Thursday, January 31, 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:
ESPN 300 athlete is torn between the Sooners and an ACC school
Recent offensive tackle visitors are weighing their options
Class of 2014 in-state quarterback is looking for answers from the Sooners
Class of 2014 in-state defensive back is becoming more comfortable with Mike Stoops
A junior safety is eyeing OU
Will the Sooners take a tight end in this class?
Read the Sooner Intel after the jump.
Baker still torn between OU, Clemson
There are certain days when ESPN 300 athlete Adrian Baker (Hollywood, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna) wakes up and knows Oklahoma is the choice for him. Then there are others where he’s positive Clemson should be his choice.
Tom Hauck for ESPN.com
ESPN 300 athlete Adrian Baker will announce his decision on signing day.
Less than a week away from national signing day, Baker said he still honestly has no idea which program he’s going to sign with.
Any hope of in-home visits by Clemson’s Brent Venables and Dabo Swinney and OU’s Bob and Mike Stoops clearing things up are gone. All visits are in the books and nothing is settled.
“Both programs are so great,” Baker said. “Nothing really changed at all from the in-home visits. OU was here two weeks ago. Clemson was here last week. I just go back and forth like crazy.”
Baker was a one-time Florida State commit who gave another look at OU and Clemson following coaching changes with the Seminoles. After taking official visits to both OU and Clemson in December, he decommitted.
Baker said the only thing that sets the schools apart is location, but he remains adamant distance is not a big part of the equation.
“Coach Stoops, both of them, their track record speaks for itself,” Baker said. “But then Coach Venables and Coach Swinney are doing big things at Clemson and has that program on the rise.
“There is nothing that sets either program apart. In the end, it’s going to be about where I want to be.”
Baker said his plan is to call the coaches at both schools on Tuesday -- the day before signing day -- and will then announce to the world Wednesday morning.
“The schools will definitely know. I have to give them that respect because they’ve both been very respectful to me,” Baker said.
Romar at home with Sooners
Three-star defensive tackle Matthew Romar (Port Arthur, Texas/Memorial) really intended to visit TCU this weekend. But following a great OU official visit and in-home visit by OU coach Bob Stoops, his decision was done.
Romar committed to OU, giving the Sooners four defensive tackle commits in six weeks. Port Arthur Memorial coach Kenny Harrison said Romar felt comfortable with OU.
“He just feels like OU is the best place for him,” Harrison said. “I’m proud of the way he’s handled everything. He hasn’t given interviews, but his values have been great.
“He wanted to see how everything would go. He never just jumped at the first offer. He looked at all options.”
Harrison said Romar will not visit TCU this weekend and is set with being a Sooner. Romar was initially recruited by linebackers coach Tim Kish before Jackie Shipp took over in the last month.
Building up that relationship with both coaches played a big role. And then Stoops sealed the deal with the Monday visit.
“He has a lot of respect for Coach Stoops and his staff,” Harrison said. “Being real, though, when Coach Stoops comes to your house, you can’t say no to him. That’s a no-brainer there, right?”
Moore a signing day decision?
Signing day could be a day of great triumph or frustration for the Sooners. Not only is Baker hanging in the balance, so, too, is four-star cornerback L.J. Moore (Fresno, Calif./Central East).
The Sooners made their last stand with Moore on Tuesday night via an in-home visit from Mike Stoops. California did the same on Monday, following Moore’s unofficial visit to Cal last weekend.
Oregon State and Arizona State both remain in the picture. ASU did pick up the commitment of ESPN JC 100 cornerback Damarious Randall (Mesa, Ariz./Mesa CC) last week so that might factor into things.
Oregon jumped into the picture, too, but as of right now it appears it was too little and too late for the Ducks. Oregon offered Moore on Monday night, but Moore said he just wasn’t sure if he wanted to add another school at this point in time.
“As schools keep looking at L.J., they’re starting to realize how valuable he can be,” Fresno Central East defensive backs coach Tony Perry said. “He is still handling everything in a very mature fashion. Whatever school gets him is going to be lucky.”
Moore is tentatively set to announce on signing day.
Adeosun weighing options
If only he had another month to decide, but that’s about the only complaint right now for offensive tackle George Adeosun (Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta).
Adeosun, a three-star prospect, made his official visit to OU last weekend and was admittedly blown away by everything. But right now everything is moving a bit too fast for him to stay focused.
Three-star offensive tackle George Adeosun has picked up several offers over the last two weeks.
One of the best parts of OU’s visits for the recruits is when they put on the OU jersey for the first time. A number of recruits talk about how special it is, but few did it in the way Adeosun described the experience.
“I have no idea if I’ll be at OU, no idea right now,” Adeosun said. “But for one moment, one brief moment, I was a Sooner. I was a part of that special fraternity. I saw what hard work can accomplish. That was a proud moment.”
As illustrated by now, Adeosun is worried just as much about academics as he is about pancaking defenders. OU is not known as an academic powerhouse, but Adeosun said he feels a lot more comfortable about a potential future at OU.
“The alumni that have come through is impressive,” Adeosun said. “Because of the alumni, OU actually offers more opportunities that some of those other schools. There are a lot of engineering opportunities in the area.”
Adeosun picked up offers from Kentucky, Purdue and Missouri last week. This week it has been Arizona State and Georgia Tech.
He wants to make another visit this weekend, but he’s not sure where. What he is sure about is his decision to take these visits by himself. No parents, no siblings, on his own.
“My two sisters and my dad are my best advisors, but they can’t help me on the visits,” Adeosun said. “I’m a very introverted person, which can be a good or bad thing. When I’m by myself on these visits, it’s the purest form of thought I have. It’s my instinct, not being influenced by anybody.”
OU’s other tackle options
Adeosun is not the lone tackle on the board for OU. Four-star tackle Josh Outlaw (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) remains a high priority.
The tough thing about Outlaw is how OU can distinguish itself when it is simply one of four visits he is taking in a three-week span.
Outlaw said he had a great time and developed an even deeper relationship with OU coaches Bruce Kittle and Bob Stoops.
But it’s more than likely the same thing is being done at trips to TCU, Missouri and Texas Tech. The Sooners telling him flat out they want him at tackle is a big plus, though, and has Outlaw excited about the possibility of playing for OU.
The Sooners also went the juco route earlier this week with an offer to Baylor commit Dionte Savage (Yuma, Ariz./Arizona Western).
Savage committed to the Bears last week but is active on the trail. He took a visit to Texas Tech last weekend, just finished a trip to Kansas and will see OU this weekend.
Savage was originally going to see West Virginia this weekend, but the Sooners have swooped in here late to get a visit. As of now, Savage is the lone official visitor of the weekend.
“I want to see what OU is all about,” Savage said. “I’m not going to go to OU just because it’s OU, though. It won’t work like that. I need to go someplace where I can start.”
OU’s reputation got the Sooners in the door. Savage admitted he picked OU instead of West Virginia because of OU’s tradition. But since he only has two years to play two, program prestige will only go so far.
OU assistant coach Josh Heupel got in touch with Savage on Tuesday after several days of trying to reach Savage when he was on official visits.
The conversation with Heupel on Tuesday was the first talk Savage has had with any OU coaches.
“Baylor was my first Big 12 offer like 3 to 4 weeks ago,” Savage said. “Then Texas Tech. Then West Virginia. Then Kansas. Then Kansas State. Now OU. It has been crazy.”
Hansen hoping for answers
Watch List quarterback Justice Hansen could earn a Sooners offer.
Three weeks ago it looked like a disaster for OU to postpone its junior day. But now two days away from the event, well, it appears the postponement didn't hurt all that much.
Numerous ESPN Watch List prospects are still making the trip, including in-state quarterback Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe).
Hansen has been a favorite of OU fans for the last two years. Perhaps he’s the favorite of OU coach Josh Heupel, but Heupel isn’t showing his hand just yet.
Hansen hopes that will change this weekend.
“I just want to talk to the coaches more, especially Coach Heupel,” Hansen said. “I’m hoping he can let me know the status of an offer and the style of play. With Landry Jones gone, I want to know the direction of the offense.”
Hansen has been invited to Florida State’s junior day. But because of the massive coaching changes with the Seminoles, he doesn’t have a contact.
“It’s weird. I got the invite, but I have no idea who I’m supposed to talk to,” Hansen said.
Growing up in Oklahoma, Hansen has been told by friends and classmates how he’ll be the next Sam Bradford. Now lately it’s A&M fans telling him he’ll be the next Johnny Manziel.
“It’s crazy hearing people talk like that, but it makes me realize how close this really is coming to happening,” Hansen said. “I don’t have a timetable for my decision. When I’m comfortable, I’ll know it.”
Parker, Stoops getting more comfortable
Nobody was more shocked when Mike Stoops offered safety Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) in May than Parker himself.
That shock has gone away following an incredible junior season as Parker has earned a spot in the ESPN Watch List and will also be at OU’s junior day.
But this won’t be his first visit with Stoops. No, that is starting to become a regular thing for Parker and Stoops.
“He has been visiting me a lot here lately,” Parker said. “He has been to the school like three or four times in the last two weeks. We talk on the phone a lot. It’s a great relationship.”
One of the things stressed to Parker by Stoops is position. Parker was a tweener this season. He played safety, but he could also play cornerback.
Not anymore. It’s clear where his calling is.
“I didn’t know if I would like it at first, but it has really worked out,” Parker said. “After watching film, Coach Stoops said safety is definitely my natural position. That’s given me a lot of confidence to know he thinks I can play safety at OU.”
Parker said interest is starting to build at other schools. Kansas and Florida State have entered the picture, while he recently picked up an LSU junior day offer, too.
In the past, Parker has expressed his desire to commit to OU but then backed off. This weekend he’s not looking to commit.
“I want to tour the campus more and see more things. I want to talk to the coaches and hang out with other Jenks players,” Parker said. “This weekend is about fun and getting to know other recruits.”
Parker wanted to be at Oklahoma State’s junior day last weekend, but Jenks had a basketball tournament so he didn't attend.
Alexander on the rise
Following a stellar performance at OU's summer camp, it looked like wide receiver Nick Alexander (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) was going to blow up this season.
SoonerNation Recruit Tracker
Stay up to date on Oklahoma's 2013 commits, targets and offers. Tracker: Defense | Offense
But it didn’t really happen. Alexander, who is 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, did earn a Washington offer this week and is in the ESPN Watch List. He plans to be at OU’s junior day.
“It was great to get the offer from Washington,” Alexander said. “It let me know I’m doing something right, but I still have a lot more work to do.”
Alexander was a star of OU’s three-day camp in the summer and was offered by OU wide receivers coach Jay Norvell the next day. This weekend will give him another chance to connect with Norvell.
“It was only three days, but he taught me a lot and gave me a lot of confidence,” Alexander said. “I’m excited to spend more time with him again.”
Alexander is one of two Lancaster recruits expected to be on hand as OU has also offered outside linebacker Vontre McQuinnie earlier this week.
Adams eyeing Sooners
If you can’t find a quality Texas high school defensive back for the 2014 class, then you’re simply not trying. It’s remarkable at how deep this class is.
One of those more under the radar names is safety Kendall Adams (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal), who is expected to be at OU’s junior day.
And as Adams tells SoonerNation's Brandon Chatmon, he was hoping for this invite.
“Oklahoma has interest in me, but they have not offered me yet,” Adams said. “Oklahoma is a school I have wanted to go to before anyone else so if they offered me a scholarship that would be great.”
Adams is a teammate of quarterback Foster Sawyer, who is also attending junior day. But this won’t be Adams’ first trek to Norman, having seen OU twice this season. Unfortunately for OU, Adams saw the Sooners’ two losses to Kansas State and Notre Dame.
“The coaches seem like really great guys, and I went to a couple of games this year,” Adams said. “It seems like a really great atmosphere. I liked being on the field for warmups and seeing how loose the coaches allowed them to be. The fans were extremely loud. That’s always good.”
Deane ready for first taste of OU
Nobody was more excited about going to OU’s junior day three weeks ago than tight end MikeQuan Deane (Tulsa, Okla./Memorial). And nobody was more disappointed when it was postponed.
But that’s OK because Deane cannot wait to get that opportunity this weekend.
“I’ve never been to OU at all. I can’t wait to go there and see everything,” Deane said. “Never had the chance.”
Deane has been recruited by OU tight ends coach Bruce Kittle and said Kittle’s modesty has really stood out to him.
Deane said he has no expectations for this weekend. Does he want an offer? Of course, but that’s not his expectation. Because if it was and he didn’t get one, he said he would feel disappointed.
This weekend is about relationships.
“I have to learn how the coaches are,” Deane said. “The relationships and chemistry on and off the field -- that’s what important. And of course, I want to see the facilities.”
Cornwell on OU’s radar
The question has been asked for months, but there was no valid answer. Why wasn’t OU pursuing ESPN Watch List quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./North)? Though he is right in OU’s backyard, OU coach Josh Heupel was seemingly very passive toward Cornwell.
That all changed last Friday as Heupel spent nearly an hour with Cornwell and got the Sooners right back into the mix. Cornwell didn’t ask why it took OU so long.
“No, no, I didn’t do anything like that,” Cornwell said. “Besides he said before it might take a while before anything happened. Each coach works at a different pace and has a different method. I’m just glad he’s looking again.”
Cornwell was invited to this weekend’s junior day, but his plans were already set. And much like the regular season, it’s an ambitious set of plans.
He was at Alabama last weekend. He is going to Tulsa on Friday morning, then heading to Indiana for the weekend. Next weekend it’s a trip to UCLA.
It’s possible Cornwell could attend OU’s second junior day, but what Heupel stressed more than anything was making it for a spring practice or two.
“He said that would be very beneficial because we could look at film, and I could see how things are done and stuff of that nature,” Cornwell said.
Cornwell picked up offers from Virginia Tech and Washington State last week and is near the top of the board for both Michigan and Alabama.
Clark waiting for OU call
Tom Hauck for ESPN.com
Class of 2014 DE Sekou Clark is still looking for his first offer.
Class of 2014 defensive end Sekou Clark (Denton, Texas/Ryan) is trying to remain optimistic, but he’s not sure what’s going on right now.
Clark has camped at OU the last three summers but as of now has not been invited to OU’s junior day. He hopes the call comes. If not for this one, then at least for the next one.
“I wish I could tell you I’ve been invited,” Clark said. “If I was, I would definitely be going. Right now I haven’t heard anything.”
Clark had a solid junior season that has put him on the radar of even more schools and excelled at a camp Sunday in Lancaster, Texas.
OU has seemingly had the inside track on Clark for a long time. But the longer the Sooners don’t offer, the more a chance somebody else can swoop on in. And somebody has.
“LSU has invited me to their junior day so I’m definitely going to check that out,” Clark said. “I’m just being patient and worrying about the things I can control.”
Bonney high on Sooners
Another Texas high school safety who is starting to rack up offers is Houston Lamar’s John Bonney. He was offered by OU last week and invited to junior day. Because of a basketball tournament, he cannot attend. But he definitely has OU on the brain.
“I love the Sooners and have loved getting to know the coaches there,” Bonney said. “I know they have a second junior day later. I’ll try to get to that one. If I can’t, I know I’m going to at least hit a spring practice or two.”
Bonney said he has been in constant contact with the Sooners since the summer when OU had a satellite camp in the Houston area.
All four are turning out to live up to their billing. Brown is a Watch List recruit, while Parker is committed to A&M and Bennett to the Sooners.
“I just remember how intense that was,” Bonney said. “There were us four, and they separated us from everybody else. It was a battle.”
Wilson a TE possibility?
At times it has appeared that OU wants a tight end for its 2013 class. At others, it looks like Sooners are fine with a goose egg for the group. If there is one tight end out there, it’s juco product Javon Wilson (Scottsdale, Ariz./Scottsdale CC).
Wilson, a three-star prospect who is 6-4 and 260 pounds, would love the opportunity to visit OU. He has a lot of contact with OU tight ends coach Bruce Kittle but no offer and no visit.
“I talk to Coach Kittle a lot. I’m just sort of waiting to see what they decide,” Wilson said. “I would love the chance to visit.”
Wilson is hearing from Washington State, Missouri and Kansas State, too. His recruitment was picking up steam during the season until he tore his meniscus. He said his rehab is going well, and he’s on pace to be ready and healthy by April.
His interest in OU sort of came by accident, but it has stuck for a while now.
“It started back in 2008 when OU played in the national championship against Florida,” Wilson said. “My friend was Florida, and I went for OU, and it took off from there.
“I’ve seen Coach Kittle and Coach [Tim] Kish at the school a couple of times. I’ve seen how they flex out their tight end in certain situations. I have the versatility to do whatever it takes as a blocker or receiver.”
The only question left is does OU want a tight end in the class, or are there too many other positions where more emphasis must be put on at this stage of the game?