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Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Summer recruit wrap: Oklahoma

By Brandon Chatmon

As summer wraps up and Oklahoma turns its focus to the 2013 season, we've learned plenty from the Sooners during the summer recruiting cycle. OU has 11 commitments, including four ESPN 300 prospects, yet there continues to be concern among Sooner Nation about the state of recruiting in Norman, Okla. Here are five things we learned during the Sooners' summer months on the recruiting trail.

1. Bill Bedenbaugh is relentless

Josh Wariboko
2015 guard Joshua Wariboko is one of offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh's early recruiting conquests.
The Sooners new offensive line coach never sleeps. Or at least that’s how it seems. Several recruits have talked about Bedenbaugh’s relentless nature on the recruiting trail, which is paying off as the Sooners landed commitments from 2014 interior line prospect Alex Dalton of Troy, Ohio/Troy, Oklahoma City Casady guard Joshua Wariboko -- who ranks No. 88 in the ESPN Junior 300 -- and Allen (Texas) tight end/tackle prospect Bobby Evans, who ranks No. 210 in the ESPN Junior 300 and is expected to end up at tackle in Norman. The Sooners also remain in the running for Dallas Skyline offensive tackle Ty Barrett, who has had glowing words for his interactions with Bedenbaugh, and junior college tackle Patrick Au (Ephraim, Utah/Snow College).

2. Landing defensive tackles is still difficult

Swing-and-a-miss. That phrase could describe OU’s 2013 pursuit of defensive tackles in a nutshell. Sadly for the Sooners, even though new defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery has a reputation as a strong recruiter, that hasn’t changed much in the Class of 2014. The Sooners do have a commitment from Irving (Texas) Ranchview prospect Brandon Glenn, but OU continues to miss on the elite difference makers at the position. Travonte Valentine (Hialeah, Fla./Champagnat Catholic), Tashon Smallwood (Fresno, Calif./Central) and Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio/Earl Warren) are four-star prospects who the Sooners have missed out on early in Montgomery's tenure.

3. The Sooners are willing to go anywhere to find hidden gems

It’s rare to see OU make a journey into Mississippi for a unknown prospect. Yet that’s exactly what the Sooners did when they were the first offer for Gulfport (Miss.) Harrison Central cornerback Tito Windham. OU saw something special in the 5-foot-9, 174 pound defensive back and he rewarded their belief in him by committing to the Sooners shortly thereafter. Florida State and Southern Mississippi offered Windham shortly thereafter, but the Sooners’ commitment has expressed loyalty to OU despite living in SEC country.

4. Securing linebackers is still a problem

The Sooners have offered 22 linebackers in the Class of 2014, yet Allen (Texas) linebacker Tay Evans is the lone linebacker sitting upon the Sooners’ commit list. Four-star linebacker James David (Rockdale, Texas/Rockdale) shunned OU for Baylor, local prospect Gyasi Akem (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow) picked in-state rival Oklahoma State over the Sooners and Houston Cypress Falls linebacker Otaro Alaka picked Texas over OU. The Sooners are in the process of finding the right role of linebackers in their current defensive system, and it’s clear the toxicity of their indecision at the position is leaking into their recruiting efforts.

5. Landing skill position standouts is not a problem

Big 12 defenses beware, it doesn’t look like OU will stop scoring points or moving the ball up and down the field anytime soon. The Sooners, who have ranked in the Top 15 nationally in scoring offense and total offense for the past three seasons, have commitments from ESPN 300 quarterback Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe), ESPN 300 running back Samaje Perine (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson), ESPN 300 receiver Dallis Todd (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) and ESPN 300 tight end Carson Meier (Tulsa, Okla./Union). Even though defensive tackle and linebacker are clear priority positions in this recruiting cycle, the skill positions have seen the most success this summer.