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Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Levenberry chooses FSU over OU, U-M

By Bob Przybylo

There are some positions where it is clear what the Oklahoma coaches are thinking when it comes to the 2013 class.

But linebacker is not one of them. The Sooners have not been afraid to make offers to multiple top national prospects but haven’t been able to earn the verbal commitment to any of them at this point.

That trend continued Tuesday afternoon as four-star linebacker E.J. Levenberry (Woodbridge, Va./C.D. Hylton) chose Florida State over the Sooners and Michigan.

Levenberry is the third top linebacker in the span of four days to commit to another school. It started Saturday with ESPN 150 linebacker Alex Anzalone, who committed to Ohio State following the Buckeyes spring game.

Then it was Courtney Love (Youngstown, Ohio/Cardinal Mooney), picking Nebraska on Sunday. Youngstown Cardinal Mooney is the same high school Bob and Mike Stoops attended, but it didn’t matter. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini also graduated from the high school, and the Huskers made Love one of their top targets throughout the process.

The Levenberry commitment, or non-commitment to OU as it played out, wasn’t that surprising. Levenberry was a top target for former defensive coordinator Brent Venables and had a great relationship with Venables.

Levenberry had been busy seeing Michigan and Florida State recently, while he never did make a final trip to Norman, Okla., so not many were expecting the Sooners to be his choice.

OU has seen eight of its linebacker offers commit to other schools. Among the Sooners’ current offers, the only recruit that OU looks to be in decent shape with is Chans Cox (Pinetop, Ariz./Blue Ridge).

However, even with Cox it has taken a step back. Cox was incredibly high on OU in February, but his offer total has increased considerably in the last two months. Instead of being the leader in the clubhouse, the Sooners are one of several teams in a great spot for Cox.

So is it time to hit the panic button with first-year coach Tim Kish? No, not at all. Kish is very familiar with the West Coast and Midwest areas and those were the places he attacked early. However, this evaluation period will be intriguing to see where Kish concentrates his efforts.

OU running backs coach Cale Gundy has knocked it out of the park, earning the commitments of two of the top three in the nation in Greg Bryant (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage-Boca Delray) and Keith Ford (Cypress, Texas/Ranch).

Defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright has nabbed two of the top 17 in the nation with D.J. Ward (Lawton, Okla./Lawton) and Matt Dimon (Katy, Texas/Katy).

Quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel has narrowed his search down to three with Brayden Scott (Tahlequah, Okla./Sequoyah), Cody Thomas (Colleyville, Texas/Heritage) and Kelly Hilinski (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame). And defensive backs coach Mike Stoops knows exactly the type of recruit he is gunning for even if he doesn’t have an official commitment yet.

This next month is Kish’s time to show why OU fans should be excited about his hiring. He has proven to be popular among recruits on unofficial visits. Now is the time to see it translate during his off-campus interactions with top prospects.