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Monday, February 20, 2012
Przybylo's Mailbag: Panic button?

By Bob Przybylo

Bob Przybylo answers readers' questions about Oklahoma football and basketball recruiting in his mailbag every Monday. Got a question for Bob? Send it to his mailbag at bprzybyloespn@gmail.com.

Larry in Wichita Falls, Texas, asks: That’s three recruits that picked Texas over OU this last week. What’s going on?

Bob Przybylo: It wasn’t a great week for OU recruiting, but it wasn’t a disaster as some have labeled it. It became clear in the last week or so that OU had fallen off in its quest for dual-threat quarterback Tyrone Swoopes (Whitewright, Texas/Whitewright). He said he liked his OU junior day visit but wasn’t overly impressed. He went to Texas', and the Longhorns closed the deal.

The same can be said with wide receiver Jake Oliver (Dallas/Jesuit). Despite his older brother attending OU, Oliver said Texas was in the lead and that OU only became neck-and-neck after the Sooners junior day. After attending the Texas junior day, it was clear Oliver was thinking about becoming a Longhorn.

A minor shock was defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas/Arlington Heights), but the truth of the matter is OU didn’t show the interest necessary to stay in the conversation. Texas did, and it paid off again.

This will take some getting used to, but if OU does stick with its national recruiting plan and is successful with it, head-to-head recruiting losses in Texas are going to happen.


Len in Broken Arrow, Okla., asks: OU is one of the only major schools without a commitment for this class. Are things still going to plan?

Bob Przybylo: The patient approach is something the coaches are going with when it comes to recruiting. Unfortunately, that is not helping fans who have grown accustomed to having a handful of commits around this time of year.

OU has seen some of its targets go elsewhere in the last couple of weeks, but with it being so early in the game, the Sooners have had plenty of time to adjust. And the general feeling I’m getting is OU had a feeling out process with some of these kids and had accepted that Norman, Okla., wasn’t going to be their destination.

Now if OU is still straggling along after its second junior day on March 3, then the tune might be changing. But among some of the very top targets, the Sooners are still very much alive and in the hunt.


Peter in Oklahoma City asks: I’m seeing all these offers coming from Arizona and California in the last week, are these kids worth going after? Just because they’re ranked high in Arizona doesn’t mean they would be ranked as high in a place like Texas.

Priest Willis
Oklahoma offered 2013 defensive back Priest Willis last week.
Bob Przybylo: This has been a common concern in the last week, and you have to have a certain level of trust in OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and linebackers coach Tim Kish.

They’re the ones with the West Coast ties, and you have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they know the type of player that can come in and contribute at a place like OU.

OU has gone to Arizona three times in the last two weeks with offers to defensive backs Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos De Niza) and Cole Luke (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) and linebacker Chans Cox (Pinetop, Ariz./Blue Ridge).

Willis and Cox are both on the ESPNU 150 Watch List, and though Luke isn’t, he shouldn’t be too far off the list based on his film and qualifications. OU is trying to just snatch up any Arizona product that Stoops and Kish have a connection with. The Sooners are being selective, and the only thing anybody can do right now is enjoy the ride and see what happens.


Terry in Edmond, Okla., asks: I’m a quarterback junkie. I know OU is looking at some quarterbacks, but who is an under the radar candidate?

Bob Przybylo: At this point, the trio of Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline), Brayden Scott (Tahlequah, Okla./Sequoyah) and Kelly Hilinski (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame) are not breaking news.

But a couple of names to keep tabs on are J.T. Barrett (Wichita Falls, Texas/Rider) and Jeremy Johnson (Montgomery, Ala./Carver).

Barrett, 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, might be a little too small for what OU is normally looking for at quarterback but now has offers from LSU, Ohio State, Nebraska, Baylor and Texas Tech. He has grown to be a more natural passer and has put in a lot of work to be regarded as more than just a running QB. After some strong initial interest, though, Barrett said he hasn't heard from the Sooners recently.

Johnson is the perfect size at 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds. He has offers from LSU, Auburn and Ole Miss. The one thing that might sway Johnson is basketball, too. He is an electric basketball player and might want to be one of those double-sport recruits. With all the responsibilities a quarterback has, that might be tough to negotiate.