Oklahoma Sooners: Desmond Harrison

Big 12 pre-spring breakdown: OL

February, 21, 2014
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As we wait for the start of spring ball, we’re examining and ranking the positional situations of every team, continuing Friday with offensive line. Some of these outlooks will look different after the spring. But here’s how we see the offensive lines at the moment:

1. Oklahoma: The Sooners lose their captain in All-American Gabe Ikard, who kept the line together through several moving pieces. Those pieces, however, are almost all back. Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams are steady veterans at tackle. Inside, guards Dionte Savage and Nila Kasitati both started the Sugar Bowl, and former starter Tyler Evans returns after sitting out the last two years with injury. The Sooners also have been grooming Ikard’s replacement at center in Ty Darlington, who has played well in a reserve role the last two years. Even without Ikard, this is a seasoned unit.

[+] EnlargeJoe Wickline
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiJoe Wickline's move from the OSU staff to Texas is an important storyline in the Big 12.
2. Kansas State: The Wildcats will be stout inside. Guard Cody Whitehair and center BJ Finney are All-Big 12 caliber. Veteran starters Cornelius Lucas and Tavon Rooks are gone at tackle, but Bill Snyder signed two of the top 15 juco tackles in the country in A.J. Allen and Luke Hayes. If Allen and Hayes can solidify the bookends, K-State could be stout up front.

3. Texas: The Longhorns return veteran center Dominic Espinosa, who has 39 career starts. But with three starters gone, the Longhorns really need the light to come up for Desmond Harrison. The talent is there, and if Harrison can put it all together, he’ll give Texas a much-needed bookend on the left side. There’s potential elsewhere in freshman guard Rami Hammad and sophomore tackle Kent Perkins, who could both earn starting roles this spring. The biggest addition to this group will be new assistant Joe Wickline, who worked magic with the offensive lines in Stillwater.

4. Baylor: The Bears need left tackle Spencer Drango to make a healthy recovery from his back injury. After Drango was injured in November, Baylor struggled at times to keep quarterback Bryce Petty upright. Departing unanimous All-American guard Cyril Richardson is irreplaceable, though Desmine Hilliard had a solid sophomore season at right guard. Sophomore Kyle Fuller looks ready to take over at center, but the Bears will need another piece or two to emerge. The skill talent is in place for the Baylor offense to keep humming. How the players up front perform will determine whether it will.

5. Oklahoma State: The key for the Cowboys here will be a healthy return of left tackle Devin Davis. Davis might have been Oklahoma State’s best lineman last season, but suffered a torn ACL during a preseason that knocked him out for the year. Davis has NFL ability, and if he resumes his role, that will allow Daniel Koenig to move back to right tackle. The O-line in Stillwater was something never to worry about because of Wickline’s masterful track record of mixing and matching to get a right fit. It will be interesting to see how the line performs next season with Wickline now at Texas.

[+] EnlargeLe'Raven Clark
John Albright/Icon SMITexas Tech's Le'Raven Clark is one of the best offensive tackles in the Big 12.
6. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have an NFL talent in left tackle Le'Raven Clark, who earned All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore. Despite Clark, the Red Raiders line struggled last year, giving up 33 sacks (second-worst in the Big 12). But it should be improved in 2014. Juco tackles Dominique Robertson (ESPN JC 50) and Shaq Davis are on the way, and 2013 RT starter Rashad Fortenberry could be back, too, if the NCAA grants him a medical hardship waiver. Losing guard Beau Carpenter to dismissal hurts, but Baylen Brown has starting experience. Brown, Alfredo Morales, James Polk and center Jared Kaster all return after combining for 31 starts along the interior last season.

7. West Virginia: The good news is that the Mountaineers should be superb inside. Quinton Spain is one of the best returning guards in the league, and Mark Glowinski had a solid season at the other guard spot. Tackle, however, is the biggest question on the entire squad going into the spring, outside QB. Coach Dana Holgorsen said Friday that guard Marquis Lucas would be swinging to the outside to compete with Adam Pankey, Marcell Lazard and Sylvester Townes.

8. Iowa State: A healthy Tom Farniok at center would go a long way in stabilizing an inconsistent offensive line that gave up a Big 12-high 38 sacks last season. Farniok was never healthy last year, and it showed. The Cyclones are excited about the potential of Brock Dagel as a cornerstone at left tackle. Jacob Gannon will battle Jake Campos for the other tackle spot, while Jamison Lalk, Oni Omoile and juco transfer Wendell Taiese will compete for the guard spot opposite Daniel Burton. Under the new offensive regime, this line could enjoy huge improvement from 2013.

9. TCU: The line was one of many reasons why the TCU offense struggled so much in 2013. Getting Matt Pryor on the field would be a big help. Pryor is massive at 6-foot-7, 350 pounds, and could fill a need a tackle. Getting Tayo Fabuluje back after a year away from football could help, too, assuming he’s not too rusty. Juco guard Frank Kee, who chose the Horned Frogs over Oklahoma, could fill a spot inside immediately. True freshman Ty Barrett, the prize in a hotly contested recruiting battle, could challenge for time quickly, too.

10. Kansas: John Reagan takes over at offensive coordinator and line coach, and he’ll have some talented newcomers to weave into the rotation. Devon Williams and Keyon Haughton both arrived as three-star guards from Georgia Military College. Haughton is already on campus and could start right away. Freshman Jacob Bragg, the No. 3 center recruit in the country, could vie for time immediately, too, at the vacancy at center (2013 backup center Dylan Admire has moved to fullback/tight end).
Every Thursday, SoonerNation releases the Sooner Intel, a sneak peek inside Oklahoma Sooners football recruiting with news and notes on the latest happenings around the program. Talk about it on our forum. A few things discussed in this week's update:

  • The Sooners are right back in the mix with a four-star cornerback
  • One target is headed to a junior college
  • New receiver commit gets to know his position coach on official visit
  • New defensive tackle commits talks official visit, how he and his host bonded
  • Breaking down Oklahoma's search for two more offensive tackles
  • The Sooners have offered a new defensive tackle

Read the Sooner Intel after the jump.


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Desmond Harrison has taken all of his official visits. He’s done all but one of his in-home visits. The checklist is almost complete. All that’s left is to make a decision.

The three-star Contra Costa (Calif.) College offensive tackle hosted coaches from Texas and Arizona State last week and USC is expected to make one in the near future, though Harrison doesn’t know when.


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OU's eyes on St. John, Bibbs, Russell 

December, 19, 2012
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Going into the first day of the junior college signing period, Oklahoma knows it has one commit locked down. Punter Jed Barnett (Oakland, Calif./Laney CC) is not going anywhere.

Toby Johnson
Hutchinson CC Sports InformationToby Johnson is one of the top juco priorities on Oklahoma's recruiting board.
But if the Sooners have their way, three more names are going to enter the fold. Two of them could come from the same juco, Trinity Valley in Athens, Texas.

As OU prepares to see which letters of intent come its way, here are some of the top junior college targets on OU’s board.

Commit

Jed Barnett: Again, no question about Barnett. He said he is expected to reach Norman Jan. 11 weekend and is going to live with friend and fellow kicker Michael Hunnicutt.

Targets

DT Toby Johnson (Hutchinson, Kan./Hutchinson CC): Johnson is ranked No. 4 in the ESPN JuCo 100 despite the fact he is currently recovering from a torn MCL and partially torn ACL.

He has made official visits to OU, Georgia and Missouri and has one set for Mississippi State in January. He feels like a strong lean toward the Bulldogs, but OU defensive tackles coach Jackie Shipp has not stopped trying to lure Johnson to the Sooners.

Johnson said he is not going to sign during this period and will wait until February before making his decision.

OT Josiah St. John (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley): A four-star recruit, St. John is ranked No. 6 in the ESPN JuCo 100. He made an official visit to OU earlier this season.

He also made unofficial visit to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State during the summer, but it feels like this might be a battle between OU and Kansas.

Yes, that Kansas. St. John took an official visit to KU earlier this month. Though the program hasn’t had much success, the Jayhawks are making a living off juco kids for their 2013 class. St. John would be the seventh ESPN JuCo 100 signee for KU if it happens.

The Jayhawks have already enticed No. 1-ranked overall prospect Marquel Combs (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College) to come to Lawrence.

TE Emmanuel Bibbs (Yuma, Ariz./Arizona Western): Bibbs sort of snuck on OU’s radar in the last month, but it’s clear he has become one of the top priorities for OU tight ends coach Bruce Kittle and OU coach Bob Stoops.


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Offensive tackles remain OU's focus 

December, 10, 2012
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Oklahoma’s last offensive commit for its 2013 class was three-star athlete Austin Bennett (Manvel, Texas/Manvel) on June 20.

[+] EnlargeAustin Bennett
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comATH Austin Bennett pledged to OU in June, which was the last time an offensive player committed to the program.
June 20? The Sooners have gone nearly six months without a commit on that side of the ball. Heading into the final two months until national signing day, that will obviously have to change.

Here is a position-by-position breakdown of who OU is looking at to close out the class.

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Junior college offensive tackle Desmond Harrison (San Pablo, Calif./Contra Costa College) has been around the recruiting trail enough to know when something feels genuine and when it’s a coach just telling him what he wants to hear.

Following his official visit to Oklahoma over the weekend, he said it’s the former when it comes to OU’s interest and his interest in the Sooners.


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Sooner Intel: Recruiting news and notes 

November, 23, 2012
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Every Thursday (or Friday this week because of the holiday), SoonerNation releases the Sooner Intel, a sneak peek inside Oklahoma Sooners football recruiting with news and notes on the latest happenings around the program. Talk about it on our forum. A few things discussed in this week's update:

  • Bain excited to see Oklahoma City, OU
  • One recruit considered switching his commitment to OU after a recent visit

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