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Monday, June 9, 2014
Early Offer: Is OU RB U?

By Jeremy Crabtree

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Few schools can match Oklahoma’s past success at the running back spot. After five straight classes of landing a rusher who’s highly ranked, the Sooners added another good one Sunday, helping OU continue a run that has it up to five ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class. Plus, recruiters are wary about recruiting football prospects who are top baseball players, too, because of cases such as Monte Harrison.

Sooners add another big-time back
Oklahoma has a running back tradition that’s rivaled by few in college football. The alumni list includes impressive names such as Dexter Bussey, Adrian Peterson, Greg Pruitt, Steve Sewell, Billy Sims, Spencer Tillman, Joe Washington, Steve Owens and Billy Vessels.

OU’s past success continues to be a big reason why the Sooners have been so successful at the position on the recruiting trail. Prospects say they’re very aware of the legacy at the position, especially with Peterson still tearing it up in the NFL, and that’s helped the Sooners sign rushers ranked in the top 10 in the past five classes. OU added another quality running back on Sunday when ESPN 300 prospect Rodney Anderson committed to the Sooners for the 2015 class.

“What great running back wouldn’t want to go to OU?” Anderson said. “When you talk to Coach [Bob] Stoops and Coach [Cale] Gundy, and they talk about how you can be the next great running back at Oklahoma, it really means a lot. It’s a great fit for me.”

Much was written earlier in the spring about how the Sooners were seemingly struggling on the recruiting trail. But if you haven’t been paying attention, you would have missed that OU now has six commitments, including five from players in the ESPN 300. The commitments of No. 8 cornerback P.J. Mbanasor and Anderson have given OU a boost heading into summer.

Baseball money tough to beat
College football coaches say they think a long time about how hard to pursue top recruits who are also Major League Baseball prospects because in almost every situation, the money wins out. Just ask Nebraska about that.

In the 2011 class, the Huskers beat out a host of top programs for four-star quarterback/athlete Bubba Starling, only to see him drafted in the first round by the Kansas City Royals. Starling never made it to Lincoln, and neither will one of the Cornhuskers' top 2014 recruits. Nebraska football signee Monte Harrison agreed to terms with the Milwaukee Brewers, who selected the outfielder with the 50th pick on Thursday in the second round of the MLB draft. Harrison reportedly agreed to a contract that includes a bonus of $1.8 million.

“With guys like Starling and Harrison, you knew going in that they were going to have a good shot at going high in the baseball draft," a Big 12 assistant said. “They’re great examples for all of us in football to use as case studies. You know nine out of 10 times, they’re going to go with the money in baseball. I know most football coaches won't even waste time recruiting those guys because you can't beat $2 million. So you either need to steer clear, like we do, or get a backup plan.”