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Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Breaking down the board: Safety

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 safety board:


Marcell Harris
Under Armour All-American safety Marcell Harris is the No. 66 player in the ESPN 150.
1. Marcell Harris, Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips

Measurables: 6-foot-1, 209 pounds, 4.58 40-yard dash

Rankings: No 68 on the ESPN150, No. 7 safety, No. 19 in Florida, No. 36 in the Southeast region.

ESPN.com grade: 85, four-star recruit.

How he’d fit: Harris is ready to play immediately and has the talent to be a difference maker in the later stages of his career. He has the versatility to play the role of Tony Jefferson or Javon Harris in OU’s defensive system.

Why he's No. 1: He might be the most college-ready prospect at safety remaining on OU’s board. While it will be extremely difficult to lure him out of SEC country, he’s worth the effort if OU could land him.

Bob Przybylo's take: You could make the argument Harris is the top target on OU's board defensively, but he also might be the biggest longshot among the group. Harris is likely to stay home at Florida. And if the Gators somehow do not get his pledge, Texas has done an outstanding job as well in trying to lure him to Austin. OU got the short end of the stick on his visit, too, as Harris came in Saturday morning and was gone by Sunday afternoon.

2. Tyler Foreman, Encino, Calif./Crespi Carmelite

Measurables: 6-foot-2, 161 pounds, 4.63 40-yard dash

Rankings: No. 32 safety, No. 98 in West region, No. 67 in California.

ESPN.com grade: 77. Three-star prospect.

How he’d fit: Foreman is very raw and relatively new to playing defense so he might not make an immediate impact. But he has the ball skills, instincts and playmaking ability that Mike Stoops covets.

Why he's No. 2: He might not be ready to play immediately so Harris gets the slight nod. But it’s not outside of the realm of possibility for him to become Harris’ equal during the latter part of their collegiate careers.

Bob Przybylo's take: It has felt like defensive backs coach Mike Stoops has done all the right things with Foreman. He got in on him early, was one of his first offers, was able to get him for an official visit, but it looks like OU is on the outside looking in. Foreman was blown away by his Wisconsin visit and there are reports that Saturday's announcement is a mere formality for the Badgers. Want some Sooner Magic? We'll see what Mike and Bob Stoops can do in next 72 hours.

3. Malik Greaves, Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood

Measurables: 6-foot-2, 205 pounds

Rankings: No. 15 safety, No. 70 in Florida, No. 175 in Southeast region

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

How he’d fit: Greaves is very similar to Tony Jefferson in that he is aggressive in run support yet has the athletic ability to hold his own in coverage. He would bring good size to the Sooners secondary and is a solid tackler.

Why he's No. 3: There has been no indication that the Sooners are interested in Greaves. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be. OU swooped into Florida late in the recruiting cycle last season to land Gary Simon, why not try to do the same with Greaves?

Bob Przybylo's take: If Harris is the longshot, then Greaves is the dark horse. Greaves has the size and physicality that Mike Stoops loves, especially his ability to help in run support. Originally a Vanderbilt commit, Greaves has been looking at Auburn and West Virginia the most. But with OU's focus on Florida and with Mike Stoops having to head that way for in-home visits, it wouldn't be the worst idea to see what Greaves is thinking now.

4. Jordan Sterns, Cibolo, Texas/Byron P. Steele

Measurables: 6-foot-0, 195 pounds

Rankings: No. 61 safety, No. 202 in Midlands region, No. 157 in Texas.

ESPN.com grade: 74, three-star prospect.

Commitment: Oklahoma State - May 30, 2012

How he’d fit: With his good ball skills and willingness to tackle, he’s a good fit for what the Sooners ask from their safeties. He’s not stellar in man-to-man coverage but his aggressive nature offsets that limitation.

Why he's No. 4: He’s currently committed to the Cowboys and may not be swayed away from Stillwater. OSU stole Kevin Peterson late in the process in 2012, the Sooners could hope to return the favor.

Bob Przybylo's take: OU was interested in Sterns early on in the process before Oklahoma State came in and made a strong impression. Sterns has been with the Cowboys since May. But perhaps if OU can make a statement with a resounding Bedlam victory, things could change. As of now, though, there is nothing to indicate Sterns has backed away from OSU.

5. Kameron Miles, Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite

Measurables: 6-foot-2, 205 pounds

Rankings: No 253 in ESPN300, No. 13 safety, No. 41 in Midlands region, No. 36 in Texas.

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

Commitment: Tennessee, May 21, 2012.

How he’d fit: While Miles doesn’t excel in man-to-man coverage, he can hold his own and brings terrific size to the secondary. He’s tough, athletic and a good tackler.

Why he's No. 5: He’s a firm commitment to the Vols. But a change in UT’s coaching staff might reopen his recruitment. If it does, he’s a good fit for what OU likes to do and could be a quality late addition if the Sooners were able to find a way to land him.

Bob Przybylo's take: Miles has been adamant about sticking with Tennessee. However, if something were to change with the Vols' coaching staff, then what? No reason the Sooners couldn't try to come on in and see what's up. It was sort of confusing why Miles never had an OU offer to begin with, but he did visit OU for junior day. It might be too little too late regardless of anything, but the Sooners should definitely take a shot if Miles has second thoughts.

Overall summary: With Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Calif./Central East) and Ahmad Thomas (Miami, Fla./Central) already committed, the Sooners have landed two quality safeties. Thus, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them take a “Harris or Foreman or nothing” approach. Stoops wants to land five quality defensive backs in this class and the Sooners could elect to fill the rest of their slots with cornerbacks, particularly with 2012 signee Zack Sanchez displaying the ability to play any position in the secondary during his redshirt season.