Thursday, July 12, 2012
Hunter Jr., Byrd move up ESPN rankings
By Bob Przybylo
If you’re looking for earth-shattering moves among Oklahoma commitments in the newest edition of the ESPN 150 and ESPN 300, you’re out of luck. But if you want to see what the future could hold for the Sooners, there were a couple of big-time moves by OU targets.
It all starts with four-star wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. (Prosper, Texas/Prosper). Not in the original ESPN 150 in April, Hunter made the move to No. 137 when the June rankings were released.
Hunter, the son of the four-time MLB all-star and nine-time Gold Glove winner of the same name, is getting a lot more looks than for just his name. He is 6-foot and 170 pounds, so he is not the big, physical receiver, but he can produce.
Need evidence? If you watched him at The Opening last weekend, he is not going to have trouble finding a home. Spurred by his stellar outing and earning MVP honors at the event, Hunter vaulted to No. 51 in the ESPN 150 and is now the No. 8 wide receiver for the 2013 class.
A quality baseball player as well, Hunter hasn’t spent too much time looking at colleges. He has, however, expressed an interest in visiting OU. OU wide receivers coach Jay Norvell made a good first impression with Hunter, stressing other things than football and recruiting in their conversations.
Hunter has also talked about visiting Notre Dame, Nebraska and Oklahoma State. The Sooners already have two three-star receiver commits in Jordan Smallwood (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) and Austin Bennett (Manvel, Texas/Manvel). Hunter, though, could be a game-changing athlete.
Another Opening invitee who fared well and is certainly on the Sooners’ radar is safety Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Calif./Central East).
Byrd enters the ESPN 300 for the first time, coming in at No. 292. Byrd said he would like to commit before the start of his senior season.
As of now, he has UCLA and OU as his two favorites with an expected trip to Washington also on his docket this month. Regardless of his commitment choice, Byrd is scheduled for an official visit to OU on Oct. 26, the weekend of the Sooners game against Notre Dame.
The only move with OU commits was with running back Keith Ford (Cypress, Texas/Ranch). Ford went up a notch from No. 33 to No. 32.
Running back Greg Bryant (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage-Boca Delray) remains OU’s top recruit at No. 30. Defensive end commit D.J. Ward (Oklahoma City/Douglass) stayed put at No. 90 in the ESPN 150, while Colleyville (Texas) Heritage quarterback Cody Thomas stays at No. 93.
A few OU commits in the ESPN 300 went down slightly. OU’s only linebacker commit so far in Jordan Mastrogiovanni (Dallas/Jesuit) dropped three spots to No. 200. Tulsa (Okla.) East Central athlete Stanvon Taylor went from No. 219 to No. 228, while four-star defensive end Matt Dimon (Katy, Texas/Katy) fell to No. 282 from No. 277.