NCF On The Trail: Oklahoma Sooners

The Oklahoma Sooners must recruit the state of Texas effectively to maximize their ability as a program, and this is especially true in Dallas/Fort Worth and East Texas. On Tuesday night, Bob Stoops and staff scored big at North Mesquite High, picking up a verbal from ESPN Junior 300 offensive tackle Jean Delance.

Early Offer: Malik Jefferson's final 7 

November, 24, 2014
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Malik Jefferson reduced his list to seven schools on Monday, and though the list is hardly a surprise, recruiters think there are still some in store with the No. 35 player in the country.

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Even though USC still has the top-ranked recruiting class in the Pac-12, things are a lot closer after Keisean Lucier-South picked UCLA over the weekend. Plus, Kansas is looking for positives on the recruiting trail and the Jayhawks have got a big one in quarterback Ryan Willis.

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Big 12's top recruiting visits 

November, 21, 2014
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With Kansas State holding off West Virginia on Thursday, the Big 12 will have another three-game weekend. Will the conference have a couple players finalize their college plans?


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Early Offer: Who will land Soso Jamabo? 

November, 20, 2014
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Soso Jamabo loved visits to UCLA and Notre Dame, but is it too early to count out the Texas schools? Plus, NC State added a key pledge on Wednesday that should give the Wolfpack much-needed help on the offensive line.

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There have been some interesting names linked to the Florida opening, but several coaches believe Marshall's Doc Holliday could be a good recruiting fit in Gainesville. Plus, many expected ESPN 300 OT Chuma Edoga to flip from USC to Georgia, but it looks like the Trojans have won the battle in the end.


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UA jersey tour: Anthony Wheeler

November, 11, 2014
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DALLAS -- The number 7 holds a lot of weight for linebackers at Dallas Skyline High School. Most recently, Corey Nelson and Peter Jinkens have gone on to do great things wearing the Skyline jersey.

It’s now Anthony Wheeler's turn, and the ESPN 300 linebacker has yet to disappoint. He was rewarded for his efforts Tuesday, as he was the guest of honor during an Under Armour All-America Game jersey ceremony, sponsored by American Family Insurance, at his school.

Nelson was a 2009 Under Armour All-American, and Jinkens received the honor in 2012. Wheeler called following their footsteps “a blessing.”

“They’ve always said here that No. 7 is the leader on the defense and one of the most dominant players on the defense in past years at Skyline,” Wheeler said. “I look up to all those guys. Corey Nelson, Peter Jinkens ... all of them were great players, and I just try to play like them and want to exceed at the level they’re on.

“I’m very thankful for everything that’s come to me. It’s amazing.”



At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Wheeler can play inside linebacker and outside linebacker at the next level. He is the nation’s No. 3 inside linebacker and ranked No. 89 overall in the ESPN 300.

Additionally, Wheeler also is one of the most sought-after uncommitted athletes. He's been eyeing Oklahoma and Texas for months -- no surprise since Nelson played for Oklahoma before signing with the Denver Broncos, and Jinkens is currently at Texas. However, Wheeler stressed that LSU is just as much an option for his college plans, as he’s been in frequent contact with the coaching staff.

Wheeler said he doesn’t have any official visits planned and is focusing his attention on Skyline’s run through the Texas Class 6A playoffs. He'll focus on his college future after.

For now, he’ll do what the No. 7s of the past did -- play to win and make a statement doing so. And when January comes, look for Wheeler to do the same at the Under Armour game.

“I just want people to know I can play with anybody in the nation,” he said. “They’re going to see how physical I am.”

Quick hits on Anthony Wheeler

Best UA Game player ever: “I’ll go with Jadeveon Clowney. He goes 100 percent every play. He’s very physical, he dominates the O-line and he always attacks the ball.”

Best player at Skyline not named Anthony Wheeler: Rice DT commit Zach Abercrumbia

Favorite football memory: “When I was in middle school, I used to play running back. Scoring touchdowns was an exciting memory for me.”

Did you know ... “I’m a shoe freak. I love shoes. Matter of fact, I’m addicted to shoes.”

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

November, 11, 2014
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For Texas, it was lose a player, gain a player. For Texas Tech, it was all about gaining a potential sleeper -- even though it didn’t have the luxury of having the game-day experience as support.

For Oklahoma, it was about impressing the future stars in attendance despite a lackluster performance on the field. For TCU, the concept was simple: Earn a quality win, impress the visitors in attendance and keep the College Football Playoff committee interested.

It was a good weekend for Big 12 recruiting. Here is an in-depth look at how the weekend concluded:


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Star 2016 DT Edwin Alexander backed away from an early pledge to LSU, but expect his next pledge to stick this time around. The battle for ESPN 300 offensive guard Joshua Wariboko will come down to two schools.


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Big 12 recruiting scorecard

November, 10, 2014
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Here is what's happening on the recruiting trail around the Big 12 this week:


BAYLOR
Total commits: 12
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: Waco (Texas) Midway four-star safety Kahlil Haughton was on hand to see Baylor embarrass Oklahoma, 48-14, on the Sooners' home field. Both schools are recruiting the elite safety prospect so the Bears undoubtedly made a strong impression on the Class of 2015 prospect.


IOWA STATE
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: ISU’s week on the recruiting trail was a reminder how quickly things can change. The Cyclones landed Navarro Junior College tackle Tristan Nickelson early in the week, only to see him flip his commitment to Texas on Saturday. Rough week in Ames.


KANSAS
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Class of 2016 quarterback Dagan Haehn of Corinth, Texas/Lake Travis was on hand to see the Jayhawks capture their first Big 12 win over the season with a 34-14 triumph over Iowa State. The Jayhawks also offered Shawnee Mission (Kansas) East defensive tackle Kyle Ball.


KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: It was a rough weekend for the Wildcats on the field, but Bill Snyder’s program is looking at a good “case of the Mondays” after Loganville (Georgia) Grayson linebacker Mohamed Barry committed to KSU Monday morning. The three-star prospect also reports offers from Wisconsin, South Florida, NC State and others. He continues the Wildcats' trend of looking for hidden gems in Georgia as the fourth 2015 KSU commit from The Peach State.


OKLAHOMA
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 6
The latest: Along with Haughton, the Sooners had several visitors for the game against Baylor including UCLA commit Will Lockett (Manvel, Texas/Manvel) and current commit Kenneth Mann (Burleson, Texas/Burleson).


OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 15
ESPN 300 commits: 4
The latest: Several Cowboys coaches hit the recruiting trail with OSU on a bye week. The Cowboys also offered junior college offensive lineman Tyler Howell (Butler C.C.), who has offers from Arkansas, Ohio State, Missouri and others.


TCU
Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Horned Frogs hosted several recruits for their game against Kansas State including Class of 2016 prospect Kaleb McNac (Garland, Texas/Lakeview Centennial) and Keion Sutton (Midlothian, Texas/Midlothian).


TEXAS
Total commits: 18
ESPN 300 commits: 9
The latest: The Longhorns flipped Navarro Junior College offensive tackle Tristan Nickelson, who was previously committed to Iowa State. Meanwhile UT lost a commitment when Converse, Texas/Judson safety Keivon Ramsey decided to re-open his recruiting process.


TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 5
The latest: The Red Raiders added a commitment from Humble (Texas) Atascocita receiver Quan Shorts. The three-star prospect flipped from Texas San Antonio to pledge to Kliff Kingsbury’s program.


WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 21
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: The Mountaineers offered Coconut Creek (Florida) Monarch receiver Cavin Ridley, the No. 264 player in the ESPN Junior 300. Miami (Fla.) and Temple have also offered Ridley, who is the younger brother of Alabama commitment Calvin Ridley, the No. 23 player in the ESPN 300.

Best of the visits: Big 12

November, 9, 2014
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It was a big recruiting weekend for Texas and Oklahoma. While the Longhorns impressed on the field, the Sooners had their troubles but still managed to keep their official visitors interested.

In Fort Worth, TCU didn’t have any official visitors, but when building for the future, unofficial visits -- particularly this time of year -- are huge.

Here are some highlights from recruiting visits in the Big 12:

TCU shines in quest for College Football Playoff

In what was arguably its biggest win of the season, TCU dominated Kansas State and helped its chances of a College Football Playoff berth. The Horned Frogs’ 41-20 win was enjoyed by several unofficial visitors.

Before the game, however, high three-star WR commit Jaelan Austin had a premonition about how things would turn out.


Three-star DB Niko Small was in attendance, and he enjoyed his time watching his future team shine. Of the 17 TCU pledges for the 2015 class, Small is the only safety commitment thus far.


TCU's performance put smiles on the faces of several commits, including high three-star CB DeShawn Raymond. TCU’s newest commit paid attention to his future team, and as the game went on, he got more and more antsy about calling Fort Worth home.


The Horned Frogs are looking good for the 2015 class, but they are always keeping their eyes open to find talent in future classes -- particularly after a performance like Saturday. One player on TCU’s radar is 2017 WR Kadarrian Nixon, who leads DeSoto (Texas) High School with 38 receptions -- two more than Kansas commit Kevin Thomas and 10 more than BYU commit Akile Davis.

Nixon made the trip to Fort Worth and checked off a major item on his fledgling recruiting to-do list.

Longhorns impressive in upset win

Texas picked the right time to grab a huge win, downing No. 23 West Virginia 33-16 in Austin. The Longhorns needed a victory to keep their chances of being bowl eligible alive.

In front of a host of official visitors, the Longhorns scored their signature win under Charlie Strong, taking out a ranked West Virginia team that was playing with a lot of confidence. One of the official visitors on hand was ESPN 300 TE Devonaire Clarington, one of five prospects in town from Florida.


Four-star ATH DeAndre McNeal, an in-state prospect, had a chance to pose with Strong before the game. McNeal will make his college decision next month, and the Longhorns are in the hunt, as are Texas A&M, UCLA, Alabama and Miami.

Tim Irvin, another four-star athlete, not only made an official visit to Austin, but he also made sure his attire was proper. Note the coordination with the shorts in this picture.


ESPN 300 CB Kris Boyd was in attendance on an unofficial visit with his younger brother, 2016 LB Demarco Boyd. Texas is battling with Texas A&M for Kris Boyd, a defensive back who could come in and be serviceable immediately in Strong’s defense.


Wins like Saturday’s keep Texas relevant. They also keep the younger recruits interested. ESPN Junior 300 WR Collin Johnson, a Texas commit, made the unofficial visit from California to watch his future squad.

Recruits watch Sooners fall

High three-star DE Kenneth Mann was one of several recruits in Norman to watch Oklahoma take on Baylor. Mann committed to the Sooners in July.


Rarely do we see Oklahoma manhandled. Even more rare is watching the Sooners get manhandled at home. No. 12 Baylor routed No. 15 Oklahoma 48-14 in front of several official visitors, but don’t think one bad loss will be the defining moment for many recruits.

A trio of ESPN 300 athletes, OT Drew Richmond, WR Ryan Newsome and LB Darrin Kirkland Jr., took time out for a photo during the game. Kirkland then tweeted a message that caught the attention of fans all over the country.

Big 12's top recruiting visits 

November, 7, 2014
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With the month of November upon us, games are beginning to matter more. Even more so, recruiting visits are becoming more and more important.

There are four games on Saturday’s Big 12 schedule, and while the biggest game of the weekend won't host any official visits, look for two traditional powers to have huge official visit weekends. Additionally, be on the lookout for a couple of standout players giving coaches their verbal commitments.

Baylor at Oklahoma


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Kansas State and TCU battle in one of the biggest games of the weekend, and Horned Frog coach Gary Patterson said both teams have been built off a comparable recruiting philosophy. Could landing ESPN 300 Junior recruit Jovanny Garcia start a trend for Minnesota?


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Elite 2016 quarterback Shea Patterson will be one of many top recruits in Oxford this weekend. While the SEC leads the way in total ESPN 300 commitments, it’s another conference that has secured the most pledges to this point.

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Big 12 recruiting scorecard

October, 27, 2014
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Here's what happened on the recruiting trail around the Big 12 this week:

BAYLOR
Total commits: 12
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: Houston (Texas) Lamar prospect J.W. Ketchum made it a good bye week for the Bears with his Sunday commitment to Art Briles' program. The four-star athlete picked BU over Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Alabama and others.

IOWA STATE
Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Defense has been the focus of this recruiting class for the Cyclones. Eight of its 13 commitments are defenders including four defensive linemen. Paul Rhoads squad dealing with small numbers along its defensive front heading into this season but hopes to address some of those issues with a pair of junior college defensive linemen in Larry Jefferson and Xavier Pegues.

KANSAS
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: It’s been an interesting dynamic in Lawrence, Kansas, where interim coach Clint Bowen landed Olathe (Kansas) North tight end Josh Moore picked KU last week. Moore spurned offers from the majority of the Big 12, Auburn and Ohio State to pledge to the Jayhawks.

KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 11
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Bill Snyder’s program dipped into Texas for its latest commitment with McKinney (Texas) North safety Bryce Balous picking the Wildcats last week. The three-star prospect turned down Texas Tech and Iowa to verbal to K-State. The Wildcats also added Pittsburg (Kansas) running back Alex Barnes, who committed to KSU on Monday. The three-star prospect picked KSU over Kansas, Minnesota, Rutgers and others.

OKLAHOMA
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 6
The latest: The Sooners sent out some offers to Class of 2016 pass-catchers last week with La Canada (California) St. Francis receiver Dylan Crawford and West Hills (California) Chaminade receiver Dymond Lee reportedly receiving offers last week. Both receivers are ESPN Junior 300 members and four-star prospects.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 4
The latest: It wasn’t a great day on the field but one ray of light came to Oklahoma State during Saturday’s 34-10 loss to West Virginia as ESPNJr300 member Mike Williams appeared to love his unofficial to OSU, tweeting about his visit multiple times on Saturday.

TCU
Total commits: 16
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Not only did TCU score big on the field, putting up 82 points against Texas Tech, the Horned Frogs could have scored big on the recruiting trail as well. Gladewater (Texas) defensive tackle Daylon Mack, the No. 15 player in the ESPN 300, loved his official visit to TCU. He’s currently committed to Texas A&M but it appears Gary Patterson’s program definitely gave the elite defensive tackle something to think about.

TEXAS
Total commits: 18
ESPN 300 commits: 9
The latest: ESPN 300 member Cameron Townsend picked Texas on Sunday, becoming the 18th commitment for Charlie Strong’s program. The Missouri City (Texas) Ridge Point linebacker picked UT over Oklahoma, Baylor, TCU, USC, Michigan and others. He is the No. 284 player in the ESPN 300.

TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 11
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: Could it get any worse for Kliff Kingsbury’s program? Not only did Tech give up 82 points to TCU, its top 2015 commitment, quarterback Jarrett Stidham, broke his hand over the weekend. The injury shouldn’t impact his future as a Red Raider but there doesn’t seem to be much good news in Lubbock, Texas, right now.

WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 21
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: It could be a critical recruiting weekend with TCU and ESPN’s "College Gameday" heading to Morgantown, West Virginia, on Saturday. Expect several prospects to take advantage of the opportunity with ESPN 300 defensive tackle Tim Settle, ESPN 300 athlete Jordan Cronkite and Army All-American Tim Irvin among the early list of prospects who could be on campus.

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