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Friday, August 3, 2012
Przybylo's Mailbag: Losing Greg Bryant

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 subscriber charlescitymosaic asks: It seems to me we should have pushed harder upfront with the local kids (Texas) and not so hard on the nationwide aspect. I could be wrong, but it looks like our philosophy this year bit us in the butt.

Bob Przybylo: This aspect of OU’s recruiting is going to be scrutinized immensely at all times. I still think it’s working. I do think the toughest part of evaluating this national recruiting state of mind is what makes it a success?

We’ve seen both sides of it this week. OU saw its top committed prospect in Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heritage-Boca Delray running back Greg Bryant decommit Monday night. Less than 24 hours later, four-star safety Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Calif./Central East) gave OU some good news with his commitment.

Though it looks like OU is not making a big dent in California when going against USC, those days are done for this class. And after USC, the Sooners aren’t too far behind in terms of being able to lure West Coast recruits.

Florida is a different animal with so many top schools in the region, but the Sooners are in the mix. If OU gets a combined five or six commits from Florida and California, did the approach work? The Sooners haven’t forgotten about Texas, either, but I'm still a believer in current approach.


Brandon from Dallas asks: What does the loss of Greg Bryant really mean? Is it a huge loss, or does it just feel like it is?

Bob Przybylo: I alluded to it before, but where I felt it has hurt OU the most was in pursuit of quality running backs from April-July.

The Sooners already had Bryant and Cypress (Texas) Ranch back Keith Ford, so OU certainly wasn’t looking for another.

In doing so, OU offers Justin Davis (Stockton, Calif./Lincoln), Ty Isaac (Joliet, Ill./Catholic) and Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) looked elsewhere. Davis and Isaac each chose USC, while Green released a top six Thursday that didn't include OU.

OU could still be in the hunt for four-star back Adam Taylor (Katy, Texas/Katy). But if it’s not, it will be intriguing to see how Cale Gundy approaches the 2013 running back situation.

Always considered Bryant a luxury more than anything else, like striking oil when you weren’t really trying. It would have been incredible for OU to keep Bryant, but it simply looks like that won’t happen.


Richard in Tulsa, Okla., asks: I think I speak for everybody in saying Courtney Gardner was going to make the most impact among the junior college signees. With him not an option, who do you think it is now?

Bob Przybylo: In the spring, I was leaning toward defensive end Chaz Nelson. However, after speaking to running back Damien Williams several times before he enrolled, I think Williams understands the most what he needs to do.

Not a natural running back initially, Williams should make a lot of strides this season with Gundy teaching him. He admits he has still been playing off of instinct more than anything else.

One thing that does stand out with Williams in talking to people who have seen him play is his ability to catch out of the backfield. Get Williams out in open space, and he could make some dynamic things happen.