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Friday, May 10, 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:

Read the Sooner Intel after the jump.

Evans back on the field, hoping for OU offer

It has been a long few months for Allen (Texas) High linebacker Tay Evans, who injured his shoulder late last season. He had successful shoulder surgery but admits it was tough to watch his teammates and friends at local camps knowing he couldn’t do anything.

It wasn’t just losing the chance to showcase his skills, but it was slowing down his progress on the recruiting trail. Shoulder concerns have been a reason some schools haven’t made the offer yet.

Tay Evans
Linebacker Tay Evans will be evaluated by the Sooners this spring.
Oklahoma is one of those schools. The Sooners hosted Evans for junior day in March and told him they would be back in the spring to see his progress.

OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel stopped by Allen late last week to see Evans. That’s all it essentially was, a meet-and-greet.

“He was just checking in,” Evans said. “He told me they would be back in the next couple of weeks to see me, too.”

When OU returns, expect it to be linebackers coach Tim Kish. Evans said he talks to Kish every week, and Kish has developed a tight relationship with Allen linebacker Christian Sam.

Sam already has an offer, while the thinking has been if Evans gets the OU offer, the Sooners will pull a double linebacker pledge from both Allen prospects.

The feeling was also OU could have received a commitment from Sam last month at the spring game. Sam and Evans were both expected to make it back to Norman but were unable to find a ride and had to stay home.

Allen started spring practice last week, but Evans didn’t participate in many contact drills. He was finally released to participate this week.

“I was excited to get back out there and work,” Evans said. “It was real tough to not push myself too much because you always want to be out there.”

It’s not a slam dunk Evans will commit to OU if offered as schools such as Indiana, Baylor, Arizona State and Stanford are also in constant contact. The Stanford offer last month caught Evans by surprise but it’s something he’s considering.

But when Evans talks about OU and what it would mean to him since his father played basketball for the Sooners, it’s tough to envision OU not securing his pledge.

“It would really mean a lot to me because of everything I’ve been through,” Evans said. “And with my dad having went there, it would be real special.”

Evans said the injury forced schools to wait, but all it has done is motivate him to work even harder.

OU not done with 2013 class

All this talk about 2014 and 2015 recruits and the biggest revelation of this week was the fact OU isn’t done with 2013. Two official visits have now been confirmed last weekend with junior college defensive end Andre Ross (Corsicana, Texas/Navarro JC) and offensive guard Tony Feo (Fullerton, Calif./Fullerton CC).

Feo has signed with OU, while Ross appears to be down to OU, TCU and Texas Tech. Ross was at TCU on Wednesday and Thursday.

Tony Feo
The Sooners added junior college offensive lineman Tony Feo to their 2013 class.
It’s not easy for OU to dip into the juco waters this late in the game as Fullerton assistant coach Greg Hoyd pointed out.

“OU coach Jay Norvell took one look at Tony and knew he wanted to have him,” Hoyd said. “And they did a background check. It went way back, before juco, before high school. They were looking at things from like third grade to make sure everything was OK.”

The same thing happened right around this time last year with wide receiver LaColtan Bester. After a massive background check into his past, the Sooners offered Bester and he signed on the same day of his visit.

Hoyd said Feo was blown away by the OU visit, but he still weighed the pros and cons of both OU and North Carolina State.

“He had never seen a campus or facilities like he saw at those two schools,” Hoyd said. “It was very overwhelming and stressful for him and his family.”

In all likelihood, it will be at least another week before anything is revealed with Ross. He said he still wants to take a trip to Texas Tech.

What will be interesting, though, is his tone following the TCU visit. TCU was the favorite last month. It flipped to OU following last weekend’s visit. If the Sooners are still there on top after the Fort Worth trip, they’ll be in a great spot.

Feo is ready to be on campus in June and Ross said he doesn’t see any problems with making it to campus in June, either, should he pick OU.

OU hits Lufkin with pair of offers

OU coaches vowed to hit Texas high schools hard again for the Class of 2014, and they have not disappointed in the early stages of this recruiting cycle.

Lufkin, Texas, hasn’t been on the radar lately, but OU offered a couple of Lufkin prospects late last week in defensive tackle D.J. Williams and Class of 2015 athlete Keke Coutee.

OU is the first to offer Coutee, and as we found out, certainly isn’t the last. Texas Tech and Texas have each offered Coutee in the last week.

With so much time before his decision, the focus is more on Williams. And it should be with all the so close but so far cases OU has experienced at defensive tackle.

Where did Williams come from?

“He’s a late bloomer,” Lufkin coach Todd Quick said. “Everybody wants defensive tackles right now. Toward the end of the season, he got better and better. I can understand why people waited. And I can understand why people are on him now.”

Miami (Fla.) was the first school to offer Williams last week and then OU entered the mix last Friday. Quick said he believes it was simply a case of waiting for that first offer and then everything would take care of itself.

“You know how it is, you get that first one, and then things start to happen,” Quick said. “He has great feet, and he’s a flat belly. He’s 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds, but he’s not a sloppy 300 pounds.”

Since the offer, OU has been closing in hard with Williams. OU receivers coach Jay Norvell was there Monday and defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery was there Tuesday.

A late bloomer on the field but no such issues in the classroom. Quick said Williams is a solid student who is in no danger of not being able to qualify.

“He’s lucky in that he doesn’t have to work too hard to get good grades because it comes so naturally to him,” Quick said.

As for Coutee, it’s obvious it’s an uphill climb against Texas. It was even before the Longhorns offered Tuesday.

Coutee isn’t the biggest in the world, but Quick knew immediately he had something special.

“He has 'It' and you can’t teach that,” Quick said. “You don’t get many of them so you know when you’ve got one of them. Coach Norvell knew about Keke all last season so I was a little surprised it took this long.

“He’s not very big. But once you see him move in the open field, all the questions are answered and all the doubts are erased.”

Saunders committed to playing football

By now his story is starting to become well known about how Houston Kinkaid tight end Mavin Saunders came from the Bahamas and has only recently started playing football.

His first passion is basketball and it always will be. But he knows and accepts it is football that will give him a brighter future. He’s not looking to play both sports in college. He is strictly dedicated to football.

Mavin Saunders
Tight end Mavin Saunders, who was just offered by the Sooners, wants to take all five of his available official visits.
“I won’t play the game if I don’t love it,” Saunders said. “It doesn’t make sense. I really love the game and study the game. It is an honor to play. I love how physical the game is. You risk getting injured every time you play. I love that aspect because you fight to be safe and healthy. You learn who you are.”

And what Saunders is happens to be one of the best tight end prospects in the Midlands region. He had no idea this would be coming, but his coach told him good things would be on the way.

OU offered Saunders last week and Saunders is interested. A decision, though, is a long ways away as Saunders said he is going to utilize all five of his visits. And all five visits will be out of state because he said he can pretty much drive to every school in Texas.

OU is firmly in the conversation for a visit as Saunders also said he would like to visit Michigan State and Florida State.

OU tight end coach Jay Boulware made the offer after seeing Saunders’ tape and asked if Saunders would go to OU’s satellite camp this summer.

“I’m open to it,” Saunders said. “If a school asks, you have to take advantage of that opportunity.”

One school that hasn’t recruited him is Texas. Saunders said he has been a Texas fan but the Longhorns have not shown any interest. At this point, Saunders has moved on from UT.

“I respect that they see other guys they think are better,” Saunders said. “That’s fine. I can’t wait for a school to come to me. I want the school to want me.”

The difference came last year when offensive linemen were beating Saunders during sprints. The light bulb came on.

“I was playing too cautious, scared of getting injured,” Saunders said. “Not anymore. Ever since that day, it has been clicking.”

Leonard still high on OU

A couple of months ago it wasn’t if Longview (Texas) High wide receiver Dorian Leonard was going to commit to the Sooners but when.

OU was his first offer. He loved his junior day visit. It felt like a matter of time. It also felt like OU could get defensive tackle teammate Zaycoven Henderson to come along with him.

Leonard waited and the offers are starting to come. Texas, Texas Tech and Florida State have entered the mix. But he hasn’t forgotten about OU even if it’s not the clear-cut favorite anymore.

“They’re still up there, very high,” Leonard said. “But I can’t even point to one favorite right now. I’m looking to make my decision in November because that will give me enough time to talk about everything.”

OU receivers coach Jay Norvell visited Leonard last week, but he said it’s Texas and Texas Tech that have been in the most contact.

Leonard said he was shocked by Henderson’s commitment to TCU a couple of months ago because they usually talk about everything.

“I had no idea it was coming,” Leonard said. “But talking to him since then, it’s a true commitment. He’s pretty solid with TCU.”

OU was also the first school to offer Henderson.

Green starting to blow up

(Update: Green committed to OU on Sunday.)

There was a chance that cornerback Marcus Green (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill) was going to commit to OU following his offer from defensive coordinator Mike Stoops on Monday afternoon.

He thought about it long and hard. But for someone who is only now starting to get that recognition, he has decided to wait.

Marcus Green
Oklahoma is the latest school to offer Texas defensive back Marcus Green.
“It definitely crossed my mind, but I want to wait and let them all come in,” Green said.

He won’t have to wait for long. A day after OU’s offer came offers from Nebraska and Texas Tech. Add that to previous Ole Miss and Missouri offers, and the doors have opened wide for Green.

Green credits Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire for how everything has developed for him, especially with Stoops.

“He told me Coach Stoops was interested a while ago and that I should call,” Green said. “I did and that’s how I started talking with him on a regular basis.”

Stoops watched Green two weeks ago and then pulled the trigger on the offer this week. Green’s 6-foot-1 frame is the ideal fit for what Stoops likes in his cornerbacks.

As for a decision, don’t hold your breath anytime soon. Green said he wants to experience what college football is all about. He has tentatively set the end of summer for when he wants to make his decision.

McDowell exactly what OU is looking for

It has been two weeks since OU offered ESPN 150 defensive tackle Garrald McDowell (Covington, La./Covington). Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery had a lot of ground to make up, but he has put in the work.

McDowell had not heard a word from OU until the offer. Alabama and Ole Miss are like the early favorites, but one thing OU can offer is immediate playing time. The depth chart situation is huge for McDowell.

“He told me they’ve been struggling at defensive line,” McDowell said. “That’s good for me because I don’t want to sit on the bench. He said they’ve been looking for somebody like me.”

McDowell isn’t ready to make a decision, but he is starting to narrow it down to schools such as OU, Alabama, Ole Miss, Miami (Fla.) and USC.

As Montgomery has worked hard to get to know McDowell, the same can be said for McDowell regarding the Sooners.

“I’m doing my research,” McDowell said. “They’re almost always in the top five for the BCS. It’s a good team with a lot of good coaches. I really like Coach Montgomery.”

Lundblade on the radar

There was some hope offensive lineman Alex Dalton (Troy, Ohio/Troy) would have made his decision by this time.

Dalton visited OU two weeks ago and a commitment felt imminent. But OU is still waiting and Arkansas is now trying to jam its way into the race.

Brad Lundblade
The Sooners stopped by to see interior lineman Brad Lundblade recently.
Dalton’s decision could affect what the Sooners choose to do with Argyle (Texas) Liberty Christian offensive lineman Brad Lundblade.

He visited OU for spring practice, and OU coach Bill Bedenbaugh visited him last week although Lundblade said he hasn’t been able to talk with any coaches yet.

“It has been crazy,” Lundblade said. “Regional track meet was last week. State track meet is this weekend and then spring football starts next week.”

One of those coaches expected to see Lundblade is Bedenbaugh. He won’t be alone as SMU and New Mexico have picked up their interest in the offensive guard.

Neither school had really talked to Lundblade until last week, but Lundblade said he is hoping to visit SMU next week.

“I’ve been emailing SMU and New Mexico like every day now,” Lundblade said. “New Mexico said I have the offer once I’m approved by the head coach so that was great to hear.

“As spring progresses and more coaches come by, I’ll get a better sense of who is really interested.”

Lundblade said it has been a huge benefit to see OU’s spring practice. It has helped him in his workouts the last month.

“I’m picking up the intensity in my workouts,” Lundblade said. “At OU and Baylor, I saw how intense they were. I’m incorporating that and doing things for offensive linemen only. I know I’m going to be a center or guard.”

Wood moves up Sooners’ TE board

OU is already making a big move for ESPN 150 cornerback Tyler Whiley (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) and now the Sooners are hoping to bring teammate tight end Trevor Wood as well.

Wood was offered by the Sooners last week.

“They’d told me a couple of months ago they were going to offer me but didn’t know when,” Wood said. “I was surprised it’s happened now, but it was not like we had never talked before.”

Wood is in no rush and Kansas State and Michigan State are among some of the school who have also recently offered. Wood does have a plan, though.

“I am laying back and seeing what schools come in throughout spring ball,” Wood said. “After spring ball I will let the colleges know who has a chance and who doesn’t.”

Wood said he knows Norman is a great college football town, and OU has a great coaching staff and winning tradition.

Sooners don’t waste time with Medley

There was some head-scratching going on Tuesday night when learning OU had offered Lewisburg (Tenn.) Marshall County kicker Aaron Medley.

But it didn’t come as too big of a shock because it had become apparent in the last few weeks OU special teams coach Jay Boulware liked what he saw from Medley.

Boulware visited Medley earlier this spring on a day Medley said was one of his best in the spring. The second time was earlier this week when the offer was made.

Growing up in Tennessee, though, that’s Volunteer country. And it will be tough if Tennessee comes around.

“It would mean something special,” Medley said. “They love the Vols here. Everybody does. I think if I committed to Tennessee, I would be the town hero more than anything.”

But Medley and his family aren’t about to forget the school that offered first. The plan is to attend OU’s kicking camp on June 2. He said plans can change, but that is what they are hoping to do.

The family wants to take some time and be patient but not too long as Medley said he is hoping to get his decision done before the season.

So what does OU see him as, a kicker or punter?

“I’m thinking more of a kicker, but Coach Boulware said he wants to develop me more as a punter, too, and be a combo guy. I can kick field goals, and my kickoffs are a strong point.”

Ohio State and Texas A&M are also in the mix. The plan is to visit both schools for their team camp in June as well.

His personal kicking coach Chris Sailer has a great relationship with OU and helped speed the process up here. The relationship is new with OU for Medley, though.

“I consider myself very intelligent about the NCAA and schools and things like that, but I had never considered OU. I had never thought that was a realistic opportunity. It’s overwhelming, and I’m just trying to take it all in.”