Friday, April 19, 2013
Sooner Intel: Recruiting news and notes
By Bob Przybylo
Every Friday, 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:
The three things OU commit Todd looked for when deciding to pledge.
OU's top tight end target gets to know his possible future position coach.
OU's running back commit is still hearing from the Longhorns.
A top in-state target couldn't stay at the spring game long, but he talked to Bob and Mike Stoops before the game.
It was a full-court press on Saturday for a top Texas offensive tackle.
The Sooners had a lineman from Wyoming at the spring game.
Receivers coach Jay Norvell compares a Florida receiver to a former Sooners star.
OU is in a good position with a 2015 in-state stud.
Read the Sooner Intel after the jump.
No doubting Todd’s commitment
There were three things in the checklist for ESPN Watch List wide receiver Dallis Todd (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada). He wasn’t going to commit to a school unless it met all three qualifications. OU met all three and Todd committed on Monday.
The school needed to have a good academic program as Todd is looking to study sports medicine. Check.
ESPN Watch List receiver Dallis Todd isn't taking any more visits.
He needed to build a good relationship with the coaching staff. Todd said he has grown close with OU coaches Jay Boulware, Jay Norvell and Bob Stoops. Check.
And he needed to go to a school that could use him effectively in the offense. With OU’s track record with receivers, Todd felt confident this was a check, too.
Todd said on Saturday night that he needed to go home and discuss things with his family and then he would commit. It sure looked like it would happen Sunday, but Todd didn’t get home until Monday morning. A discussion with his parents was followed by calls to the OU coaches.
“I was surprised Coach Norvell didn’t have a heart attack with how loud he was cheering,” Todd said. “Coach Stoops was happy, too. It was a great moment.”
Todd visited OU on his own so his parents never got a chance to meet the OU coaches. Even though his parents were supportive of Todd becoming a Sooner, there was still something that needed to be done.
“My mom had a good conversation with Coach Stoops,” Todd said. “I have no idea what was said, but after she got off the phone, she had no more doubts.”
The last couple of months have been a whirlwind for Todd, who has more than 30 offers. With a coveted recruit like that, it’s only natural for OU fans to wonder just how firm the commitment is.
Todd had been considering a visit to Ohio State this weekend. That visit is off and so are any other potential ones in the future.
“I wasn’t planning on getting this done so early but everything fit so well,” Todd said. “It feels great because I’m going to enroll early and now I can just focus on my senior season.”
Todd said everything changed Saturday when he had a 45-minute one-on-one conversation with Stoops that made him realize that OU was where he wanted to be.
Another thing working in OU’s favor was the bond that quickly developed between Todd and fellow OU commit quarterback Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe).
Hansen, ranked No. 94 in the ESPN 150, committed to OU on Saturday and spent most of the day with Todd. The two have grown into fast friends.
“I was amazed at how fast we connected,” Todd said. “I watched his highlight film, and he’s a beast. We text and talk every day now.”
Hansen family can relax
Entering last weekend's spring game, all eyes were on Hansen. Would he attend OU or Texas A&M? The drama was done early Saturday morning when his mom tweeted a picture of Hansen standing with OU quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel.
The Sooners got their quarterback, and now the Hansen family can go back to normal.
“It’s exciting for me because I’m excited for Justice,” said Dusty Hansen, Justice’s father. “This was a decision he needed to make for himself. Not because of me or anything like that. I’m proud of the way he handled all the conversations with the coaches and reporters.”
There was always a lot of speculation that Justice would end up at OU because of Dusty. His father played baseball for OU and was a member of OU’s 1994 College World Series championship team.
OU holds a special place in Dusty’s heart. But he made sure he didn’t intrude on his son’s decision.
“I didn’t want to tell him what to do,” Dusty Hansen said. “He’s got to live with it. Justice is very humble, but he’s also a decision maker. This was something he had to do.”
When Justice did pick the Sooners, though, the party could begin. Not just for Dusty but for the whole family.
“It was a very special day and extremely emotional day, especially for my wife,” Dusty Hansen said. “She’s an even bigger OU fan than I am. To see it happen live is something I won’t forget.
“We were fortunate enough to get some pictures, and it’s really special. It’s a new chapter for him, and we’re so proud of him. It’s going to be a fun ride.”
Martin gets familiar with Boulware
It’s no secret Koda Martin (Manvel, Texas/Manvel) is OU’s top target at tight end. But with Bruce Kittle no longer the tight ends coach, it was imperative for the Sooners to get Martin back on campus and introduced to first-year coach Jay Boulware.
The Sooners were able to pull that off two weeks ago as Martin returned to Norman for the first time since Boulware has taken over the coaching position.
But that wasn’t the only thing that was different on this trip, he explained to GigEmNation’s Sam Khan.
ESPN Watch List prospect Koda Martin said he doesn't care which position he plays in college.
“I got get a little more personal and hang out with some of the players,” Martin said. “Just getting to know them a little bit and what kind of team I’d be around the kind of guys I’d be hanging with.
“I kind of feel like I fit, and there’s definitely some guys on that team that are the kind of guys that I want to be around.”
ESPN scouts have Martin labeled as an offensive tackle, but it remains evident the Sooners want him at tight end. Will that be enough to give OU an edge on some of the other schools?
“I really don’t have a preference on where I play,” Martin said. “I just want to play, and I love to play football. I enjoy blocking and catching and running over people and tackling people. It’s definitely fun that they seem to really want me to come there and help them out at the tight end position.”
There was a rumor Martin had committed during his visit, but Martin said that was not close to happening. He said he is targeting a decision date of late spring or early summer, and the Sooners are strongly in the mix.
And having Boulware can only bolster OU’s chances.
“Coach Boulware is awesome,” Martin said. “He really seems to have fun with the kids but still be a great coach and intense. It was pretty neat to watch him getting after some of the players, not in a bad way at all, but encouraging them and coaching them up and cracking a few jokes and having a good time at the same time.
“He’s real good friends with my dad’s best friend, Jeff Grimes. Those two, Boulware and Grimes, coached together at Auburn. He’s a real strong Christian guy and real involved with FCA.
“My dad really looked up to him in college so knowing that Jeff Grimes is real good friends with Coach Boulware helps me realize that Coach Boulware is a really awesome guy and definitely the type of coach that I want to be around.”
Perine said he felt even more like part of the team and was able to meet some new guys and enjoyed the atmosphere. What he wasn’t ready for were the fans.
“The fans are great, but I didn’t see that coming when they wanted autographs,” Perine said. “I’m still kind of new to signing autographs.”
Not much can be detected from a spring game, but Perine said one thing that stood out was the team’s attitude and how much it looked like they all wanted to be out there.
Perine said it was the first time he got the chance to talk to OU running back signee Keith Ford, who also made the trip from Texas for the spring game. And the trip only helped him realize more OU is the place for him.
“It does help. It reassured me,” Perine said. “It’s just a great school and everything there is a perfect fit.”
That doesn’t mean other schools won’t stop coming, namely Texas. Perine said the Longhorns have been consistent in trying to pursue him. But he hasn’t budged from his OU commitment.
“I keep telling them as nicely as I can that I’m still committed,” Perine said. “It is getting hard to keep turning them down politely, but you have to do what you have to do to let them know.”
Perine said it was also the first time to meet Justice Hansen, and like a lot of recruits at the spring game, he spent a good portion trying to convince Dallas Skyline’s Ty Barrett to commit to the Sooners.
Parker targeted by Stoops brothers
If you blinked, you might have missed the fact safety Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) was actually at OU’s spring game. He got there about 15 minutes before kickoff and left at halftime, but he was there. Two people who knew he was definitely there were OU coaches Bob and Mike Stoops.
The Sooners were the first to offer safety Steven Parker.
“I knew they were really interested, but they showed even more how interested they are,” Parker said. “They wanted to meet my dad and say what’s up. That’s the first time they’ve met my dad.”
Parker couldn’t stay long because of a basketball tournament, something that you might hear often during the spring and summer with Parker.
All the offers are rolling in for football, but Parker has no plans as of now to stop playing basketball with the AAU team Athletes First. He knows that could create problems later.
“It’s really tough, but I’m going to stick with basketball for now,” Parker said. “It’s a hard decision because I’ve played basketball all my life.”
All that being said, it illustrates just how high OU is with Parker for him to make the visit even though it wasn’t the best circumstances to do so. And like a lot of recruits, Parker heard it all from Hansen as the two have developed a great friendship in the last year.
“Justice called me, and he’s trying to recruit me even more than he has in the past,” Parker said. “Right now I have no idea when I’m going to take my next trip.”
It was Parker’s first trip to OU since making trips to Texas A&M and Texas last month. Parker said he would like to be at Oklahoma State’s spring game Saturday but will be in California for an AAU tournament.
Full court press for Barrett
OU is the closest thing to a favorite you’re going to find for Dallas Skyline offensive tackle Ty Barrett. But Barrett still isn't naming his top group.
Saturday’s trip did help, though, as Barrett got to meet OU coaches Bill Bedenbaugh and Jay Boulware for the first time. The Boulware connection was a little puzzling at first, but Barrett said he hears as much from Boulware as he does from Bedenbaugh.
Regardless of who he hears from, he definitely hears from one of them.
“Every day I get some type of message from Coach Boulware or Coach Bedenbaugh,” Barrett said. “I get hand-written letters from them every single day. It means a lot.”
As soon as he left, Bedenbaugh called him to thank him for coming up, and Bedenbaugh has made a strong impression with Barrett’s mother.
Barrett is going to visit Oklahoma State this weekend and then take it easy to focus on his spring football campaign. But then don’t be surprised if he decides to end the process.
Barrett has been one of the most outgoing personalities for this class, and he has had fun with recruiting. His tone has changed slightly in terms of a commitment.
“I won’t make any decision until after spring practices, but I really did like the trip to OU,” Barrett said. “The thing is I want to have a special ceremony at my school to announce it so it’s possible I’ll have one done after the spring.”
OU commits Justice Hansen, Samaje Perine and Vontre McQuinnie all have been recruiting Barrett hard. Barrett and McQuinnie have been friends for a long time.
Bryan likes first taste of OU
For the most part, the OU spring game was littered with recruits from Oklahoma and Texas, along with several 2013 signees. But then there was Casper (Wyo.) Natrona County offensive tackle Taven Bryan.
Bryan, who is 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, was one of the only non-regional recruits to be in attendance and said things have heated up between him and the Sooners in the last few weeks.
“We’ve been talking the last couple of weeks,” Bryan said. “It was great to see how they operate and see the school and the facilities.
“The campus was really nice. It’s a pretty place. It’s green there, too. It’s a good school, and it’s good to look around at other schools and compare.”
Bryan has offers from Wyoming, Colorado State, Washington and Washington State. He was at Nebraska’s spring game and is going to visit Washington and Oregon this weekend.
All of those schools are a lot closer in location to Wyoming than OU, which is why the interest came out of the blue for Bryan.
“I was really shocked when they sent me a friend request (on Facebook),” Bryan said. “I had never thought about them at all. It’s a great honor.”
Bryan said he wants to go to a school that is family oriented, and OU is definitely that. He has no timetable for his decision but said one thing that won’t factor into anything is distance because he’s comfortable going anywhere he needs to go to play college football.
Mosley being eyed by Sooners
You see it all the time. College coach goes into high school looking at one kid and ends up finding another. OU running backs coach went to Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson for running back Samaje Perine but has also found cornerback Trai Mosley.
Mosley made his first trip to OU last weekend for the spring game.
“It worked out great,” Mosley said. “I loved the academic center. The coaching staff was great. I loved the facilities.”
Mosley said he has been talking to OU coaches Bobby Jack Wright and Mike Stoops since January. The coaches reiterated to him that before they can offer him, they want to see him in person during the spring.
“They want to see how I move and want me to come to the one-day camp in June,” Mosley said. “I’ve been working on my back pedal since the end of last season, and they want to see where I’ve improved.”
Mosley said he talks to the OU coaches every couple of days and said the Sooners are showing the most interest right now. Nebraska, Texas State and Houston are also in the picture, but it’s clear OU is the choice for now.
It’s not a deal-breaker, but Mosley said it would help to go to OU knowing Perine would be joining him in Norman.
“Sometimes when you’re far away from home you can get caught up in bad things,” Mosley said. “But if I could go to school with someone I know then I know I’d have a friend and someone I could always talk with.”
Despite all the football success, it’s the academic side of things that stood out the most to Mosley.
“The academic centers are great,” Mosley said. “I like how it’s part of the stadium and close to everything. Inside the center was well done, too, and looks great. It lets me know if I ever need help of any kind, I can get it.”
Holmes the next Ryan Broyles?
He’s a little bit bigger, but all OU wide receivers coach Jay Norvell kept comparing Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Corey Holmes to former OU great Ryan Broyles.
Florida receiver Corey Holmes enjoyed his visit to OU but said he isn't close to deciding.
Holmes has been busy this spring taking visits and made his first one to OU last weekend for the spring game.
He was surprised at how the atmosphere and environment is in Norman and at OU and talked to Brandon Chatmon more about the link to Broyles.
“I spent some one-on-one time with Coach Norvell,” Holmes said. “We watched a Ryan Broyles highlight tape, and he was describing how my role in the offense would be similar to Ryan Broyles’ role because of our similarities.
“He says all the time I remind him of Ryan Broyles. It’s an honor to be compared to him.”
Holmes is in no rush to make a decision anytime soon. It’s very likely OU will get one of his five official visits in the fall based on how successful the first one was and based on what he saw during the spring game.
“I was watching the receivers every play,” Holmes said. “The routes they were running. Everything they were doing, even blocking. I feel like I could be a good fit in the offense.”
Sooners in good spot with Barnett
Two trips in two weeks -- that’s not bad for the Sooners regarding Class of 2015 offensive tackle Jalin Barnett (Lawton, Okla./Lawton).
Barnett visited the campus two weeks ago for an unofficial visit. Less than 48 hours later he was offered by OU coaches Bob Stoops and Bill Bedenbaugh. Then last week he returned to campus for the spring game.
“It was great,” Barnett said. “It was a real fun game. I talked to Justice Hansen a lot, the quarterback commit. I felt like part of the team.”
Barnett was pumped about his first visit to OU but had no idea an offer would come that soon after his trip. It has him excited, he said.
But not excited to commit anytime soon.
“I never really considered committing or anything like that,” Barnett said. “I want to wait until my senior season.”
That could obviously change, but the interest is high as Oregon State and North Texas had already offered before OU. A day after the Sooners it was Texas Tech making the offer.
Barnett grew up an Oklahoma State fan and visited OSU for its junior day in the winter. He said he might go to its spring game Saturday. But OU will be tough to beat and is definitely in the picture now.
“They have great coaches and a great tradition,” Barnett said. “It has definitely opened my eyes to what’s out there.”