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Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Martin is OU's top target at tight end

By Bob Przybylo

NORMAN, Okla. -- During the 2012 season, it was easy to forget that Oklahoma had tight ends on its roster. Though the Sooners have had a rich tradition at the position, they didn’t look to utilize any of their players as OU tight ends combined for just three catches all season.

A season like that is not what OU fans think of when it comes to former tight end stars such as Keith Jackson and Jermaine Gresham.

Koda Martin
The Sooners like Koda Martin at tight end while other schools -- and ESPN's scouts -- see him as a future offensive tackle.
It was obvious the Sooners needed help for their 2013 class, but OU didn’t find it. OU missed out on every top tight end target it sought, from junior college targets to the best of the high school crop. All that has done is make the Class of 2014 that much more important. There cannot be a whiff on the trail this time around.

Out is former tight ends coach Bruce Kittle and in is Jay Boulware. Will he have the luck Kittle didn’t? Some top targets have already emerged as Boulware gets more comfortable at OU.

TE Trenton Ball (Midwest City, Okla./Carl Albert)

Ball will be an interesting prospect to watch going forward. He was a favorite of Kittle as Kittle came out and said Ball was his third choice at the position in February. The next day, Kittle was fired and the reset button has been pressed.

So far Ball has not had any contact with the Sooners since Boulware has taken over. Ball fared well at the Nike Football Training Combine on Sunday and his interest is picking up.

Kansas State and Missouri are among the schools jumping into the mix. Ball won’t put up big numbers at the ultimate run-first school of Midwest City Carl Albert, but he’s still finding a way to become a target.

TE Ian Bunting (Hindsale, Ill./Central)

Bunting is OU’s most recent offer at the position, but the Sooners have a lot of work to do if they’re going to stay in the race. Midwest powers such as Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame have already developed that strong connection with Bunting.

Like a lot of non-regional prospects, it’s going to be about getting him on campus. But right now there hasn’t been any discussion of seeing Norman, Okla.

ESPN Watch List OT Koda Martin (Manvel, Texas/Manvel)

You didn’t read that wrong, yes, offensive tackle. Martin, who is 6-foot-6 and 247 pounds, is OU’s top target at the position. He was invited to OU’s junior day last year as a sophomore and has made several trips to campus.

The latest came this weekend as Martin and 2015 tight end offer Jordan Davis (Houston/Clear Lake) both were on campus. The visit was important because it was the first time Martin has had quality time with Boulware.

With schools such as Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, among numerous others, it won’t be easy for OU to win this race. But it’s clear if the Sooners could only win one race at tight end, they want it to be with Martin.

TE Payton Prince (Norman, Okla./North)

A new name for the list. Prince is starting to realize his potential and is starting to put things together. Already with offers from Tulsa and Memphis, Prince is expected to be at OU’s spring game Saturday.

He didn’t have a relationship with Kittle so there is no starting over with Boulware. This weekend could be the start of Prince and the Sooners becoming more synonymous with each other.

ESPN Watch List TE Nic Weishar (Chicago/Marist)

The Sooners made an early impression with Weishar, but there’s no telling if that will keep OU in the hunt as we move toward the spring evaluation period.

Weishar took an unofficial visit to OU for Bedlam against Oklahoma State, but like Bunting, he’s loaded with offers from all the top regional schools.

OU is starting to target the Chicago area more, and Weishar is a product of that search. Either way, this is a long way away from being over.