Friday, March 8, 2013
OU junior day is all about quality
By Bob Przybylo
Texas A&M continued its hot streak on the recruiting trail by nabbing three more commitments at its second junior day last weekend.
Hours away from Oklahoma’s second junior day, it doesn’t feel like the Sooners are going to net those same results.
OU’s first junior day in February included a bevy of top recruits who saw the campus. Numerous offers were given, and safety Vontre McQuinnie (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) committed.
The buzz hasn’t been nearly as big heading into Saturday, but here are some storylines about how this weekend is developing.
Junior day fatigue
At this point in March, most schools have gone through their second junior day. In recent weeks, Texas, LSU, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State have all had their junior days.
The Sooners have a lot of ground to make up with Watch List LB Gyasi Akem, who lists OSU as his leader, and it starts at OU's junior day this weekend.
The result? Recruits are tired and need a break. OU wide receiver commit Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City) has been at Texas and Texas A&M on the last two weekends.
His father, Darreck, said the family needs some rest and will bypass this one, but a visit to OU is definitely in the cards in the near future.
ESPN Watch List wide receiver K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) has also been busy. He said he still might attend OU’s junior day, but he has been to almost every single nearby campus in the last couple of months.
Been there, seen that
OU has done a great job of interacting with the top Oklahoma and Texas high school products for the Class of 2014. From unofficial visits to the first junior day, an incredible number of prospects either have the offer, have seen the campus, or both.
It’s simply not a major blow if Watch List defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) is not able to make it to campus this weekend.
He has been there several times, and it’s clear OU is in the hunt with him and should get another visit before the end of spring.
New regime needs time to gel
Not only is Saturday junior day, but it’s the first day of OU’s spring practices. With three new coaches on staff, maybe it’s not the best idea to have a multitude of recruits on campus while everybody is still trying to get comfortable.
Saturday will mark the first OU practice for defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery, offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and tight ends and special teams coach Jay Boulware.
The quality is still there
Just because 30 to 40 names haven’t been confirmed for junior day, it doesn’t mean there isn’t some serious talent coming to Norman this weekend.
Here are five recruits to watch for:
Watch List OLB Gyasi Akem (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow): OU has made a nice impression on several in-state stars but neglected Akem for a long time. Oklahoma State is the leader in the clubhouse, but now the Sooners will try to sway Akem to the crimson and cream. Akem was not invited to any of the home games in 2012, which made his January offer all that more surprising. Akem is open to OU, and it’s crucial for OU to make that imprint.
Watch List TE Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain): Andrews said he doesn’t plan on committing to OU at junior day, but the Sooners can put themselves in great position. Andrews grew up an OU fan, his brother attends medical school at OU, and he has been in consistent communication with the OU coaching staff. The Sooners originally saw Andrews as a wide receiver. After seeing him in person, will that still be the case, or will tight end be his future?
DT Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio/Warren): The 2013 class saw OU fall short with so many top defensive tackle prospects. In the last couple of weeks some top targets come off the board. The Sooners cannot let Lealaimatafao slip away. OU has liked him for a while. And once the Montgomery hire was made official, he worked hard on Lealaimatafao. It has paid off with the visit. Will it pay off with a commitment?
OT Jovan Pruitt (Dallas/Bishop Dunne): Pruitt’s stock has soared so much in recent weeks, but he hasn't been all that active on the junior day circuit. He said his biggest goal for the weekend is to get to know Bedenbaugh better because he had a solid connection with former OU offensive line coaches James Patton and Bruce Kittle. Pruitt's Bishop Dunne teammate ATH Ronnie Larue will join him at OU's junior day.
LB Tay Evans (Allen, Texas/Allen): Teammate Christian Sam is also coming, and he has an OU offer. If Evans gets an offer, the Sooners might get a commitment. His father played basketball at OU, and he is very excited about this opportunity. Evans has some quality offers already, but he said an OU offer would change things dramatically. And talking to him more, there is a good chance the Sooners can gobble up Evans with a solid impression Saturday.