state defensive tackle is listening to the advice of an OU assistant coach.
• Several 2014 prospects attended the Red-White spring game, and all were impressed.

Read the Sooner Intel after the jump.

Ward solid with Sooners

Bob Przybylo/
D.J. Ward is the state's top-ranked prospect for the class of 2013.

Defensive end D.J. Ward (Lawton, Okla./Lawton) hasn't had a hectic week since his commitment to Oklahoma on Saturday. A fun one, for sure, but not exactly stressful.

For Lawton coach Randy Breeze, however, it has been a different story. When Breeze found out Ward committed to OU last weekend, he knew this week would be busy.

“I’ve had coaches calling like crazy every day this week wondering what’s the story with D.J. and his commitment,” Breeze said. “How much is he committed to OU?

"I’ve told them all the same thing. Knowing D.J. and knowing his family and his love of OU, he is about as solid a commitment as you’re ever going to find.”

That hasn’t stopped coaches from saying they still intend to make the trip to Lawton to see Ward during this spring evaluation period.

“I know they have to do what they have to do and follow up on things, but there isn’t a doubt in my mind D.J. is signing with OU," he said.

Ward, who is ranked No. 93 in the ESPN 150 and is the No. 8 defensive end, said minutes after his commitment that he was done taking any more potential visits and is firmly committed to the Sooners. He had talked about a potential visit to Ohio State but has backed off those words since last weekend.

Dimon family onboard with OU

Following his first trip to OU’s campus in March, defensive end Matt Dimon (Katy, Texas/Katy) was sold on the Sooners. He was ready to commit there or in the immediate days after. But his parents told him to wait to make sure he was 100 percent satisfied with his decision. Dimon was and committed March 13.

But his father committed to OU last weekend.

“My dad wasn’t really sold on Norman at first,” Dimon said. “He had some questions about everything. But this trip changed everything. He really had a good time and is happy with everything.”

Dimon, a four-star prospect ranked No. 17 in the country at defensive end, said he felt a lot more comfortable in the Norman area this time around. He was more familiar with everything and wasn’t nearly as worried or nervous.

“I was able to relax and see the community more,” Dimon said. “The OU community is incredible. The way these fans love their football, love their team -- it’s something I cannot wait to be a part of.”

OU looking in Chandler’s direction?

OU coaches have been camped out in Lawton for the last year to watch elite defensive end D.J. Ward, but it has also given them a chance to see junior cornerback Maurice Chandler.

At first, it was just some passing interest and a few letters. But as OU defensive backs coach Mike Stoops keeps looking for big and fast corners, Chandler has become a viable option.

Chandler, 6-foot and 185 pounds, is among the fastest kids in Oklahoma. He ran a 10.36 in the 100-yard dash in a track meet last week.

He already has offers from Texas Tech and Kansas State, among others, but it was the Red Raiders's offer that opened his eyes.

Bob Przybylo/
Lawton cornerback prospect Maurice Chandler could have an OU offer soon.

“I admit I wasn’t really taking football too seriously until I got that first letter from Texas Tech,” Chandler said. “It came last year and made me realize I need to start working hard. And then they were my first offer, and it has really made me realize what can be out there.”

The biggest concern for Chandler has been qualifying academically. Chandler took the ACT last weekend and said he felt pretty confident about how he performed. He was a little iffy on the math section, but he is hoping this will take away any doubts schools might have.

And the schools that are interested in him are increasing.

“You know Notre Dame was looking at D.J., but they’ve told me they really like Maurice, too, and want to come down in the spring,” Lawton coach Randy Breeze said.

Ward is known as the quiet one, not so much the case with Chandler. His outgoing personality has made him a favorite among teammates and coaches. Chandler was at OU’s spring game last weekend and Stoops reiterated that once his grades are in order, an offer will most likely come.

The interest didn’t stop there. Breeze said he had a long talk with Stoops on Tuesday morning about Chandler and who he is on and off the field.

“It would be great if we could have two kids go to OU," Breeze said. "That’s all you want as a coach for your kids to get a chance for a great education and a chance to play at the next level like that."

Cox eyes summer OU visit

Back in February, it looked like OU had the inside track for athlete Chans Cox (Pinetop, Ariz./Blue Ridge), but a lot can and has changed since then. It doesn’t mean the Sooners are out of the race by any means, but there are a lot more suitors than there were two months ago.

And if you think things are slowing down for Cox, think again. He was offered by USC last week, and while OU sees Cox as a linebacker, the Trojans see him as a fullback.

“That was a huge offer. I went out there for their junior but there were so many kids. I felt that they were trying to show interest, though,” Cox said. “I thought I would have to go to their camp so I was very happy.”

Cox wants to begin to narrow his choices in the next month. But if you asked him right now, there are several teams in the mix: OU, Arizona State, USC, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Boise State and Washington.

One advantage OU has had over most schools is that Cox didn’t have to build a relationship with the Sooners' coaching staff. Cox already knew OU linebackers coach Tim Kish from his time at Arizona, and it has made the process very smooth.

“I had a great relationship with Coach Kish when he was at Arizona. To already have that built in like that makes things a lot easier,” Cox said. “I don’t have to try to question anything he says or anything like that.”

Cox, a three-star prospect who is ranked No. 41 in the country as an athlete, said he considered making a trip to OU this spring but has decided to wait until the summer or fall. It is also a strong statement that Cox is not ready for a commitment anytime soon.

He said distance is not a factor but graduating early will be.

“I want to graduate in December and play spring football. There is no doubt in my mind that’s what I want to do,” Cox said. “So I’m definitely going to start narrowing things down because I want to be ready in the fall to make that commitment.”

Harlow accepting his fate

It had been widely speculated that tight end signee Laith Harlow was going to be placed on a medical hardship, but Harlow ended the speculation Wednesday evening by confirming that was the case.

Harlow spoke to OU coaches Bob Stoops and Bruce Kittle where it was determined his back injury has forced him to quit football. He will still attend OU. Stoops wouldn’t comment on Harlow’s situation on national signing day, which led many to believe something was wrong with Harlow.

When asked about the situation days after signing day, Harlow said he still intended to play football at OU. He was still working hard and rehabbing from back surgery to get back on the field.

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