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Friday, November 30, 2012
Recruiting Faceoff: Next in-state target?

By Bob Przybylo and Brandon Chatmon

Each Week SoonerNation recruiting writers Bob Przybylo and Brandon Chatmon will faceoff on one issue regarding Oklahoma recruiting.

This week’s question: OU has a commitment from Watch List running back Devon Thomas (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow). Who is the next 2014 in-state recruit the Sooners should pursue the most?

Justice Hansen
Class of 2014 quarterback Justice Hansen already has offers from Arkansas and Missouri.
Bob Przybylo: Since the middle of the 2011 season, it has felt like Devon Thomas and Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe Watch List quarterback Justice Hansen have been running a race by themselves for who is the top in-state prospect for a loaded 2014 Oklahoma high school class.

The Sooners have Thomas, so how about getting Hansen now? If OU doesn’t act quickly on Hansen, other schools will. It is clear Florida and Florida State have interest in him and Missouri and Arkansas have already offered.

Hansen has visited Florida State twice and was impressed with the surroundings and campus in Tallahassee.

But Hansen should be a Sooner. His father played for OU’s 1994 baseball team that won the College World Series. He has been at OU’s summer camp the last two years. He talks with OU quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel almost on a weekly basis.

You want to defend your home turf and dominate your backyard? Get Hansen. In leading Edmond Santa Fe to the state quarterfinals for the second year in a row, Hansen was 185 of 318 for 3,079 yards with 36 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also rushed for 773 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Or to put it another way, he accounted for 50 touchdowns in 12 games, more than four per contest. What’s not to like?

Brandon Chatmon: Steven Parker is the 2014 in-state recruit the Sooners should be pursuing the hardest. Parker has the physical talent to be special and the mental approach to become a difference-maker in college.

At 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, the Jenks (Okla.) defensive back combines terrific size with great athleticism and competitiveness. He already has offers from the Sooners, Oklahoma State and Alabama, but the pursuit of Parker is just getting started as it is quite likely the nation's elite will try to swoop in and steal Parker from underneath the Sooners nose.

OU cannot let that happen.

Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops' defense puts a premium on defensive backs so Parker needs to become priority No. 1 for the Sooners. He probably has the versatility to play cornerback or safety in college but he's shown the competitiveness and coverage skills to be a quality cornerback in an elite BCS program. The Sooners need to do whatever it takes to make Parker feel like he's the most important prospect in the Class of 2014 and sell him on being the foundation of the Sooners secondary of the future.