Monday, January 21, 2013
OU surviving poaching season ... for now
By Bob Przybylo
Oklahoma is making a living out of flipping commitments for its 2013 class. The Sooners have done it five times out of their 20 commits.
And while OU coach Bob Stoops has been busy trying to get others to reconsider where they stand, other schools are making hard charges at some of Stoops’ prized recruits.
Katy, Texas, defensive end Matt Dimon is one of many Sooners commits that have repelled recent advances by Texas.
It was an interesting week, but so far so good for OU. A number of schools have looked in OU’s direction, and the Sooner commits are standing firm.
The more important of these was a trio of commits not listening to Texas. Despite OU’s recent dominance in the Red River Rivalry, the recruiting trail hasn’t been kind to the Sooners when it has been down to OU and the Longhorns.
The last month, however, has been quite kind to Stoops and company. It started around Christmas when word got out that Texas was eyeing ESPN 300 defensive end Matt Dimon (Katy, Texas/Katy).
It wouldn’t be crazy to say Dimon has been the face and the voice of this year’s class. He has been vocal about supporting Oklahoma. And when all the Texas rumors started swirling, Dimon was confused because he said he is still 100 percent with OU.
Since those statements in late-December, the rumors with Dimon have slowed down considerably. Dimon will release a few pro-OU tweets and everybody backs off.
But Texas has looked at other OU commits, including a couple of wide receivers in the last week. Tuesday could have been a doomsday for the Sooners, as the Longhorns offered ESPN 300 commit Dannon Cavil (San Antonio/Madison) and three-star athlete Austin Bennett (Manvel, Texas/Manvel).
Both had reasons to look at Texas. Cavil committed to OU just the day before, but Texas is where his entire family went to school and where his cousin, Kwame Cavil, once starred.
Cavil explained, though, that OU has always been his dream school. And after flipping to OU from California on Monday, he was ready to wear the crimson and cream.
Would keeping Cavil lead to a reason for Bennett to look elsewhere? The answer was a defiant "No." Bennett acted as if he didn’t even understand why people thought he would be looking at Texas just because it offered.
When Bennett was a freshman and sophomore, he would have loved to have been the guy for Texas. He said Texas assistant Major Applewhite told him he would be their guy. But the interest waned, and OU came in hard and fast and has stayed that way.
Even though OU now has four wide receiver commits in a class where it didn’t even look like it was going to take three, Bennett is showing OU the loyalty it has shown to him since the spring.
No second guessing. No visit to Austin. Bennett is sticking with OU.
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This recruiting cycle has seen a lot of OU targets be swayed by what Kevin Sumlin is doing at Texas A&M. Two of OU’s top defensive targets, Dallas Kimball tackle Justin Manning and Dallas Jesuit linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni, both chose the Aggies instead of the Sooners.
So when A&M knocked on the door of OU’s three-star offensive tackle commit Christian Daimler (Houston/Stratford), OU fans were ready for another switch. But it didn’t happen. The Aggies looked in Daimler’s way, but he said his heart belongs to OU and there will be no visit to College Station.
And then there’s the case of three-star athlete commit Dominique Alexander (Tulsa, Okla./Booker T. Washington). Originally an Arkansas commit, he switched to the Sooners two weeks after earning his OU offer.
He had an in-home visit with OU coach Bob Stoops last week, so it was a shock to learn he made an official visit to Arkansas over the weekend.
For now, Alexander remains an OU commit. He admitted the Arkansas visit has given him something to think about. Alexander has also been among the most vocal of OU commits so it will be interesting to see what happens from here.
As Alexander shows, OU isn’t out of the woods just yet. There are still two more weeks until national signing day on Feb. 6. And more schools are likely to try to swoop in and take what OU has.
OU commits have remained strong during this first go-around. The bond that has been developed on visits with other recruits and coaches is keeping them at OU.
Some can question OU’s recruiting approach for 2013, a patient and methodical plan of attack. But the honesty the coaches have shown throughout the spring and summer and fall is paying off in January. It will have to for OU to finish its Class of 2013 in the strongest way possible.