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Thursday, January 17, 2013
Sooner Intel: Recruiting news and notes

By Bob Przybylo

Every Thursday, SoonerNation releases the Sooner Intel, a sneak peek inside Oklahoma Sooners football recruiting with news and notes on the latest happenings around the program. Talk about it on our forum. A few things discussed in this week's update:

Read the Sooner Intel after the jump.

Sooners make up ground with Moore

That’s why you just never know until you can get a recruit on campus. Heading into last weekend, it was clear Oregon State was the outright leader for four-star cornerback L.J. Moore (Fresno, Calif./Central East).

Erik McKinney/
L.J. Moore is taking an official visit to Arizona State this weekend.

That’s not the case anymore. OU put the work in, and the Sooners are right there with the Beavers. Moore said so and his father echoed those statements to Fresno Central East defensive backs coach Tony Perry.

“It was a great visit from what his father told me,” Perry said. “I’ve known Lawrence [the father] for a long time, and I know he would never just say that to say that. He said it went real good, and he liked it. Coach [Mike] Stoops is supposed to come back this week.”

There were rumors Sunday morning about Moore actually committing to OU that turned out to be false, but it’s an indicator of how positive his OU trip was.

Moore is set to see Arizona State this weekend and then all bets are off. It’s possible Moore will wait until signing day to make his decision, but it’s also possible he will simply get it over with when he knows which school he wants to pick.

The longer he waits, though, the more other schools are jumping back in.

“It’s crazy every day with L.J.,” Perry said. “Everybody thought he would go to UCLA but that doesn’t look like it will happen. Texas Tech called me this morning [Tuesday] and Arkansas and Cal are trying to get in here late.”

Moore found a friend during his visit in three-star wide receiver K.J. Young (Perris, Calif./Citrus Hill), who was also on his visit and committed to the Sooners.

“I can’t speak for L.J., but I thought he was having a great time,” Young said. “He felt real comfortable, and it was great to get that opportunity to get to know him better.”

Cavil solid with Sooners

It’s Thursday morning. There’s still time for something head-scratching to happen with ESPN 300 wide receiver Dannon Cavil (San Antonio/Madison).

Kidding, sort of, the drama appears to be over but what a wild seven days it has been for Cavil, ranked No. 239 in the ESPN 300 and No. 35 at receiver.

Started the weekend a Cal commit, receives OU offer, flips to Sooners, gets Texas offer but opts to stick with the crimson and cream in the end and is enrolling early. Whew, take a breath.

Was it easy? Saying no to the school where his cousin, Kwame Cavil, once starred at?

“It was really something to think about,” Cavil told Brandon Chatmon on Wednesday afternoon. “They had talked to Kwame. I’m a legacy to Texas. My blood runs deep through Texas with my dad, my mom, my aunt, my cousin.

“It was a lot to just let that go. Everyone in the family talked to me about my decision but ultimately I have to make it for myself. And that’s what they’re happy with -- that I made the decision for myself and that’s where I want to be.”

If OU came in the 11th hour for the steal, what would you consider the Longhorns' attempt? Texas might have gained more traction, except OU coaches Bob Stoops and Jay Norvell came for an in-home Tuesday night to seal the deal.

And to say hello.

“When Coach Stoops had called earlier, my mom was like ‘Hello,’ you know like the commercial,” Cavil said. “So when he came to the door, he knew to say it to my mom exactly like that so that was funny.”

Cavil is just the latest OU-Texas battle for 2013. The Longhorns have won nearly every single other one but this one will make the Red River Rivalry just that more interesting with Cavil’s ties to Texas.

“Everybody has to wear the half-and-half shirt because they’re still alums,” Cavil said. “They’re not going to sell out, but they’re happy for me.”

Shepard a Class of 2014 prospect

Danny Moloshok
Class of 2012 prospect Tee Shepard is now hoping to be part of the 2014 class.

Staying at Fresno Central East and staying with defensive backs coach Tony Perry, he clarified as much as he could regarding Class of 2012 ESPN 150 cornerback Tee Shepard.

Shepard originally tweeted he was back in play and was going to commit to OU. Problems regarding his enrollment at Notre Dame and the NCAA Clearinghouse, however, has kept that from happening.

And it won’t be until the Class of 2014 when Shepard will be back on the market, Perry said.

“He will have to go the juco route,” Perry said. “I talk to Tee every day, and he’s not really tripping out about it. He’s ready to go play right now. Finish this semester and next year and be ready to roll.”

Perry said Shepard is enrolled at Holmes Community College in Mississippi and that’s where he’s going to stay next year, too.

What’s past is past, and Perry said Shepard isn’t thinking about what could have been.

“No, we’re not doing that,” Perry said. “Nothing negative about Notre Dame. Nothing negative about the NCAA. He misses one year and gets three years at a Division I school. That’s not bad. For 2014, yep, I think OU will be right in the mix.”

Young gets to know Norvell

OU wide receivers coach Jay Norvell has the reputation of being the strongest closer when it comes to recruiting. But give a solid assist to linebackers coach Tim Kish in discovering K.J. Young.

Kish got Young to OU, and now it’s up to Norvell to get Young to realizing his potential. It’s something the wideout cannot wait for.

“I know how great of a coach he is,” Young said. “Coach Kish has been telling me all about Coach Norvell the last couple of weeks.”

Young spoke to Kish briefly during his official visit. But for the majority of time, Young was getting to know his future position’s coach.

A solid first impression was made by Norvell.

“It was really good,” Young said. “He’s a real good dude. Within like minutes of talking to him, it wasn’t even like he was a coach anymore. I was just talking to him like a normal dude.”

Young got to spend even more time with Norvell and Kish as both made an in-home visit Wednesday night that Young said was a very positive trip.

Most thought with the addition of Young, OU was done at receiver. Not the case at all as Norvell worked his magic one more time with the addition of ESPN 300 receiver Dannon Cavil (San Antonio/Madison) on Monday afternoon.

Is this a red flag for Young?

“Are you kidding? Of course not,” Young said. “I didn’t see it coming, but I’m not concerned about it. That’s the way recruiting works. If he’s that good, that’s awesome. Let’s get to it. Can’t wait.”

Young said he experienced a life-changing moment during his OU visit and that was by seeing Bob Stoops’ house. He couldn’t believe anybody could live in something so big.

Stoops didn’t flaunt his house, but it did help Young realize this is what football means to Oklahoma and there is a reason why Stoops has that house. He produces wins and championships.

Young initially was going to hold off on his commitment. He wanted to visit Iowa State to be fair to his high school quarterback Trevor Hodge, who is committed to the Cyclones. But after thinking it over, he knew OU was the place for him.

“OU never pressured me to commit, but it gave me so much to think about,” Young said. “Putting on that jersey. Seeing those championships. Playing in January bowl games. Yeah, this is where I want to be.”

Walker follows through on promise

Heading into the weekend, the one sure-fire commit was three-star defensive tackle Charles Walker (Garland, Texas/South Garland).

There was no way he was going to leave OU without making a commitment, right? Right. He took all drama out of the equation by doing it Saturday night.

Walker was offered in December and said he wanted to commit right then and there. His qualifier was he had to see the campus. He saw all he needed to see by Saturday night and wasted no time at all in letting Stoops know he wanted to be a Sooner.

“I’ve always loved the school, but I had to see how everything was. I had to see if it lived up to my expectations,” Walker said. “I knew immediately I was home.”

He was hosted by running back Alex Ross, but he said he spent most of his time with defensive tackles coach Jackie Shipp.

The more one-on-one time he spent with Shipp, the better he felt about the situation.

“He’s just so real with you,” Walker said. “You don’t see that all the time.”

Walker tried to be cool and calm during his visit, but there was a big part of him that couldn’t believe this was actually happening for him.

“I took so many pictures,” Walker said. “I can’t tell you how many pictures. It’s going to be a lot of fun looking through everything.”

On the surface, Ross doesn’t seem to be the most obvious host for Walker. But he said some things that really stood out to the defensive tackle.

“We had a lot in common, but what he really talked about was being a redshirt freshman,” Walker said. “I’m probably going to have to go down that route, too, and he was just getting me prepared for it. It was a strong connection.”

Daimler gets truth one more time

The biggest reason three-star offensive tackle Christian Daimler (Houston/Stratford) flipped his commitment from Arizona State to OU was because of how honest the OU coaches have been to him the entire time.

Sooners get one more check mark following his official visit.

“They sort of laid out the plans for me,” Daimler said. “I’m most likely going to redshirt. They didn’t want to say it was definite because they stressed it’s always a competition.”

Some schools will promise immediate playing time or things of that nature. Daimler said he hasn’t been promised one thing by OU, except for an opportunity to show what he can do.

“You have to be able to trust your coaches,” Daimler said. “These are the guys who are going to be developing you for the next four years. I have complete trust in OU. It’s one thing I will never have to worry about.”

Offensive tackle race heats up

OK, we’ve reached the offensive tackle part of the intel. The Sooners have two locked down in Daimler and ESPN JC 100 prospect Josiah St. John (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley).

Based on the offers and variety of offers, I believe OU is gunning for two more tackles with one being a high school senior and the other a juco recruit.

And OU offensive tackles coach Bruce Kittle has been incredibly busy in the last two weeks trying to get it all sorted out.

The seven prospects to keep tabs on going forward are Baylor commit Rami Hammad (Irving, Texas/Irving), three-star tackle Dwayne Johnson (Houston/Bellaire), four-star tackle Aaron Cochran (Atwater, Calif./Buhach), four-star tackle Josh Outlaw (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) and juco products Matt Finnin (Crete, Ill./College of Dupage), Desmond Harrison (San Pablo, Calif./Contra Costa) and Chongo Kondolo (Fresno, Calif./Fresno City CC).

Sam Khan Jr./
Three-star tackle prospect Dwayne Johnson is a former Purdue commitment.

Seven prospects for two spots. The hot name for the moment is Hammad, a three-star guard/tackle who is rising up the boards of many schools following a dominant showing at the Semper Fi All-American Bowl.

Hammad has received offers from OU and TCU in the last week and Texas has also jumped in the mix although no official offer has been issued.

“It has been crazy,” Hammad said. “Stressful but a good crazy. A blessing. I’m excited. I have a lot of good options.”

Hammad was a one-time Oklahoma State commit before switching to the Bears. And though it looks like another switch might be imminent, Hammad isn’t as quick to say Baylor is out of it.

“They were my first offer. They offer kinesiology with smaller classes,” Hammad said. “It’s something that fits me really well. Baylor is talking to me a lot, and I know they don’t want me to go.”

He said the OU interest picked up considerably after the Semper Fi game. The problem has been people wondering if he’s a tackle or guard. At 6-foot-5, he has the height of a guard. But his film shows otherwise, showing great footwork and technique.

The Sooners don’t really care just as long as Hammad makes it to campus. He is scheduled to visit OU this weekend.

“OU has the most national championships of any school in the Big 12,” Hammad said. “They have the most conference championships. They’re doing things right. They don’t care if I’m guard or center.”

OU has been a school Hammad has eyed for a while. Problem is so is Texas. And though Hammad won’t come out and say it, it feels like he would be a Texas commit if the Longhorns do decide to make that offer.

If Hammad passes up OU, look out for Johnson. A former Purdue commit, Kittle has ramped up his efforts in a huge way with Johnson.

“He seems like a real good guy, somebody I can trust,” Johnson said. “I’ll have to see the campus and see how things are.”

That visit is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 25. It’s pure coincidence Johnson is from the same school as four-star athlete Devin Lauderdale, who took an official to OU last weekend.

Johnson, like Hammad, is going to be extremely busy here down the stretch with trips to Nebraska this weekend, then OU and then Arkansas to close out the month.

“Everything has been crazy, but that’s just the way it goes,” Johnson said. “I’m excited about what’s happening, and I just want to see where I might fit best.”

Also scheduled to take an official to OU that Jan. 25 weekend is Outlaw, a former Florida commit. But one tackle OU cannot get on campus again is Cochran.

The Sooners were able to get Cochran to Norman on Nov. 9 and now all OU can hope is he will not be swayed by schools in the future.

As much as Cochran loved OU, it’s his relationship with Kittle that has stood out the most.

“The way he’s so open about things and hearing his journey about how he got to OU is incredible,” Cochran said.

OU’s biggest competition appears to be Cal so Sooners fans will be holding their breath this weekend as Cochran is scheduled for his official to Cal this weekend.

Cochran said last month he had to get to know new Cal coach Sonny Dykes before he could make an informed decision. As much people think it’s a big deal his brother, Matt, is at Cal, Aaron said his decision is his decision.

If Cochran is still on the board following his Cal visit, it will be a good sign for the Sooners moving forward.

Over in the juco ranks, it’s tough to see OU landing Harrison. This feels like a two-horse race between Texas and Arizona State. Kittle visited Harrison in North Carolina recently, but it just doesn’t look like it’s in the cards.

Conversely, the timing might be right for OU and Finnin. The three-star prospect visited OU last weekend and said he had a great time.

Finnin is being absolutely hammered by in-home visits this week but did confirm OU is in his current top three. He has a visit to Nebraska this weekend and Marshall next weekend.

But visits don’t stop there. He said he has or will have in-home visits with OU (on Thursday), Nebraska, Maryland, Marshall and Kansas.

With defensive tackle shored up in the last month, offensive tackle and defensive back looks to be the top targeted positions for OU heading into signing day.

Romar latest DT offer for Sooners

OU defensive tackles coach Jackie Shipp has secured three commits in the last month. Job well done, right? Guess not. Shipp was back at it Wednesday, making an offer to another three-star tackle from Texas.

Port Arthur (Texas) Memorial coach Kenny Harrison confirmed that Shipp offered Matthew Romar on Wednesday afternoon.

OU linebackers coach Tim Kish has been the primary contact for Port Arthur Memorial, but with the offer getting closer and closer to the table, Shipp made the trip and issued the offer.

“His athleticism is what makes him such a special player,” Harrison said. “With his size, the way he’s able to move around is incredible.”

Harrison said OU is the latest in a number of schools who have started looking in Romar’s direction this month. Harrison said Missouri and TCU have also been talking with Romar on a consistent basis.

Romar is a defensive tackle, but Harrison illustrates his athleticism by the fact he had Romar playing tailback at times.

“There was one game where he had a 45-yard touchdown run,” Harrison said. “Now that’s what I’m talking about. It was a sight to see.”

Harrison said Romar, who is 6-foot-3 and 265 pounds and ranked No. 50 at defensive tackle, has visited Cincinnati and has developed a good relationship with the new Cincinnati coaching staff. Tentative plans are for Romar to visit OU and TCU although no set dates have been announced.

2014 LB with a new top two

(HornsNation's William Wilkerson let us re-purpose this note from today's The Heard).

There’s a new top two for ESPN Watch List linebacker Cameron Hampton (Dallas/Carter).

Texas and Oklahoma are the new favorites for the talented linebacker, and both schools stopped by to see him this week.

Max Olson/
Class of 2014 linebacker Cameron Hampton now has Texas and Oklahoma on top.

First, it was Longhorns head coach Mack Brown and recruiting coordinator Bruce Chambers, who stopped by on Monday morning.

“It was a good visit,” Hampton said. “They said, and this came out of his mouth, that I am No. 1 on their recruiting list. They could use me. They want me down at Texas and that they want me down on their junior day on the 10th."

Hampton did say that he would be able to make the junior day, which is shaping up to be a loaded day for the Longhorns.

The visit between the three was short but Texas left a lasting impression on him.

“It was cool to see them because I know head coaches don’t come out to the school unless it’s somebody important,” Hampton said.

On Tuesday Hampton saw a much more familiar face in Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell.

“He wanted to see me this morning before he left and wanted to invite me to their junior day on Feb. 2,” said Hampton, who should be able to make that junior day.

The recent visit from the Red River Rivals reaffirmed their positioning atop his list of favorites. Texas A&M used to be in the mix, but not so much anymore, according to him.

“I really don’t know about A&M anymore,” Hampton said. “That’s where I was going to commit to at first but I haven’t heard much from them anymore. So I don’t know if I’m going to their junior day.”

Ohio State and LSU are two other schools that Hampton is hearing from. Hampton said he spoke with Ohio State defensive line coach Mike Vrabel last week and LSU tight ends coach Steve Ensminger over the Christmas break. – William Wilkerson