Monday, March 11, 2013
OU taking a different spring approach
By Bob Przybylo
If anybody was hoping for a multiple commitment weekend from Oklahoma’s second junior day, they are certainly disappointed.
But if you looked at the junior day visitors list, it became apparent the weekend was only going to be eventful if the Sooners coaching staff wanted it to be.
With less than 20 confirmed junior day visitors, it wasn’t what the recruiting world has come to expect from a junior day.
And the headline from OU’s junior day? Well, there was no headline. There were no commitments, and maybe more surprisingly, there were no new offers.
Allen, Texas, linebacker Tay Evans, the son of a former Oklahoma basketball player, is still awaiting an OU offer.
A couple of possible commitments were on the board. Dallas Bishop Dunne athlete Ronnie Larue and linebacker Tay Evans (Allen, Texas/Allen) had made statements earlier in the week that it was possible a commitment was on the horizon.
The biggest obstacle in that equation is offers -- neither prospect had one. After junior day, that fact remains the same. Larue has stated the Sooners are his top school and Evans has a big-time link to OU because his father played basketball there. But both were told further evaluation is needed before an offer is issued.
A lot of offered prospects were at the event, including several ESPN Watch List prospects, but there was never an indicator that any of them were ready to commit. And if you’re not ready to commit, then it won’t happen at OU.
One thing that has been consistent in the last couple of recruiting cycles is the Sooners coaches aren’t going to pressure anybody. Watch List prospect Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) said that’s one thing he loved about his visit – the genuine approach of the coaches with no pressure being put on him for a decision.
Watch List wide receiver K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) remains near the top of OU’s target board. Getting him back on campus this weekend wasn’t about getting his pledge but about staying in the conversation of what is going to be a long battle for Cannon.
The patient approach is the same, but OU’s philosophy in the spring is something that is different. There weren’t 30-40 recruits on campus because the OU coaches didn’t want 30-40 recruits on campus.
The plan looks to be to make the most out of potential unofficial visits to see spring practice. Watch List quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./North) was told by OU quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel that junior day wasn’t as important as getting some quality one-on-one time at a spring practice.
Houston Lamar safety John Bonney sees it the same way. He isn’t stressing out about missing both of OU’s junior days because he knows he can make up any ground with a trip to spring practice.
Last year, OU slipped up by waiting too long to offer prospects. That hasn’t been the case this season as the OU coaches have been a lot more active on that front. The strategy has only netted two commits so far, but the Sooners are in much better position with several recruits compared to this time last year.
So it didn’t provide the number of recruits at a Texas junior day. And it didn’t provide the fireworks of a three-commitment weekend, as Texas A&M had last weekend. The Sooners coaching staff is confident their approach will work out, and Saturday was the start of what should be an interesting month of spring practices.