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Monday, January 14, 2013
OU gets back on track on recruiting trail

By Bob Przybylo

The week started with one head-scratching moment, but it could not have ended any better for Oklahoma on the recruiting trail.

In an odd and almost unprecedented move, OU coaches postponed a previously planned junior day on Saturday so they could instead focus on the eight official visitors for the 2013 class.
Bob Stoops
Bob Stoops and the Sooners picked up two commitments over the weekend.
It wasn’t the most smooth move ever, but it worked as the Sooners were able to nab two three-star commitments and put themselves in good postion for a few four-star prospects.

When visitors come to campus, the craziness normally happens late Sunday morning or early afternoon. That’s when recruits are finished with their visits and flying back home.

For OU, the momentum started Saturday night when No. 40-ranked defensive tackle Charles Walker (Garland, Texas/South Garland) committed.

“Throughout that day and the tour, I just knew,” Walker said. “There was no reason to wait. I was ready. The whole time that’s all I kept thinking.”

Walker, who is 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, is the third defensive tackle commit for OU in the last month, eliminating that as a position of need.

Wide receiver was never a position of need, but the Sooners couldn't pass up three-star prospect K.J. Young (Perris, Calif./Citrus Hill).

Young, a relative unknown before receiving an OU offer Dec. 27, really wanted to commit to OU on his visit. But he didn’t. He initially said he wanted to visit Iowa State next weekend and then make a decision.

At the airport, Young had a change of heart, calling coach Bob Stoops to let him know he was ready to be a Sooner.

“Everything about this visit, to be honest, was incredible,” Young said. “It’s a great program. Coaches were amazing. No other school can match up to OU right now.”

The top-ranked visitor of the weekend was ESPN 150 safety Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga). His visit got off to a shaky start when he tweeted late Friday night that he didn’t have a host.

It was a bump on an otherwise good trip for Goodman and running back Roy Finch picked up the slack as a host Saturday. But with a trip to LSU looming for Goodman, the Sooners appear to be on the outside looking in.

But OU did make up ground with a couple of four-star prospects.

Athlete Devin Lauderdale (Houston/Bellaire) was favoring Oklahoma State before his visit. He didn’t commit to OU, but the Sooners are now in play. Young said Lauderdale had a great time, and they had a good time getting to know each other.

Young and Lauderdale weren’t alone, though, as where you saw those two this weekend, you were likely to see four-star cornerback L.J. Moore (Fresno, Calif./Central East).

Rumors of Moore’s commitment Sunday morning proved to be false, but OU has closed the gap between itself and Oregon State.

“Those are definitely my top two right now,” Moore said.

Moore is taking a visit to Arizona State this weekend. One thing that has worked in OU’s favor since July is that ESPN 300 safety Hatari Byrd, Moore’s teammate, has been committed to the Sooners and has been trying to lure Moore to join him in Norman, Okla.

And following a decommitment of ESPN 300 linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni (Dallas/Jesuit) last Sunday, there was nothing but positive energy from a commit on his visit as three-star offensive tackle Christian Daimler (Houston/Stratford) gave a glowing review of his weekend on campus.

The commitments of Walker and Young put OU at 19 for the class. There’s still work to be done, but it’s nice start in the final month until signing day on Feb. 6.

There's no slowing down as OU is expected to host three-star offensive lineman Rami Hammad (Irving, Texas/MacArthur) next weekend. Hammad is a Baylor commit who was offered by the Sooners on Thursday.