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Friday, January 18, 2013
Recruiting faceoff: OU's top target left?

By Bob Przybylo

Each week SoonerNation recruiting writers Bob Przybylo and Brandon Chatmon will face off on one issue regarding Oklahoma recruiting.

This week’s question: Of OU’s top 10 #BlueChipBattles, who is the most important target to secure for the 2013 class?

L.J. Moore
Four-star cornerback L.J. Moore would give the Sooners a big boost in the secondary.
Bob Przybylo: Ooh, a number of good choices just like last week. But if OU can only land one top-notch recruit, it has to be ESPN 300 athlete Adrian Baker (Hollywood, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna). He brings this class together in the secondary. Sooners are locked down at safety with three-star commit Ahmad Thomas (Miami/Central) and ESPN 300 safety Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Calif./Central East). If Baker and ESPN 300 athlete Stanvon Taylor (Tulsa, Okla./East Central) are OU’s answers to cornerbacks for the 2013 class, then Mike Stoops has done his job. But it’s not done, and it’s going to be a big-time race between OU and Clemson here in the next three weeks.

Brandon Chatmon: I'd agree the Sooners need some secondary help, but I'm going to go with cornerback L.J. Moore (Fresno, Calif./Central East). The value of quality cornerbacks in Mike Stoops system is apparent. No more so than when Stoops moved Aaron Colvin to cornerback after he led OU in tackles at safety in 2011. True enough the Sooners already have Taylor but you can never have too many quality cover cornerbacks in the Big 12 and the position is vital in Stoops system. That's why Moore gets the nod.

Przybylo: We’re both looking at defensive backs. So my question is it because the secondary is the biggest question left for OU’s 2013 class? Or is it because OU’s most realistic top targets are in the secondary and not at offensive tackle? Getting Moore and/or Baker is big for national perception. OU and Mike Stoops, in particular, need to show the Sooners can still win battles for top defensive backs that are ESPN 300-quality recruits.

Chatmon: Defensive backs are important because this is the Big 12 Conference in 2012. Teams spread you out and try to take advantage of matchups and OU needs to be ready for that. There are plenty of other potential needs on the roster but the combination of a quality prospect and need mix together better at offensive line, defensive line or linebacker. Moore is most important because he's a quality prospect at a need position. And his signature would be the continuation of what could emerge as a critical pipeline at Fresno Central East. Two strong reasons why he's the guy on the list.

Przybylo: The Fresno Central East pipeline is a great point. When you think about 2013 recruits Moore and Byrd to go with 2014 studs like Michiah Quick, Devon Brewer and Fresno Central East alum Tee Shepard. But Baker is somebody the Sooners have coveted for a long time. And after all the twists and turns and ups and downs, it would be a major letdown for OU to once again be on the outside looking in for an ESPN 300 athlete. It’s also a fun battle between Mike Stoops for OU against longtime OU assistant Brent Venables, who is one of the main recruiters for Baker at Clemson.

Chatmon: Baker is a valuable asset without question. But the combination of Moore's talent and a potential California pipeline rich with quality young talent is too much to ignore. It would be great to win a head-to-head battle with Brent Venables, but it's more important to land Moore a potentially see the fruits of the Sooners labor pay off for years to come.

Editor’s note: Your turn. Vote on who is OU’s most important target remaining on the SoonerNation forum.