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Tuesday, April 30, 2013
LBs a necessity for Sooners for 2014

By Bob Przybylo

NORMAN, Okla. -- If there’s a sore spot for Oklahoma recruiting right now, it’s at linebacker. Last year featured a lot of ups and downs for linebackers coach Tim Kish, who seemingly had some difficulties adjusting from recruiting for Arizona to recruiting for the Sooners.

OU missed out on several top prospects and ended up looking within the state for its two signees in Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans, both three-star prospects.

Kish has his feet under him for year No. 2. But the results are not there yet. Three top targets in the Midlands area have already pledged to rival schools.

James David
Four-star linebacker James David likes the Sooners but OU hasn't contacted him recently.
OU was in first for Dallas Carter’s Cameron Hampton, but Texas ended up winning him over. OU seemed like an early candidate for Otaro Alaka (Cypress, Texas/Falls), but the Longhorns again won the battle.

And then there’s the case of four-star linebacker Gyasi Akem (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow). Essentially ignored throughout the 2012 season, OU tried to turn the tide in 2013. It didn’t happen as Akem committed to childhood favorite Oklahoma State last week.

So now what? Here are OU's top targets, but expect at least a few more names to pop up during this evaluation period.

Four-star LB James David (Rockdale, Texas/Rockdale)

With some of the prospects, it has felt like OU has wanted the recruit more than the recruit has wanted to look at the Sooners.

In David’s case, it looks like the opposite. David openly said OU was in his top four two months ago but said in a recent text message he hasn’t heard much lately from the Sooners except occasional letters.

OU was high on David’s older brother, but academic and off-the-field concerns kept the Sooners from going all-in with Derek David. This could be the case once again.

This feels like a situation that should be cleared up during the evaluation period as OU will be a frequent visitor to Texas high schools. And the answer might be that OU will monitor his academic situation during his senior season.

LB Tay Evans (Allen, Texas/Allen)

Evans’ situation also might be cleared up during the next four weeks. But this one is a lot more cut and dried than David.

OU is high on Evans, but the Sooners are waiting to see how Evans responds to shoulder surgery. Evans hasn’t been able to showcase his skills during any of the spring camps but said he is confident he will be ready to roll for spring practice.

The concern is Allen coaches might hold Evans out as a precautionary measure. But with offers from schools such as Stanford, Arizona State and Kansas State, Evans is a hot commodity.

Add in the fact his father played basketball for the Sooners, and it seems like the perfect recipe for an OU commitment if an offer is given.

ESPN 150 LB Nyles Morgan (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee)

This situation, however, is not anywhere close to being clear. With more than 30 offers, Morgan can pick and choose which school he wants to attend.

And as of now, that process hasn’t even started. He said last week he remains open to just about every school that has shown interest and would like to visit schools such as OU, Florida and Texas A&M, among several others.

One way OU can stay in the hunt to keep showing that consistent interest. Morgan said he’s going to use this next month as his own personal gauge about how interested some schools really are in him.

LB Christian Sam (Allen, Texas/Allen)

Blame transportation issues. If Sam had been able to attend OU’s spring game two weeks ago, the signs were there for the Sooners to pick up his commitment.

Sam didn’t have a ride and was disappointed about not being able to attend. The good news for OU fans is that no other school has emerged as the favorite to land Sam.

The Sooners made the best possible impression on Sam during junior day in March, and he has been in daily communication with Kish. A spring evaluation period commitment seems a strong possibility once OU hits Allen High during this four-week stretch.