Oklahoma Sooners: Jake Raulerson

Every year, true freshmen enroll in college early to participate in spring ball, often with hopes of augmenting their chances for playing time in the fall. More times than not, it doesn’t work out that way.

Last year, 21 high school seniors enrolled early in the Big 12. Below is a breakdown of the outcomes from their first college seasons:

Baylor
QB Chris Johnson: A highly-touted, four-star signee, Johnson got a valuable extra spring working under coach Art Briles. But Bryce Petty was healthy and tremendous all season and Seth Russell proved to be a more than a viable backup, prompting Johnson to redshirt. After Petty and then Russell, Johnson appears to be the next in a budding line of superb Baylor QBs.

Iowa State
OT Shawn Curtis: Curtis was the top recruit in the Cyclones' 2013 class. Though Jacob Gannon and Brock Dagel seem entrenched at the tackle positions, Curtis will have ample opportunity to work into the two-deep this fall.

LB Alton Meeks: The versatile Meeks settled in as a linebacker in Ames. He too redshirted, and he too could step into the two-deep next season.

Kansas
DB Colin Spencer: Spencer, who redshirted last season, was recruited as a defensive back but has since been moved to halfback/flanker with the Jayhawks looking for pass-catching help.

Kansas State
K Matthew McCrane: Watched as Jack Cantele won the starting place-kicking job as a sophomore. Will have to wait awhile before getting another shot.

Oklahoma
WR Dannon Cavil: Cavil turned heads with his combination of size and speed in the spring, and he seemed primed to break into the receiving rotation. But that never happened, and he wound up redshirting. With 2013 starters Jalen Saunders and Lacoltan Bester gone, Cavil will have another chance at playing time this spring.

S Ahmad Thomas: Thomas created a buzz in the spring, but couldn’t topple veterans Quentin Hayes, Gabe Lynn and Julian Wilson. He is vying for a starting job this spring and figures to be a key part of the secondary in 2014.

DE D.J. Ward: The No. 1-rated player from the state of Oklahoma, Ward endured qualifying issues that kept him from participating for much of spring ball. Then during the preseason, he had to have his spleen removed, which forced a redshirt. Ward has talent, but he needs to catch a break.


Oklahoma State
DE Naim Mustafaa: The Cowboys swiped this four-star recruit just in time to get him enrolled for spring ball. But Mustafaa left the team over the summer. He landed at Miami, but he bolted from there too during the season.

Texas
LB Deoundrei Davis: Davis spent the year redshirting and recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in high school. The Longhorns remain stacked at linebacker, so Davis will have another season to improve his strength and agility.

C Jake Raulerson: Raulerson also redshirted, giving him the opportunity to bulk up as he moved to the interior of the line. He should back up senior Dominic Espinosa this season and is on track to be the center of the future.

QB Tyrone Swoopes: Former coach Mack Brown controversially pulled Swoopes’ redshirt midway through the season, but Swoopes never unseated Case McCoy and attempted only 13 passes the entire season. Swoopes has all the tools, but will need to show more polish this spring to make a serious run at Texas’ influx starting quarterback job.

TCU
QB Zach Allen: The Horned Frogs had massive issues at the quarterback spot after Casey Pachall suffered a broken forearm, but Allen never was called on for help and redshirted instead. He’s battling Trevone Boykin and Tyler Matthews for the job this spring, and the pressure will be on to make an impression to the new offensive regime, with Grayson Muehlstein and Foster Sawyer set to join the QB competition over the summer.

TE Bryson Burtnett: After redshirting last season, Burtnett could help the Horned Frogs as a blocking tight end this fall.

OT Eason Fromayan: Also redshirted last season. Tackle is a position of concern for TCU, but there are other options that appear to be ahead of him in the pecking order early in spring ball.

Texas Tech
QB Davis Webb: Kliff Kingsbury’s first QB signee, Webb had quite the rollercoaster first season. With the favorite to start, Michael Brewer, ailing with a back injury, Webb had a golden opportunity to seize the starting job. Instead, walk-on freshman Baker Mayfield beat him out. Webb made the most of his opportunities when they came, though. After Mayfield suffered a knee injury, Webb led Tech to a come-from-behind win at West Virginia. After Mayfield transferred, Webb delivered one of the best bowl performances of any QB, throwing for 403 yards and four touchdowns in a convincing win over heavily-favored Arizona State. As the only scholarship QB currently on campus, Webb is finally the clear-cut starter going into 2014. And if he builds on his bowl showing, he could have a monster sophomore campaign.

West Virginia
LB Hodari Christian: Christian redshirted last season. Considering the Mountaineers are loaded with experience at linebacker, it could be some time before Christian steps onto the field defensively.

S Malik Greaves: Greaves too redshirted in 2013 and is currently listed this spring as the third-team “spur” linebacker behind K.J. Dillon and Marvin Gross.

QB Chavas Rawlins: Rawlins went through spring ball with the Mountaineers, but he left the program after spring ball because the coach that had recruited him, Jake Spavital, left West Virginia to become the quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator at Texas A&M. Rawlins ended up enrolling at Duquesne.

WR Daikiel Shorts: Shorts was arguably the most impressive true freshman during the preseason for West Virginia and ended up starting nine games. He also tied for the team lead with 45 receptions and figures to be a playmaking cornerstone in Morgantown.

RB Wendell Smallwood: Smallwood started out helping on special teams, but he eventually carved out a role on the offense as a third-team running back behind Charles Sims and Dreamius Smith. He finished the season with 221 rushing yards on 39 carries. Even though carries will be competitive to get again, Smallwood’s versatility should cement him a role in the offense.


Since reopening his recruitment last month, four-star offensive guard Caleb Benenoch (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes) has been enjoying the process on all angles. Part of his fun has been hearing from the already-committed players on a regular basis.

“I hear from Jake Raulerson a lot,” Benenoch said of the Celina, Texas, offensive lineman who has committed to Texas. “We’re pretty good friends and very good competitors. It’d be fun to be teammates with him. I’m probably going to let him know which school I’ll commit to before I announce it.
Four-star offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes) has informed HornsNation that he has decommitted from Michigan State, opening up the possibility of a commitment to Texas.

Benenoch called his Michigan State recruiter on Tuesday night and delivered the bad news that many expected following Benenoch’s visit to Texas on Sunday.

“It was real difficult,” Benenoch said. “One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was make that call. The coaches on the staff are great people.

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Little changes for OU after UT junior day 

February, 13, 2012
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Maybe the expectations were simply too high when it came to Texas’ first junior day. The Longhorns, who have had a track record of rounding up one top commit after another on the day, didn’t get a verbal commitment on Sunday. And Oklahoma fans are clearly excited about not losing out in any head-to-head battles at this point.

The key word there might also be Sunday, though. The same type of attitude the Oklahoma coaches used with top recruits last weekend seemed to be in full effect in Austin, Texas, this weekend. The trend right now is not to rush the prospects into making a split-second decision.

[+] EnlargeJustin Manning
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comDefensive tackle prospect Justin Manning received a Texas offer on Sunday but did not commit.
And because of that mentality, Texas still just has one commit in offensive tackle Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas/Celina), while the Sooners are still looking at a goose egg in the commitment department.

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Raulerson to play in 2013 UA game 

January, 11, 2012
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ESPNU Watch List offensive tackle Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas) had an invitation from both the Under Armour and U.S. Army all-American games. The Army invite came first, but the star lineman decided on playing in Florida rather than San Antonio.

Raulerson, one of the nation’s most highly touted juniors, will showcase his skills in next year’s Under Armour All-American Game, as he has accepted an offer to play in that game. Raulerson, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound lineman, said both games have the prestige and tradition, as well as the talented players, but he said that getting the chance to play in Florida one-upped the opportunity of playing in Texas.

“I just think it’s a lot of fun to be able to go to Florida and have a fun week,” Raulerson said. “I’ll get to play with some of the best players in the country. I’m very blessed to be chosen and very excited about playing in the game next year.”

Raulerson has 24 offers, the latest coming from Ohio State and coach Urban Meyer. Among the schools interested in him are Auburn, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and newly crowned BCS champion Alabama.

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Watch List OT Raulerson gets 23rd offer 

December, 16, 2011
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Watch List offensive tackle Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas) is one of the most popular offensive linemen of the Class of 2013. He has 23 offers to prove it.

Raulerson picked up his 23rd offer -- and arguably one of his biggest -- from Ohio State on Thursday night. New Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer is a familiar face of sorts, as Raulerson used to attend Meyer’s youth camps when he was at Florida.

“I had the chance to talk to him, and he said I had an offer,” said Raulerson, who was at Cowboys Stadium on Friday watching Argyle (Texas) and his friend, three-star tackle and Texas Tech commit Trey Keenan, play for the Texas Class 3A Division II championship against Wimberley (Texas).

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There might not have been a more highly recruited junior at the Red River Rivalry than Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas/Celina), who has 20 offers already. Oklahoma is one of those and Texas will surely add its name to the mix in February.

Raulerson told HornsNation's William Wilkerson that the outcome of the game didn’t affect his opinion on the Longhorns at all.

“All I know is Texas is a young team and they are going to get better in a couple of years,” Raulerson said. “They are going to be that team in a couple of years that is going to be that top-five, top-10 team just like Oklahoma.

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Notable visitors for Oklahoma-Texas 

October, 6, 2011
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A win against Texas can be a push in the right direction for Oklahoma, giving the Sooners the edge in head-to-head recruiting battles. And looking ahead to 2013, there could be some good ones between the Red River rivals.

Many 2013 prospects are expected to attend Saturday's OU-Texas game, and three notable 2012 recruits who have committed elsewhere will be on hand. What’s at stake this weekend? Here are some of the notable visitors:

Committed elsewhere

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Before last weekend, junior quarterback Brayden Scott (Tahlequah, Okla./Sequoyah) had never been to an OU game.

After this weekend, it will be two games in two weeks. Scott said he is going on another unofficial visit for the Sooners' game against Ball State on Saturday.

Scott was asked by the OU coaching staff to get in touch this week, and the result led to another trip for the high school player.

“I’m going again and hopefully this will be a business trip for me,” Scott said.

The first thing for Scott is Friday’s game against Claremore (Okla.) Sequoyah. He is coming off what he said was the worst game of his career, throwing five interceptions in an overtime loss.

Scott has named OU and Arkansas as his two favorites right now and has offers from Alabama and Arkansas, among others.

***

Offensive tackle Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas/Celina) is making the most out of his trips. Raulerson has seen 10 campuses already and was on hand at OU for the Sooners’ 38-28 victory against Misouri.

He’s not done yet. Raulerson posted on his Facebook page that he is taking an unofficial visit to Florida this weekend to watch the Gators against Alabama.

Raulerson, who is on the ESPNU Watch List for 2013, has mentioned the Sooners being on his list but one team that could compete with OU is Florida. Raulerson has said in the past how much he likes the Gators.

***

It’s going to be more waiting for junior running back Darius Graham (Lawton, Okla./MacArthur).

After missing out on his chance to attend last week’s OU game against Missouri, Graham said he also won’t be at Saturday’s game against Ball State because it is homecoming weekend at MacArthur.

However, that doesn’t mean the Sooners no longer have Graham’s interest. He said he’ll continue to try to find another game for which he can make an unofficial visit.
Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas/Celina) was impressed as he returned home after his unofficial visit to Oklahoma for the Sooners’ 38-28 win over Missouri on Saturday night.

The in-game atmosphere, Sooners fans and postgame locker room left lasting impressions on the 6-foot-5, 250-pound offensive tackle prospect.

“It was a great atmosphere; it was very loud,” Raulerson said. “It was packed; I saw on the board they had sold out something like 74 straight games. That is pretty amazing, that they are able to sell out that many games.”

One of OU’s top targets in the class of 2013, Raulerson also liked what he saw and heard after the game in the locker room with several OU coaches and players expressing disappointment despite the Sooners’ 10-point victory.

“Coach (Bob) Stoops wasn’t very happy with it,” Raulerson said of the postgame locker room. “Even though they won, they knew they could do better, they weren’t satisfied with it.”

Raulerson said his visit to Norman compares favorably with Texas and Texas A&M, schools he also has visited, but, “I don’t really have a preference, they’re all great atmospheres.”

A member of the ESPN150 watch list, Raulerson already holds scholarship offers from several programs, including OU, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Florida, Michigan, Auburn and others.

One thing that could help the Sooners’ stand out among Raulerson’s prestigious suitors could be OU’s up-tempo offensive attack.

“I like the Sooners’ offense,” Raulerson said. “I like the tempo they bring and how fast paced it is, every 11 or so seconds they run a play. It’s a big deal, because they wear teams down and score very quickly.”

Raulerson has no timetable for making a final decision and plans to continue to make unofficial visits to various schools during his junior season.

Sooners offer 7 for class of 2013

September, 1, 2011
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With a smaller projected 2012 recruiting class, Oklahoma already has been aggressively pursuing 2013 prospects.

And as recruiting for juniors picks up as the football season starts, here’s a list of prospects the Sooners recently have offered:

D.J. Ward, DE, 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Lawton, Okla./Lawton
The top prospect in the state of Oklahoma has eight offers. Though Ward excels on the field, Lawton head coach Randy Breeze said his humility and work ethic put Ward on another level. Ward said he initially was wide-eyed at all the attention, but he is becoming accustomed to the interest from college coaches.

Su’a Cravens, S, 6-1, 197, Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta
OU fans don’t have to worry that Cravens is so far away from Norman. Cravens said college location is not a big factor and that playing time is more important. He already has 10 offers, including several Pac-12 schools. Cravens still is maturing and might end up at linebacker.

Derrick Griffin, TE, 6-6, 215, Rosenberg, Texas/Terry
A big question will be which sport Griffin chooses. Though the Sooners are his lone football offer, he is projected to be one of the top 150 basketball prospects in the country. He also has an offer from OU for basketball. Griffin started the season with a bang, catching a touchdown pass and a two-point conversion pass in a 22-21 victory.

Jason Hatcher, DE, 6-2, 233, Louisville, Ky./Trinity
Hatcher already has several offers but said he expects recruiting to pick up as the season starts. He hasn’t mentioned any favorites, but he said among his biggest priorities for the season is to make sure he plays hard every snap. He admitted he didn’t play at 100 percent every play last year.

E.J. Levenberry Jr., OLB, 6-3, 230, Woodbridge, Va./Hylton
Anyone hoping to get a read on Levenberry’s line of thinking is going to have to wait until after the season. Levenberry’s father, Eric, recently told ESPN.com’s Atlantic Regional Coordinator Dave Hooker that his son won’t talk about recruiting until his season is finished. Eric is hoping this will allow his son to focus on his junior season. Levenberry has 17 offers.

Jake Raulerson
, OT, 6-5, 250, Celina, Texas/Celina
It was a big summer for Raulerson, as it seemed he picked up another offer every week from a top-tier program. His offer total stands at 16, and he hasn’t named any favorites, though he did say location isn’t a concern.

Altee Tenpenny, RB, 5-11, 200, Little Rock, Ark./North Little Rock
Tenpenny is itching to get back on the field after suffering a fractured fibula and dislocated ankle in the preseason. He rushed for 1,121 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore. Tenpenny has six offers, including Alabama and Arkansas.

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