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Friday, January 25, 2013
Recruiting faceoff: Biggest disappointment

By Bob Przybylo and Brandon Chatmon

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

This week’s question: OU has some work to do to close out its 2013 class, and some of it might not have a fix with this year’s cycle. Where have the Sooners made the most mistakes in 2013 recruiting?

Bob Przybylo: Offensive tackles coach Bruce Kittle cannot catch a break. He has put the Sooners in great position for several top prospects only to see every single one of them commit to other schools here down the stretch. But his inability to seal the deal is worrisome because it was the exact same scenario for the 2012 class when looking at names like Zach Banner. Four-star offensive tackle Aaron Cochran (Atwater, Calif./Buhach) is the latest to have OU in the mix but ended up committing to California. Kittle has a unique life story that appeals to recruits and their families, but it has yet to really garner the positive results on the trail needed for the Sooners at the position.

Brandon Chatmon: The Sooners' biggest mistake was their early decision not to bring in a interior offensive lineman. While the Sooners appeared stacked in the interior line in the spring of 2012, they still should have pursued at least one guard or center for this year's class. There should not be a year that passes without bringing in at least one interior lineman. Why? Because we all know not every recruit pans out and injures can derail a career quickly. So why not err on the side of caution instead of thinking you're set at a particular position?

Przybylo: That’s an interesting point because it was clear early OU wasn’t looking at guards and centers for this class. Why? We’ll never truly know, but offensive tackle was a point of emphasis. OU has offered nearly 30 tackles for this class, but the timing on some of them has been peculiar. Waiting too long has been the most common response. There were several recruits such as Dan Skipper (Arvada, Colo./Ralston Valley) and Jake Campos (West Des Moines, Iowa/West Des Moines) where the Sooners ended up offering a few months too late.

Chatmon: So it's worse to fail than not try at all? I disagree, mainly because the Sooners tend to find a way to put solid offensive tackles on the field. Thus, does missing out on "elite" targets at offensive tackle matter as much as it may appear? Lane Johnson wasn't a top recruit, neither was Daryl Williams, yet both players were solid at the tackle position for OU in 2012. But, if you don't even have someone -- anyone -- to groom at the interior line position, that's a problem. And OU's players at the position are mostly upperclassmen, with Kyle Marrs as the lone youngster in the mix. That's why OU needed to add another this February.

Przybylo: The 2012 class ended up with two guards (Marrs, John Michael McGee) and a center (Ty Darlington). McGee is now at Henderson State, so OU knew it had to have some tackle help for this class. But as of Jan. 25, I don’t believe OU has found the necessary amount of help. Not a knock against three-star Christian Daimler (Houston/Stratford) or ESPN JC 100 tackle Josiah St. John (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley). The Sooners needed massive assistance at OT. They received some but not enough, and there were plenty of targets OU could have made a bigger impression on.

Chatmon: Massive assistance? You must not be a big fan of Tyrus Thompson, Derek Farniok or Nathan Hughes. Did the Sooners need help? Absolutely. And I think St. John and Daimler fit the bill as immediate help along with long-term upside. Meanwhile at guard and center they have ... um, let me get back with you on that one. It puts OU in a tough position for its 2014 class because now they'll have to play catch-up and make their offensive interior line a top priority in their next class or risk having a major hole in the roster. And it all stems from a poor decision made early in the 2013 recruiting cycle.