NCF On The Trail: Oklahoma Sooners

Big 12 recruiting scorecard

March, 30, 2015
Mar 30
1:00
PM ET

The latest from the Big 12 on the recruiting trail:

BAYLOR
Total commits: 7
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 4
The latest: The Bears hosted two big-time defensive recruits for unofficial visits this weekend: ESPN 300 linebacker Michael Divinity and ESPN 300 defensive end Isaiah Chambers. Both stopped by after attending camps over the weekend and have a long list of high-profile suitors. Getting them to check out Waco while they passed through was a nice move by Art Briles' staff that can only help their chances.

IOWA STATE
Total commits: 0
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Cyclones were the first to extend an offer to junior college cornerback Kamal Hardy last week, and he's expected to make an unofficial visit in April. Hardy reportedly has a longstanding relationship with assistant Maurice Linguist and could become a priority target, considering Iowa State's needs in the secondary for 2016.

KANSAS
Total commits: 1
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: One pipeline that new coach David Beaty will work hard to establish in Texas is at Cedar Hill High. The Jayhawks recently extended an offer to a good sleeper prospect, wide receiver Josh Stewart, and have also offered 2017 QB Avery Davis and WR Jaylon Jackson. It makes sense for Kansas to go after as many FBS-caliber players as possible from one of the best programs in the DFW area, a back-to-back state champion.

KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 1
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: Getting defensive Xavier Kelly back on K-State's commitment list is not going to be easy. In the week since Kelly reopened his recruiting process, he's received offers from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Ole Miss and set up a summer visit to Michigan. Kansas State will continue to recruit him hard, but those options are clearly going to give Kelly a lot to think about this spring.

OKLAHOMA
Total commits: 3
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Sooners appears to have locked in on their top quarterback target for this class: ESPN 300 standout Austin Kendall. The nation's No. 225 recruit was recently offered a scholarship and took an unofficial visit to Norman, one that seems to have significantly helped OU's chances. Kendall named Kentucky his front-runner a week ago, and Auburn and Florida are also in the mix for Kendall, a former Tennessee pledge.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 3
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: Oklahoma State could have an opportunity to bring in one more running back for the 2015 class. Former Stanford RB Kelsey Young, a graduate transfer who would be eligible to play in 2015, reportedly visited for an Oklahoma State practice last week. Young rushed for 331 yards as a backup for Stanford during his junior season. If he picks the Pokes, he'd come in with Chris Carson and Jeff Carr to help this run game right away.

TCU
Total commits: 8
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 3
The latest: The Horned Frogs are in good shape for defensive end Caleb Roddy, who reportedly called his visit to TCU this spring the best he's taken yet. Roddy, who holds nearly a dozen offers, comes from the same Denham Springs program in Louisiana that produced Frogs defensive end Tevin Lawson, so that connection could help.

TEXAS
Total commits: 4
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 3
The latest: Texas hosted several key recruits over the weekend during Texas Relays, including LSU wide receiver pledge Dee Anderson, Baylor defensive tackle pledge Jordan Elliott and coveted cornerback Eric Cuffee. The Horns were also able to get a bunch of incoming freshmen -- including out-of-state signees in tight end Devonaire Clarington and cornerback Davante Davis -- in town to watch practice on Friday and Saturday.

TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 3
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: You don't see this too often, but Texas Tech was able to secure a late pledge from a 2015 recruit in junior college OT Paul Stawarz. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound lineman's only other FBS offers came from Northern Illinois and Appalachian State, but Tech got him in on an official visit last week and will sign him to enroll in the program this summer. The addition of Stawarz completes a six-man offensive line class that should beef up Tech's depth during the next few years.

WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 7
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Mountaineers have reportedly taken an early lead for running back Kennedy McKoy, a three-star recruit out of North Carolina. Though McKoy does hold offers from North Carolina and NC State and has checked out Virginia, West Virginia put itself in front with a strong impression during McKoy's unofficial visit to Morgantown this spring.

NEW ORLEANS -- When you have some of the best defensive linemen in the nation in attendance at an event like the New Orleans Opening regional, you expect a lot of great one-on-one battles. And nothing makes for better footage than watching a dominating defensive lineman go to work. Fortunately, high profile prospects like Alabama commitment Raekwon Davis and Edward Oliver did not disappoint at Saturday’s camp.
NEW ORLEANS -- Many said the absolutely loaded 2014 recruiting class in Louisiana would never be matched. Somebody forgot to tell that to the players in 2016 class. The Bayou State is again stacked, and many of those national recruits will be on display at Saturday’s Nike Opening regional at Joe Brown Park. More than 20 players ranked in the ESPN Junior 300 will be in attendance, including nine of the top 20 players in Louisiana.

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Big 12 recruiting scorecard

March, 23, 2015
Mar 23
2:30
PM ET

Spring ball rolls on and a few new commitments rolled in, too. The latest from the Big 12 on the recruiting trail:

BAYLOR
Total commits: 7
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 4
The latest: The Bears hosted a big group of recruits for its "Friday Night Lights" scrimmage, including incoming freshmen and targets from several classes. One big man on campus was ESPN 300 lineman J.P. Urquidez, a 6-foot-6, 305-pound tackle from Copperas Cove, Texas. Urquidez also visited Miami recently and has those two schools high on his list along with Texas and Oklahoma. He's expected to make his decision this spring.

IOWA STATE
Total commits:
0
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Cyclones still have not landed a commitment for 2016. They do continue to pursue defensive end Noah Fant, though that's getting more challenging. The defensive end out of Omaha, Nebraska, recently took an unofficial visit to Nebraska and is expected to check out Purdue next. Getting him in for ISU's junior day was a good move, but Fant is drawing more and more interest these days.

KANSAS
Total commits: 1
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest:
Kansas could face an interesting battle for offensive lineman Chris Hughes of Harker Heights, Texas. He's been offered by KU, North Texas and now Texas Tech, and you wonder if his stock will rise this spring. The younger brother of Texas players Naashon Hughes and Camrhon Hughes is 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, but doesn't hold an offer from the Longhorns yet. Can KU fight to steal him from the state of Texas?

KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 1
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Wildcats lost a big-time commit over the weekend when defensive end Xavier Kelly elected to reopen his recruitment. Kelly, whose stock has been on the rise this spring, had committed to KSU back in November but is reportedly focusing on Michigan, Oregon and TCU at the moment. He checked in at 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds with a 4.55-second 40-yard dash at The Opening regional camp in Arlington, Texas.

OKLAHOMA
Total commits: 3
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Sooners got one of the nation's best running back recruits on campus. ESPN 300 running back Devwah Whaley, the nation's No. 34 recruit, took an unofficial visit to Norman over the weekend. Texas A&M is presumed to be the frontrunner for Whaley at the moment, but OU is right there in the mix along with Texas, Georgia and several other programs.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 3
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: Who might Oklahoma State take at quarterback for 2016? The favorite sure seems to be Nick Starkel, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound passer from Argyle, Texas. Though his only FBS offers are from Oklahoma State and Old Dominion, Starkel had a good showing at his Elite 11 tryout in Dallas earlier this month and is expected to visit Stillwater again at the end of the month.

TCU
Total commits: 8
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 3
The latest: The Horned Frogs' first commit for 2017 is in the books: Roshauud Paul. The athlete from Bremond, Texas, pulled the trigger on a commitment last Tuesday and is being recruited as a receiver/corner. As a sophomore, he helped lead Bremond to a Class 2A state title as a quarterback with more than 3,200 total yards and 40 TDs.

TEXAS
Total commits: 4
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 3
The latest: Texas actually has five pledges for 2016, as quarterback Matthew Merrick will grayshirt and enroll next spring. That's his final decision after several schools (led by Florida) pushed hard following signing day to flip Merrick and get him enrolled in the fall. Merrick and ESPN 300 commit Shane Buechele both are expected to arrive in Austin in January. Merrick has a big arm and will be a nice development prospect.

TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 3
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: Texas Tech's staff landed a good one in Donte Coleman. The tight end from West Mesquite High in Texas turned down a dozen other good offers to pick the Red Raiders on Saturday. Coleman, who hauled in four TDs as a junior, could be a matchup nightmare in Tech's scheme at 6-4 and 220 pounds.

WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 7
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: West Virginia's newest pledge came from Zach Sandwisch of Toledo, Ohio, an outside linebacker who likes how he'll fit in the Mountaineers' defensive plans. Sandwich racked up 80 tackles in 10 games while helping lead Central Catholic to a state title as a junior. He took visits to West Virginia, Indiana, Toledo and Bowling Green before reaching his decision last week.

Despite being only a sophomore in high school, Jack Anderson has already developed into one of the top offensive linemen in Texas and could easily become the top line target in the nation for the 2017 class.

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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Everything is bigger in Texas, especially high school football. That lesson was taught to us once again at Sunday's The Opening regional at Lamar High School.


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video Dontavious Jackson was on his way back to Houston from a visit to Norman when he checked his phone and noticed a disturbing video trending on Twitter.

In it, University of Oklahoma students of Sigma Alpha Epsilon sang racial slurs and declared they’d rather see blacks hung than admitted into their fraternity.

"Initially, I was like, 'Why would I want to go to a school where there’s racism like that?'" said Jackson, one of the nation’s top linebacker recruits in the Class of 2016. "But, you know, I talked to some people, and came to the decision that you can’t categorize an entire school based on a few people’s actions.

"Honestly, though, I don’t think every [recruit] is going to see it that way."

That is the uphill battle Oklahoma now faces as it deals with the fallout of an international embarrassment.

Recruiting is down to begin with. Now the school now has to convince the players it’s recruiting that it’s not a racist institution.

"[The video] was such a bad reflection on the people here; the so many nice people, great people here. ... and Oklahoma," said Sooners linebacker Eric Striker, who along with president David Boren appeared on CNN on Monday night to make the plea that SAE was a just a few racists on an otherwise respectful and caring campus.

"Sooners are not racists, they’re not bigots," Boren said. "They are people who respect each other and care about each other."

Dozens of Oklahoma student-athletes, including defensive end Charles Tapper, have echoed that on social media.

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Boren and the university have done just about everything they can to combat this public relations nightmare. The video was a powerful image. But so were the images of the SAE fraternity being emptied out and boarded up. The same of the images of coach Bob Stoops joining students in a protest demonstration Monday morning, and the football team later canceling practice to hold a short vigil, locked arm in arm and wearing black.

Boren said he plans to go even further, suggesting the university might try to expel the SAE students under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Such an emphatic response has already made an impression on some would-be recruits.

"I’ve been paying close attention to it," said Fort Worth prospect Mike Williams, who was in Norman over the weekend and is one of the most sought-after high school defensive linemen in the country. "They’ve handled this professionally, and they did it fast, too. I don’t think the acts of a few kids should reflect on the whole university."

Not everyone, though, has come away impressed. The day after the video went viral, ESPN 300 offensive tackle Jean Delance decommitted from Oklahoma. Delance had already reportedly been wavering in his commitment. But the video gave him a reason to eliminate the Sooners from his list.

"Very uneducated people. I wouldn’t want my son or child to go there or to anywhere like that," Delance told CBS 11 in Dallas-Fort Worth (multiple efforts to also reach Delance were unsuccessful). "It was just very disturbing to me. I didn’t like it."

Neither did Delance’s mother.

"I’ve had family history in racial issues, inequality," Altavian Delance said to CBS 11. "Jean knows these things are serious to us."

Such things are serious to Oklahoma, too, and the school, from the president down to the students, has reacted with righteous vigor. But the video is out there. And in this Internet age, it will live forever. Some damage just can’t be undone.

"It’s going to be 50-50 for a lot of [recruits] out there," Jackson said. "In the long run, it is what it is. You can’t do nothing about it."
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REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- JuJu, Biggie and now Jack Jack.

Over the past 20 years, Long Beach (California) Poly has a tradition of producing some of the best skill position players in Southern California. But recently that run has included talent recruited on such a national scale that fans and college coaches simply know the players by their nicknames.

In the 2014 class, John "JuJu" Smith was the nation's No. 24 player and a household name out of Poly. He had his pick of schools but eventually signed with USC and had 754 yards receiving as a true freshman for the Trojans. Then in Poly's 2015 class, Iman Marshall, better known as "Biggie," was the fourth-best player in the country before he inked with USC, too. Next in line at Poly is 2016 two-way star Jackie Jones, who goes by the nickname "Jack Jack."

Jack Jack proved at Sunday's The Opening regional at Redondo Union High School that he, too, is ready for the national stage. After a strong performance in the testing phase of the camp and an even better showing during drills and one-on-ones, Jones was one of six players that earned an invitation to The Opening finals on Nike's campus in Beaverton, Oregon.


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Nate Craig-Myers talks FSU visit 

March, 2, 2015
Mar 2
12:34
PM ET
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Nate Craig-Myers, the top-ranked receiver in the 2016 class, was in attendance at the Nike Football The Opening Orlando Regional on Sunday. Because of a leg injury suffered during his senior season, the 6-foot-2, 202-pound athlete did not participate. Craig-Myers did, however, take a few minutes to give an update on his recruitment.

Craig-Myers, the 10th-ranked player overall in the ESPN Junior 300, has been committed to Auburn since last July, but it is no secret that he continues to look at other programs. The talented pass-catcher took a visit to FSU on Saturday and came away impressed with his time in Tallahassee.


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KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Despite being overcast and rainy, the Orlando Nike regional camp had an incredible turnout of some of the top prospects in the ESPN Junior 300.

The impressive list of prospects in attendance was led by the 30th-ranked player in the ESPN Junior 300, No. 30 Isaac Nauta, No. 32 Feliepe Franks, No. 42 Demetris Robertson, No. 66 Rahshaun Smith and No. 92 Shaq Quarterman. The 10th-ranked player in the country, Nate Craig-Myers, was also in attendance but did not participate due to an injury.

While Saturday’s camp in Miami showcased many defensive top defensive back prospects, the offensive line was dominant on Sunday in Orlando.

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Big 12 recruiting scorecard

February, 23, 2015
Feb 23
2:30
PM ET
Junior day season is still underway, and that means a lot more offers and new names on the radar. Here's the latest on the 2016 recruiting trail in the Big 12:

BAYLOR
Total commits: 5
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 3
The latest: Baylor running back commit Kameron Martin received an offer from Texas last week, but so far that move hasn't been enough to flip him. The ESPN Junior 300 back is a cousin of former Texas great Jamaal Charles and has called UT his "dream school," but Baylor was the first to offer and he's been a loyal pledge to the Bears since July 2014.

IOWA STATE
Total commits: 0
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Cyclones were the first to offer 6-foot-5 tight end T.J. Hockenson of Chariton, Iowa. He landed his offer during a junior day visit and put up serious numbers as a junior: 73 catches, 1,116 yards and 18 touchdowns. Hockenson is expected to take a junior day trip to Kansas State as well.

KANSAS
Total commits: 2
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Jayhawks locked up their second commitment of 2016 from Antoine Frazier, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound offensive tackle from Huffman, Texas, who pledged one day after receiving an offer. Frazier was a high school teammate of KU early enrollee receiver Chase Harrell at Huffman.

KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 2
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: One of the many recruits hoping for an offer at Kansas State's junior day Feb. 28 will be Ian Rudzik, a linebacker/running back from Ulysses, Kansas, who visited KU earlier this month. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound junior is drawing interest from Arizona State and Minnesota, but a KSU offer might end his recruitment quickly.

OKLAHOMA
Total commits: 3
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 1
The latest: Though Oklahoma only picked up one commitment from its junior day last weekend, the Sooners did make progress with a number of key targets in the state of Texas. ESPN Junior 300 defensive end Marvin Terry, defensive tackle Chris Daniels and lineman Kellen Diesch all emerged with positive reviews and will be intriguing targets moving forward.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 2
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: Oklahoma State went to the juco ranks for its second pledge of 2016. Fort Scott (Kansas) Community College cornerback Malik Kearse picked the Cowboys on Thursday. He originally hails from Miami, but an elbow injury in his senior year of high school meant no offers. Kearse logged two interceptions and 10 pass breakups in his first year at Fort Scott.

TCU
Total commits: 8
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 3
The latest: TCU hosted another big junior day on Saturday and received a commitment from offensive lineman Austin Myers of Manvel, Texas. The Horned Frogs also made offers to ATH Tyrell Alexander, TE Donte Coleman and 2017 ATH Roshauud Paul and were able to get ESPN Junior 300 running back Trayveon Williams and corner Jared Mayden on campus.

TEXAS
Total commits: 3
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 2
The latest: Texas made a ton of offers this week, and most of them went to quarterbacks. LSU commit Feleipe' Franks, Oregon commit Seth Green, Texas Tech commit Tristen Wallace and Baylor commit Zach Smith all picked up Texas offers, as did uncommitted passers Xavier Gaines, Woody Barrett and Bowman Sells. Considering the Horns' depth issues at QB, taking two in this class might make sense.

TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 3
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Red Raiders landed their third commitment of the 2016 class from running back Da'Leon Ward of powerhouse Dallas Skyline. The all-purpose back picked Tech over TCU and rushed for 1,779 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior, but he is still expected to take more visits despite his pledge.

WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 4
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: West Virginia is reportedly expected to get an unofficial visit from defensive end Shavar Manuel this spring. The nation's No. 2 overall 2016 recruit has Florida State in the lead following his FSU junior day trip, but WVU is on Manuel's list of upcoming trips along with Clemson, Florida, LSU and Virginia Tech.
video Robert Griffin played a major role in transforming Baylor into a Big 12 champion. Yet he’s not the only Big 12 player who earned a spot on the Ultimate ESPN 300 after making a important impact on their program of choice.

Here’s a look at a few members of the Ultimate 300 who had a significant impact on their respective programs.

No. 57 Robert Griffin III, quarterback, Baylor

When it comes to impact -- on and off the field -- and actually changing the future of a program, Griffin is second to none. He became the unquestioned face of Baylor’s program while elevating it to new heights and opening doors that might have remained closed without his arrival.

A Heisman Trophy winner, All-American and BU record-breaker, Griffin did it all during his four seasons at Baylor. Griffin began to put his stamp on the program as a freshman All-American in 2008 before leading BU to back-to-back bowl appearances in 2010 and 2011. Griffin ended his career with 10,366 passing yards and 2,254 rushing yards while accounting for 111 touchdowns. He is a transcendent figure that still impacts Baylor today.

No. 72 Dez Bryant, receiver, Oklahoma State

The Dallas Cowboys star and Pro Bowl receiver played a major role in OSU’s rise to the top of the Big 12 standings. The Cowboys' 2011 Big 12 title might not have been possible without Bryant, who thrust OSU onto the national landscape with his breathtaking talent and exceptional playmaking.

Bryant helped leave no doubt that the Cowboys program was on the rise, and everyone -- including recruits -- took notice. His sophomore season was program changing campaign as OSU rose as high as No. 7 nationally in 2008 with Bryant leading the way. He earned All-American honors and became a Biletnikoff Award Finalist with 87 receptions for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns.

No. 240 Earl Thomas, safety, Texas

Thomas’ impact on his program doesn’t reach the heights of Bryant or Griffin, but his time on the 40 Acres is what every recent Longhorns signee should be striving for. Thomas was an All-American and a legit difference-maker for the Longhorns before becoming a star for the Seattle Seahawks.

Thomas started all 27 games during his two seasons as UT went 25-2 in 2008 and 2009. The Orange, Texas, native finished his career with 149 tackles, including eight tackles for loss, 33 pass breakups and 10 interceptions. Thomas' time at UT is a standard other signees should be judged on.

No. 256 Tony Jefferson, safety, Oklahoma

While his impact on the program wasn’t earth-shattering, Jefferson joined Kenny Stills and Brennan Clay as the “Cali Trio” at Oklahoma, helping to spark the Sooners' recruiting efforts in California. The Class of 2010 signee helped the Sooners create a bigger presence in the Golden State, with OU signing several other highly-rated Californians, including Michiah Quick and Hatari Byrd, in recent seasons.

On the field, Jefferson was a immediate-impact player who bolted Norman, Oklahoma, a year too soon. He started 34 of 40 games at OU finishing with 258 tackles -- including 180 solo stops and 18 tackles for loss -- eight interceptions and seven sacks from 2010-12.
Here's a look at five intriguing recruitments of Big 12 standouts who landed a spot on the Ultimate ESPN 300:


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Many believe ESPN Junior 300 defensive Nick Bosa will be an even better college football player than his brother. That’s saying a lot because his brother is Joey Bosa, star defensive lineman for national champion Ohio State and one of the top projected picks for the 2016 NFL draft.


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Here's a look at five Big 12 standouts who went from overlooked on signing day to members of the Ultimate ESPN 300.


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