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Friday, June 22, 2012
Przybylo's Mailbag: In-state slow play?

By Bob Przybylo

Bob Przybylo answers readers' questions about Oklahoma football and basketball recruiting in his mailbag every week. Got a question for Bob? Send it to his mailbag at bprzybyloespn@gmail.com.

SoonerNation member saptownsooner asks: Does anyone else feel that OU is bypassing some quality in-state recruits? It seems like Arkansas has done a great job in recent years of raiding Oklahoma talent. I trust our coaching staff and I would have to think they feel they can get better players, but the Razorbacks’ recent success speaks for itself. Obviously, UA's coaches feel these guys can play in the SEC. Am I missing something?

Bob Przybylo: I don’t think you’re missing anything, but I also don’t think there have been too many instances where OU completely dropped the ball with an in-state recruit.

Jordan Smallwood
Jordan Smallwood is the state's top receiver for the class of 2013.
The Sooners have the commits of three of the top four Oklahoma high school recruits for the class and have already offered three 2014 prospects with the potential for several more.

It’s a tough tightrope to walk when you have a quality recruit whose dream has been to play for OU his entire life. You don’t question his “want to,” but you’re not always sure that he “can” play for the Sooners.

There are a few in the 2013 class who have expressed the ultimate desire to play for Bob Stoops. But not everybody who wants to play for OU is talented enough to play for OU.

But then there are times recruits slip through the cracks. You know I feel Jordan Smallwood (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) was one of those kids, but the Sooners coaching staff realized his potential and snatched him up.

And sometimes it’s not questioning the quality of the recruit, but how they fit into your system. However, what I do think is fair to say is the Oklahoma high school class for 2013 is a lot better and deeper than what was originally thought.


Dean in Oklahoma City asks: Where is the fire with Jay Norvell? I think he’s settling right now with these first two receivers.

Bob Przybylo: After what has happened with Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks and Kameel Jackson, would you blame Norvell for erring on the side of caution?

Austin Bennett (Manvel, Texas/Manvel) and Smallwood are both three-star recruits, but so far there hasn’t been any mention of a potential character issue with either. These are two receivers who definitely want to be Sooners and want to prove to others they shouldn’t be doubted.

The other thing, as pointed out by several on the forum, is that this might allow Norvell to go for the home run. OU is in the mix for ESPN 150 prospects Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee) and Alvin Bailey (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) and other four-star recruits.

With two firm commits already locked down, this could give Norvell the chance to target that No. 1 receiver he believes will benefit the program most.


Barry in Dallas asks: I’ve been pretty harsh on the staff for their approach this season. But if we get Hardreck Walker and Justin Manning, OK, I was wrong. How good are our chances to get both of them?

Bob Przybylo: I believe OU is in the lead for both of them. Even if Manning visits all seven other campuses in his top eight, I feel the Sooners are going to land him when his recruitment is all said and done.

Walker is another story. I had written him off two months ago for the simple fact it looked like OU had moved on. I have talked with Walker several times since February and each time he has expressed a lot of pro-OU sentiments.

But nothing was like the change in the tone of his voice when he received the offer Monday night. Now Texas A&M and Texas Tech are going to make strong pushes, no doubt, but Walker has been gunning for an OU offer for a while.

Even in February and March, OU was in his top three. The Sooners are there to stay now that the offer is secure.