Oklahoma Sooners: Malik Greaves

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.

Breaking down the board: Safety 

November, 14, 2012
11/14/12
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Each week, "Breaking down the board" will take a deeper, position-by-position look at the prospects Oklahoma is target. SoonerNation will rank five players at each position with No. 1 being the player who should be OU’s top priority of the five recruits listed.

To be clear, this ranking has nothing to do with the Sooners' actual recruiting board/priority list. It's simply our ranking list compiled of the recruits at the position who have expressed legitimate interest in the Sooners and who could be the best fits for OU’s system.

Today we look at Oklahoma's safety board:


Marcell Harris
Jeff Peoples/IntersportUnder Armour All-American safety Marcell Harris is the No. 66 player in the ESPN 150.
1. Marcell Harris, Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips

Measurables: 6-foot-1, 209 pounds, 4.58 40-yard dash

Rankings: No 68 on the ESPN150, No. 7 safety, No. 19 in Florida, No. 36 in the Southeast region.

ESPN.com grade: 85, four-star recruit.

How he’d fit: Harris is ready to play immediately and has the talent to be a difference maker in the later stages of his career. He has the versatility to play the role of Tony Jefferson or Javon Harris in OU’s defensive system.

Why he's No. 1: He might be the most college-ready prospect at safety remaining on OU’s board. While it will be extremely difficult to lure him out of SEC country, he’s worth the effort if OU could land him.

Bob Przybylo's take: You could make the argument Harris is the top target on OU's board defensively, but he also might be the biggest longshot among the group. Harris is likely to stay home at Florida. And if the Gators somehow do not get his pledge, Texas has done an outstanding job as well in trying to lure him to Austin. OU got the short end of the stick on his visit, too, as Harris came in Saturday morning and was gone by Sunday afternoon.

2. Tyler Foreman, Encino, Calif./Crespi Carmelite

Measurables: 6-foot-2, 161 pounds, 4.63 40-yard dash

Rankings: No. 32 safety, No. 98 in West region, No. 67 in California.

ESPN.com grade: 77. Three-star prospect.

How he’d fit: Foreman is very raw and relatively new to playing defense so he might not make an immediate impact. But he has the ball skills, instincts and playmaking ability that Mike Stoops covets.

Why he's No. 2: He might not be ready to play immediately so Harris gets the slight nod. But it’s not outside of the realm of possibility for him to become Harris’ equal during the latter part of their collegiate careers.

Bob Przybylo's take: It has felt like defensive backs coach Mike Stoops has done all the right things with Foreman. He got in on him early, was one of his first offers, was able to get him for an official visit, but it looks like OU is on the outside looking in. Foreman was blown away by his Wisconsin visit and there are reports that Saturday's announcement is a mere formality for the Badgers. Want some Sooner Magic? We'll see what Mike and Bob Stoops can do in next 72 hours.

3. Malik Greaves, Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood

Measurables: 6-foot-2, 205 pounds

Rankings: No. 15 safety, No. 70 in Florida, No. 175 in Southeast region

ESPN.com grade: 81, four-star prospect.

How he’d fit: Greaves is very similar to Tony Jefferson in that he is aggressive in run support yet has the athletic ability to hold his own in coverage. He would bring good size to the Sooners secondary and is a solid tackler.

Why he's No. 3: There has been no indication that the Sooners are interested in Greaves. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be. OU swooped into Florida late in the recruiting cycle last season to land Gary Simon, why not try to do the same with Greaves?

Bob Przybylo's take: If Harris is the longshot, then Greaves is the dark horse. Greaves has the size and physicality that Mike Stoops loves, especially his ability to help in run support. Originally a Vanderbilt commit, Greaves has been looking at Auburn and West Virginia the most. But with OU's focus on Florida and with Mike Stoops having to head that way for in-home visits, it wouldn't be the worst idea to see what Greaves is thinking now.

4. Jordan Sterns, Cibolo, Texas/Byron P. Steele

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