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Wednesday, November 21, 2012
OU hasn't made big impression on trail

By Bob Przybylo

It’s going too far to call Oklahoma’s 2012 season a disappointment at this point. The Sooners are 8-2, 6-1 in Big 12 conference play. Goals of winning the conference championship and playing in a BCS bowl game remain within reach.

OU has only lost home games to No. 2 Kansas State and No. 4 Notre Dame, two of the best teams in the country. So why does it feel like a lackluster fall in Norman, Okla., on the recruiting trail?

Justin Manning
ESPN 150 defensive tackle Justin Manning remains atop the Sooners' target board.
The Sooners simply haven’t made that huge impression to nab big-time recruits. OU has hosted them, a slew of top-ranked recruits in the ESPN 150 and ESPN 300. But the Sooners haven’t earned a commitment from any of them since the season began.

The struggles don’t end there. Until recently, OU hadn’t snagged a commitment of any kind since July 31. That changed when three-star athlete Dominique Alexander (Tulsa, Okla./Booker T. Washington) flipped his commitment from Arkansas to OU.

More troubling has been the trend of prospects committing to other schools following a visit to OU. ESPN 300 and four-star athlete Chevoski Collins (Livingston, Texas/Livingston) made an official visit to OU for the Kansas State game. Less than a month later, he committed to Texas.

Four-star cornerback Cole Luke (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) made an official visit to OU for the Notre Dame game. Less than a week later, he committed to the Irish.

And despite all the Arizona ties with three-star offensive tackle Kenny Lacy (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe), the UCLA commit has opted to not visit OU. Lacy was among OU’s top targets at the position. He was very familiar with OU coaches Mike Stoops and Tim Kish from their time coaching at Arizona.

But a planned official visit to OU for Bedlam against Oklahoma State has now been switched to a visit to Kansas State at a date to be determined.

The list of recruits OU has hosted is an impressive one. ESPN 150 prospects like safety Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips), defensive tackle Justin Manning (Dallas/Kimball) and defensive tackle Greg Gilmore (Hope Mills, N.C./South View) have all toured the OU campus. However, OU still is searching for its first four-star commit of the football season.

It’s not all gloom-and-doom for OU. The Sooners were able to flip Alexander. And an official visit by ESPN 300 safety Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Calif./Central East) has guaranteed, if there is a thing as a guarantee in recruiting, that he will stick with the Sooners. Byrd had never seen the campus before his visit despite committing more than three months ago.

Three-star defensive end Dimarya Mixon (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite) decommitted from Arizona State recently, is No. 1 on OU’s target board and has seen OU in person three times this season.

The Sooners had their moment in the sun with a dominant 63-21 victory against Texas in the Red River Rivalry, but recent trends have shown it hasn’t matter who has won that game. OU has won five consecutive games but has lost out on every head-to-head battle with the Longhorns for the class.

Not one OU commit has a Texas offer, while 12 of the Longhorns’ 15 commits also have offers from the Sooners.

OU has one more showcase weekend coming up against Oklahoma State. A last chance to make a big impression during the season. More top-ranked official visitors are expected to be on hand, and Sooners need to take advantage of the opportunity.