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Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Quick tops OU targets at cornerback

By Bob Przybylo

NORMAN, Okla. -- Watching Oklahoma in spring practice, it is clear there is a lack of defensive depth.

Cornerback is no exception. OU will welcome three cornerbacks into the fold in the fall, but there is still a lot of work to be done at the position.

It’s still early in the Class of 2014 cycle, but a disturbing trend is developing. OU is there early and then fizzles out.

Michiah Quick
ESPN 150 athlete Michiah Quick is visiting Oklahoma next month.
ESPN 150 cornerbacks Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) and Arrion Springs (San Antonio/Roosevelt) both initially had OU among their favorites. But now in May it appears the Sooners are merely an afterthought despite each having made visits to campus.

The same can be said for four-star cornerback Darrion Johnson (Navasota, Texas/Navasota). With Johnson never making it to campus, the days of him having OU in his top schools have vanished.

So who is going to make the cut? There are still several options.

ESPN 150 CB Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central East, No. 3 ATH)

Former teammate L.J. Moore salvaged OU’s signing day by inking with the Sooners. Quick could salvage OU’s 2014 class with his signature.

OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops targeted Quick last spring and has been relentless with the multi-talented star, who is ranked No. 22 in the ESPN 150.

Add in the fact his cousin, four-star safety Hatari Byrd, also has signed with OU, and Sooners are in good shape. But good shape hasn’t meant that much if recent history is an indicator. OU has to close the show and do it strong.

The Sooners get a prime opportunity next month, as Fresno Central East defensive backs coach Tony Perry said he is bringing Quick to OU’s camp.

Tee Shepard (Goodman, Miss./Holmes CC)

Shepard was close to becoming an OU signee for 2013 until NCAA Clearinghouse issues kept him from being an option.

He’s back on the field this year and said he feels better than ever. With a renewed sense of dedication, Shepard is determined to make it work this time, on and off the field.

Like Quick, Shepard has been coached by Perry. And like Quick, the initial plan is for Shepard to visit Norman, Okla., next month for OU’s camp.

Shepard was originally in the ESPN 150 for the 2012 class and had signed with Notre Dame.

Henrea Toliver (Metairie, La./Archbishop Rummel)

Looking for an early candidate for breakout player of the spring? Toliver could be your guy. His stock is rising with no signs of slowing down.

Toliver originally thought he had an OU offer before clarifying he doesn’t. But the interest is strong on both sides, and a spring evaluation offer is not out of the question.

Schools like Nebraska, Houston and Georgia Tech are some of the names that have entered the conversation for Toliver in the last few weeks.

ESPN 150 CB Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne, No. 9 CB)

The only reason for Watkins’ inclusion is his insistence that he hasn’t ruled anybody out at this point. The Sooners coaches are going to set up camp at Dallas Bishop Dunne with all the talent there, so OU is going to make the biggest run at Watkins it can.

The problem will be trying to outduel some of the best schools in the nation. Watkins isn’t a regional prospect. Alabama seems like the slightest of leaders at this point, but there really is no telling where Watkins will end up.

Things should clear up more in the summer and definitely during the fall. Watkins is No. 63 in the ESPN 150.

ESPN 150 CB Tyler Whiley (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral, No. 10 CB)

Getting Whiley out of Arizona won’t be easy, but he has said he is very open to the idea of visiting OU. And the Sooners want to pull off a Scottsdale Chaparral double with Whiley and tight end Trevor Wood.

Whiley said he wants to take an official visit to Norman, but there has been some talk about him trying to make it to campus before the fall. Whiley is ranked No. 71 in the ESPN 150 and No. 2 in the state.

UCLA also will be a strong contender for Whiley’s signature.