Oklahoma Sooners: Alabama Crimson Tide
Here's how they did it:
Our methodology was simple: We re-tallied the scores following signing day and ranked the schools based on total number of ESPNU 150 recruits (there have been 900) hauled in over the last six years. Of course, like success on the field, recruiting is cyclical -- and fans of programs both on and off this list might look back on Feb. 1, 2012 as the day their team began its rise (or fall) on the trail.
Here's the top-10:
5. Florida State
6. Notre Dame
T-10. Ohio State
Here's what it says about Oklahoma:
Top states: Texas (14), Oklahoma (seven)
Surprise state: California (three)
Oklahoma continues to reel in the relatively small amount of ESPNU 150 talent produced in the Sooner State, signing its top two 2012 recruits: WR Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma City) and RB Alex Ross (Jenks). That puts the Sooners at 7-for-13 since 2007. Bob Stoops also went into Florida (No. 2 OC Ty Darlington of Apopka) and Missouri (WR Durron Neal of St. Louis) for the first time in the past six years.
Green-Beckham has been described as a hybrid of Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones. At 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, he possesses the size and speed to be a significant deep threat and formidable red-zone target.
Any program in the nation would be happy to land Green-Beckham, but he has narrowed his list to five schools -- Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Alabama and Oklahoma –- all of which have significant holes at wide receiver.
So the question becomes, who needs Dorial Green-Beckham most?
Alabama has stocked up on wide receiver recruits in its 2012 class with five 4-star or 5-star recruits listed as ATH/WR. The Tide could use all of the help that they can get after losing their top four pass catchers from 2011. Most importantly, Alabama needs to find a top wide receiver to fill the void left by Julio Jones and Marquis Maze leaving in consecutive years.
Jones and Maze were targeted on almost half of Alabama’s passes thrown 20 yards or more in the air since the start of 2010, resulting in 15 receptions and five touchdowns. Green-Beckham’s downfield prowess would benefit AJ McCarron who improved his deep passing in the second half of last season.
Arkansas is the predicted landing spot for Green-Beckham by all seven ESPN experts polled. If he chooses to sign with the Razorbacks, Green-Beckham would fill one of the greatest wide receiver voids in the nation.
Arkansas is losing three of its top four wide receivers, including the school’s top two players in career receptions, Jarius Wright and Joe Adams. Wright and Adams combined for more receiving yards (1,769) than any other set of receivers in the SEC last season.
In fact, no SEC team had three wide receivers combine for more yards, receptions and touchdowns than Wright and Adams.
Missouri needs a second wide-receiver option behind T.J. Moe next season with TE Michael Egnew and WR Wes Kemp graduating. Moe has the second-most receiving yards in the Big 12 since the start of 2010 among returning players, but he is not known for his deep-threat ability.
Of his 146 receptions in the past two seasons, only 13 have gone for 25 or more yards. Green-Beckham’s downfield speed would lead to more big plays for the Tigers and open up underneath routes for Moe and others.
Oklahoma must replace FBS all-time leader in receptions, Ryan Broyles. Broyles was Oklahoma’s top target downfield, in the red zone, on third down and when opponents brought the blitz over the last two years.
Landry Jones struggled after Broyles’ injury in 2011, and despite landing three 4-star wide receiver recruits, a talent like Green-Beckham could fill the void left by Broyles.
Broyles had some of the strongest hands in college football, dropping just two passes in 417 pass attempts since the start of 2009.
According to scouts, Green-Beckham also has strong hands and the ability to snatch balls in traffic, which will be valuable in an Oklahoma offense that throws a lot of quick slants. Oklahoma has focused on replacing Broyles with three 4-star recruits committed for next season, but the addition of Green-Beckham will have an immediate impact on a team with national title hopes.
Texas could use Green-Beckham’s size in the red zone. The Longhorns completed just 32 percent of their passes with three touchdowns and two interceptions in the red zone during conference play last season, which was the worst completion percentage by any Big 12 team in the last five seasons.
When throwing into the end zone, Texas completed just 5-of-17 passes with two interceptions. Beckham’s 6’6” size and leaping ability would give Texas a target to drastically improve its red-zone passing offense.
Junior running back Greg Bryant rushed for 243 yards and three touchdowns on the afternoon. American Heritage head coach Doug Socha summed up running back Greg Bryant’s performance.
“He’s awesome, it starts up front with our offensive line," Socha said, "but Greg is very special, obviously.”
Exhausted from his 39-carry performance, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound bruising running back talked about the win after the game.
“It feels real good, I’m about to go celebrate with my team,” Bryant said. "Once I get in a rhythm I just keep going. All that hard work paid off in the end.”
With early scholarship offers from LSU, Florida State, Georgia, Oklahoma, Alabama and Florida, Bryant is expected to be one of the top running backs not only in the state but the country next season.
Bryant, who said distance will not be a factor in his recruitment, talked about Oklahoma, the most recent school to offer him.
“I like Oklahoma, they run the ball a lot,” he said. “They do a lot with the running backs and they have a good running back history. I like them a lot. I’d like to get out to Oklahoma and visit there soon.”
Florida was the first team to offer Bryant and he said he likes the pro-style system that Florida has implemented since Will Muschamp took over.
“Florida is starting to run the ball a little bit more,” Bryant said. "Coach Aubrey [Hill] said they will be in the pro-style, so I like that, too.”
With Charlie Weis having left Florida to take the head coaching job at Kansas, Bryant said the departure won’t change how he feels about the Gators.
“It won’t affect me,” Bryant said. “It’s just the way they run their program -- I like their program. One person can’t change it.”
Bryant said he talks to Oklahoma and LSU the most and is intrigued by the thought of playing for the Tigers.
“LSU, I mean they are in the national championship game, so I like that,” Bryant said. “They throw the ball, they have a good defense. I just like the program.”
Bryant, who said he won’t decide what school he will attend until sometime next year, said his decision will come down to where he feels the most comfortable.
“Be comfortable where I’m at, somewhere where I can play as soon as I get there," he said. "I want to have a good relationship with the coaches. I just want it to feel like family.”
Bryant, along with Adam Lane (5-7/206, Winter Haven, Fla./Winter Haven), Kelvin Taylor (5-11/205, Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Day), Ryan Green (5-11/190, St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Pete Catholic) and Georgia commit Derrick Henry (6-3/231, Yulee, Fla./Yulee), is among the top running backs in the state for 2013.
“I wasn’t much for lobbying the last time we were in that situation,” Stoops said Tuesday during his weekly press conference. “And it worked out pretty good.”
That year, OU edged Texas in the BCS to break a three-way tie for the Big 12 South, propelling the Sooners to the national championship game.
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Oklahoma's national title hopes got two big breaks Saturday.
Boise State and Stanford both broke down and lost on their home fields — just like the Sooners did last month.
So here Oklahoma sits at a tidy No. 5 in the latest BCS standings, with a date against No. 2 Oklahoma State coming into focus.
The biggest problem?
The two teams ahead of the Sooners have only one blemish: A loss to the nation's No. 1 team, LSU.
Would a victory over Oklahoma State on Dec. 3 in the de facto Big 12 title game slingshot the Sooners into the national championship game?
Ultimately, it's going to depend on voters, who make up two-thirds of the BCS standings. The Sooners are strong in the computers — they're in the top five in five of the six computer rankings (and sixth in the other) and below both Alabama and Oregon in just three. Oklahoma State is No. 1 in three of the computer rankings.
Oklahoma's best hope? A voter mutiny against a rematch between LSU and Oregon (LSU won 40-27 in Dallas on Sept. 3) or Alabama and LSU (LSU won in overtime in Tuscaloosa, 9-6) and an impressive closing stanza for voters to remember the Sooners before coaches cast their ballots in the USA Today poll and before Harris poll voters send their ballots in.
Oklahoma, if it wins out, would have an impressive five victories over top-25 teams. Oregon would have two. Alabama would have four.
The Sooners, though, will have difficulty outrunning that Texas Tech loss, which gets worse and worse by the week. The Red Raiders have lost five of six games, and have been outscored 159-33 in losses to Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma State.
Call it a fluke if you want, but championship teams don't have fluke losses. It could cost Oklahoma a shot at the title.
That is, unless the Sooners win out and voters say Alabama and Oregon don't deserve another chance to knock off Les Miles' team.