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Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Breaking down the board: Offensive tackle

By Brandon Chatmon

Each week, "Breaking down the board" will take a deeper, position-by-position look at the prospects Oklahoma is target. SoonerNation will rank five players at each position with No. 1 being the player who should be OU’s top priority of the five recruits listed.

To be clear, this ranking has nothing to do with the Sooners' actual recruiting board/priority list. It's simply our ranking list compiled of the recruits at the position who have expressed legitimate interest in the Sooners and who could be the best fits for OU’s system.

Today we look at Oklahoma's offensive tackle board:


1. Trenton Brown, Albany, Ga./Georgia Military College

Measurables: 6-foot-8, 350 pounds

Josiah St. John
Junior college offensive tackle Josiah St. John visited Oklahoma for its loss to Notre Dame.
How he’d fit: Brown is ready to play right away and has good athleticism that would translate well to the Sooners offensive system. He’s played left tackle in junior college and would be able to immediately provide quality depth if he’s unable to win a starting spot after Lane Johnson’s departure.

Why he's No. 1: He has the ability to be a very solid run and pass blocker and brings unique size and athleticism to the position. Most importantly, he should be able to step right in and make an impact.

Bob Przybylo's take: A wildcard in the bunch as OU and Brown have only recently started talking with each other. But look at Brown's resume. He is somebody who is not afraid to travel, having made official visits to Texas A&M and Arizona. He is scheduled to be at OU for Bedlam. More schools are jumping into the fray as Florida State is the latest to offer Brown so this one won't be an easy battle to come out on top.

2. Josiah St. John, Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley Community College

Measurables: 6-foot-6, 295 pounds

How he’d fit: He’s a very good athlete who could give the Sooners some options along the offensive line. If he decided to be a Sooner, it would provide competition to replace Lane Johnson and allow the Sooners to tinker with the offensive line in an effort to get the best five players on the field while having a quality, versatile offensive line rotation in 2013.

Why he's No. 2: He has the athletic ability to contribute immediately. And the Sooners learned this season that it’s never bad to have as many offensive linemen who are ready to play on the roster as possible.

Bob Przybylo's take: St. John sort of came out of nowhere last month. He had no idea he had an OU offer way back in August. That's more than two months where Bruce Kittle could have been working the phones or visiting Trinity to get to know St. John better. His official visit to OU for Notre Dame was solid, but he didn't sound overly impressed with anything. It's not that he didn't enjoy the trip, but he wasn't blown away by it. It was big positive for St. John to put a face to a name with Kittle, Bob Stoops and James Patton.

3. Aaron Cochran, Atwater, Calif./Buhach

Measurables: 6-foot-8, 364 pounds

Rankings: No. 24 offensive tackle, No. 44 West Regional, No. 36 in California

ESPN.com grade: 82, four-star prospect.

Accolades: Semper Fidelius All-American

How he’d fit: As an exceptionally large prospect with good athleticism, he could work himself in a position to help provide some depth immediately. His future position seems to be right tackle but the Sooners always show a willingness to try talented players at various positions. Regardless, there’s no reason to expect a major impact from him in year one but he could develop into a monster during his career.

Why he's No. 3: His size and physical talent are tough to duplicate even through he is not a finished product. Overall, his upside is just too high to ignore and he’s a great guy to take a chance on.

Bob Przybylo's take: We're all going to find out about OU and Cochran this weekend. Opting to not visit OU on marquee weekends like Notre Dame or Oklahoma State, Cochran will receive a lot of one-on-one attention this weekend. With his brother playing at California, it seems a natural fit. Except to Cochran, who has been adamant that won't play a big role in his decision. Cochran loved his visit to Nebraska last month and now it's OU's turn to try to make a positive imprint on the four-star prospect.

4. Na’Ty Rodgers, Pomfret, Md./McDonough

Measurables: 6-foot-4, 285 pounds

Rankings: No. 29 offensive tackle, No. 52 in Southeast region, No. 9 in Maryland.

ESPN.com grade: 81, four-star prospect.

Accolades: Under-Armour All-American, Semper Fidelis All-American

How he’d fit: Rodgers has shown the versatility to play multiple positions in high school, making him an ideal fit for the Sooners system. He’s not ready to play immediately and needs grow in multiple aspects of his game before he’s ready to be a difference maker but after a few years he should be a very valuable asset.

Why he's No. 4: He’s versatile and talented. While offensive tackle could eventually be his ideal home, if he can swing from guard to tackle in the middle of a game, much like Daryl Williams did against Iowa State last weekend, that makes him even more valuable.

Bob Przybylo's take: There is no doubt Tyrone Rodgers would love if his son, Na'Ty, followed in his footsteps and became a Sooner. But after a positive visit to OU for Kansas State, there hasn't been too much interaction between Rodgers and OU. It's a scary weekend for OU fans with Rodgers as Na'Ty and Tyrone will both be at South Carolina, who is considered to be a sizable favorite right now. If Na'Ty's mother ends up visiting OU, then we'll know Na'Ty is very serious about the Sooners.

5. Sean Dowling, Fallbook, Calif./Fallbrook (UCLA Commit)

Measurables: 6-foot-6, 260 pounds

Rankings: No. 58 offensive tackle; No. 110 in the West Region; No. 78 in California.

ESPN.com grade: 77, three-star prospect.

How he’d fit: Dowling is not the type of prospect that will step on campus and help immediately. He’ll need to gain weight and use a year in a strength and conditioning program before he’s ready to handle the physical toll of a Big 12 schedule. Nonetheless he would provide quality depth early in his career and has the physical ability to become a quality tackle.

Why he's No. 5: His upside gives him the nod over other offensive linemen. He’s far from a finished project with room to grow and improve even though he’s already shown flashes of the talent that should lead to him becoming a solid Division I lineman.

Bob Przybylo's take: Dowling had an incredible official visit to OU last month but never got the impression he was close to flipping his commitment from UCLA. The biggest obstacle is his father is stationed in the Middle East and Dowling has said repeatedly he is not making any rash decision or any decision at all without speaking to his father first. It does feel like it's down to OU and UCLA with Vanderbilt and Washington State on the outside looking in. For now, he's still with the Bruins.

Overall summary: The two junior college prospects could provide immediate help while the three prep standouts all have several traits that should make them valuable and contributing college offensive linemen in a year or two. As the Sooners season comes to a close several other names will start to emerge as options for the Sooners, particularly along the offensive interior.