Mastrogiovanni, who is 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, was the first commit for OU’s linebackers coach Tim Kish, and the Mastrogiovanni family has numerous ties to the Sooners program.
But A&M missing out on one elite talent opened the door for the Aggies to re-enter the race for another. One of the few targets A&M missed out on for the class of 2013 was ESPN 150 linebacker Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian), who committed to Ohio State on Saturday afternoon.
With Mitchell not headed to College Station, the Aggies had an available spot for Mastrogiovanni. Despite being a solid OU commit since June, there were some signs of this coming.
Mastrogiovanni made an unofficial visit to A&M this season and was seriously considering flipping. But after talks with the OU coaches he opted to stick with the Sooners.
Everything appeared to be going well following his official visit to OU on banquet weekend in December. Mastrogiovanni was able to interact with fellow linebacker commits three-star recruit Jordan Evans (Norman, Okla./North) and three-star prospect Dominique Alexander (Tulsa, Okla./Booker T. Washington).
There’s no telling if A&M’s dominant 41-13 victory against OU in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night played a role, but it couldn’t have helped OU’s standing.
The loss of Mastrogiovanni cannot be overstated. It’s big, huge. He was the top-ranked linebacker and ranked No. 206 in the ESPN 300.
Nobody is doubting the quality of athletes Alexander and Evans are, but neither one of them is a pure linebacker in the mold of Mastrogiovanni. Evans and Alexander have both seen time at defensive end and thrived at the position this season.
The Aggies and Sooners have been battling it out on the recruiting trail all season and this is the latest win for Kevin Sumlin over Bob Stoops.
The loss of Mastrogiovanni puts OU at 17 commits for its 2013 class and will also put the Sooners back into the hunt for a linebacker in a major way.
The Sooners had backed off linebacker recruiting for the class, assuming everything was good to go. Back to the drawing board for Kish and company. Because based off of what happened Friday night, there is no doubt OU needs difference makers on defense.
OU thought it had one in Mastrogiovanni. With a month left until signing day, can the Sooners find a diamond in the rough? They’re going to need to.