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Friday, October 12, 2012
Five 2014 battles between OU, Texas

By Bob Przybylo and William Wilkerson and Max Olson

Every year Oklahoma and Texas take center stage in October for the Red River Rivalry game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

And just as important as the game on the field, is the game on the recruiting trail between the Sooners and Longhorns.

But lately it has been the Longhorns winning the battles. Even though OU is gunning for its third consecutive victory on the field, the 2013 recruiting battles have been one-sided.

Solomon Thomas
Junior defensive end Solomon Thomas has offers from both OU and Texas and also likes a couple PAC-12 schools.
How one-sided? Texas has 15 verbal commits entering the weekend and 12 of them also have an offer from OU. Some of them, including Dallas Jesuit four-star wide receiver Jake Oliver and four-star athlete Chevoski Collins (Livingston, Texas/Livingston), were down to OU and Texas before picking the Longhorns.

Conversely, of OU’s 11 commits for 2013, not one has an offer from Texas. There are still 2013 battles to be won as OU and Texas are both high on the list for Katy (Texas) Seven Lakes offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch, Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton four-star defensive back Cole Luke and four-star lineman Andrew Billings (Waco, Texas/Waco).

This weekend, however, is more about the 2014 prospects. And though incredibly early to narrow the choices down for the top prospects, the class could see numerous recruits come down to those same Red River Rivals once again.

Here is a look at five 2014 prospects that are attending the game and could be the focus of yet more intense battles between OU and Texas:

S Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron, 6-0, 190, ESPN Watch List)

Why Texas? The Longhorns need safety help in the worst way and Adams, one of two safeties offered in 2014, would go a long way in helping the position become a strength again. He's a big, physical recruit that loves coming up to the line of scrimmage and getting involved in the run game as much as he likes playing pass coverage.

He visited Texas for the West Virginia game and was told by Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz before the game that he wished he was suited up to play the Mountaineers. Adams really looks up to Longhorns senior Kenny Vacarro and can see himself playing a similar roll in burnt orange. -- William Wilkerson, HornsNation

Why OU? Texas is a formidable foe for Adams, but the Sooners have done what they can to make sure they don’t get lost in the equation. Adams and his father visited OU in August and picked up an offer from OU. Jamal’s father, George, said he is very high on the OU program because of the way Bob Stoops runs the ship.

“The man is a professional. This is a school that knows what it’s doing,” George Adams said. -- Bob Przybylo, SoonerNation

OT Ty Barrett (Dallas/Skyline, 6-5, 285, ESPN Watch List)

Why Texas? Barrett might not have been a guy who got an early offer from Texas in August, but that may be because he really didn’t play much as a sophomore for Skyline. The big tackle is now making an impression this fall and you can bet Texas will give him a long look.

The Longhorns already have a solid Skyline pipeline, with starting receiver Mike Davis and freshman linebacker Peter Jinkens both Raiders grads on this year’s roster, and haven’t found many elite 2014 in-state linemen worth offering so far. If Texas’ coaches want Barrett, they should have a good shot. -- Max Olson, HornsNation

Why OU? The Sooners were the first school to reach out to Barrett as Barrett said the OU coaches started showing interest following his freshman season.

Even though OU has not officially offered Barrett, he is clearly on OU’s radar. Barrett was hopeful to see OU last month for an unofficial visit. He wasn’t able to make it but said he isn’t concerned because he knows he’ll get another chance to see a Sooners home game this season. -- Bob Przybylo, SoonerNation

LB Cameron Hampton (Dallas/Carter, 6-2, 215, ESPN Watch List)

Why Texas? Texas coaches were blown away by his athleticism at one of its June mini-camps and let their interest be known with an official offer on Aug. 2. He's just the type of linebacker Manny Diaz would like on the outside given his blitzing abilities and also his ability to keep up with running backs out of the backfield. He's the real deal.

The Longhorns are going to have to fight off several high profile programs for his commitment though. Along with Texas, he lists his top schools as LSU, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. A solid performance in Dallas with Hampton watching could go a long way in the end -- William Wilkerson, HornsNation

Why OU? First-year linebackers coach Tim Kish took a while before finding his footing with the 2013 crop of linebackers. He has not had that problem in 2014, developing a great relationship with Hampton.

Hampton camped at OU in the summer and said he knew immediately he would be talking to Kish for a long time after that in the future. So far the relationship has been great and Hampton is hopeful to see Norman once again this season. -- Bob Przybylo, SoonerNation

Nick Watkins
Junior cornerback Nick Watkins wants to take his time making his decision, though he likes both OU and Texas.
DE Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell, 6-3, 265, ESPN Watch List)

Why Texas? There’s a very good chance Texas is already well in front of the field for landing Thomas’ pledge, though he does seem to have a fascination right now with UCLA, Stanford and the rest of the Pac-12 schools in California.

With fellow DE Derick Roberson (San Antonio/Brennan) already in the fold for 2014, it’s no secret Texas covets Thomas. If you follow him on Twitter, you know Thomas is a Texas fan. He’ll be getting his passes on Saturday from OU, sure, but don’t be surprised if Thomas is rooting for the Longhorns in Dallas. -- Max Olson, HornsNation

Why OU? This is catch up time for the Sooners. Thomas wanted to camp at OU in June but was unable to attend. Texas has taken firm control in the Thomas sweepstakes.

A solid outing by the Sooners defense can be a reminder to Thomas that OU plays some good football, too. He camped at OU following his freshman season but hasn’t made it back since. With UCLA and Stanford both in the mix, too, the Sooners need to do something special to get Thomas’ attention once again. – Bob Przybylo, SoonerNation

CB Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne, 6-1, 180, ESPN Watch List)

Why Texas? The Longhorns pride themselves on being called "DBU" and one way of keeping up that profile is to garner commitments from players as talented as Watkins. He is fully aware of the history Duane Akina has with creating Thorpe Award winners and putting DBs in the NFL. And Texas will likely be shuffling around its CBs by the time he gets to college, so early playing time would be a very real possibility. -- William Wilkerson, HornsNation

Why OU? Watkins admitted in the summer what he knew about OU was it comes to Dallas to play Texas and wins a lot. The Sooners would like to make that impression once again on Watkins.

Watkins said he likes how OU is full of great athletes from all over the country. He believes that with his skills, he would fit right in with the Sooners. -- Bob Przybylo, SoonerNation