- Damon Sayles, RecruitingNation
When the Red River Rivalry is played, records are thrown out the window. When the game’s over, some love looking into the future to play “what if” with the next batch of talented college players.
While both teams have some room to land uncommitted recruits, both are pretty happy with where they are currently. Texas has 24 commits, and Oklahoma has 14, and when comparing ESPN 300 athletes, Texas only has a 7-5 lead.
Which team has the Red River Rivalry recruiting edge this year? Here’s a breakdown of eight positions and which team holds the edge for now.
Perhaps the most competitive comparison between the schools is at quarterback. ESPN 300s Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) and Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) are the nation’s No. 4 and No. 5 dual-threat quarterbacks. Hansen is the Sooners’ top-ranked commit and has proven himself a first-class leader of the class. Heard already has one state championship ring, and he’s hoping for a repeat performance in December before arriving at the Forty Acres.
There are high expectations for both ESPN 300 Samaje Perine (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) and Donald "Duke" Catalon (Houston/Eisenhower). Perine is a physical specimen with the combination of power and finesse at 6-foot and 213 pounds. Catalon, at 5-10 and 193 pounds, has the agility and overall balance to make him a potential every-down back. Texas also has three-star Kevin Shorter (Newton, Texas/Newton), a player who plays with a chip on his shoulder, looking to show that he should be mentioned with the elite talent.
Neither Texas nor Oklahoma will be complaining about their receiver crop. The Longhorns have an ESPN 300 player in Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City), a rising star in Emanuel Porter (Dallas/Lincoln) and a player in Garrett Gray (Marble Falls, Texas/Marble Falls) who caught 13 passes for 293 yards and five touchdowns in a game last year. Oklahoma has size and athleticism in 6-5, 210-pound ESPN 300 receiver Dallis Todd (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) and a 6-7, 180-pound end zone threat in Jeffery Mead (Tulsa, Okla/Union)
Oklahoma has done well with recruiting tight ends and was able to land ESPN 300 players Carson Meier (Tulsa, Okla./Union) and Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain). Meier is the No. 5 Y-tight end in the country, while Andrews is the No. 8 H-tight end. Texas also has a good one in junior college pledge John Thomas (Bossier City, La./Trinity Valley Community College). At 6-6 and 255 pounds, Thomas can be used as both a reliable blocker and receiver.
It’s hard to believe that between the two schools, only three offensive linemen are committed.
Sooners commit Alex Dalton (Troy, Ohio/Troy) is considered one of the nation’s top centers, and guard Jonathan Alvarez (Mesquite, Texas/Horn), with his work ethic alone, will surprise a lot of people in a couple of years. Texas, like Oklahoma, has a four-star center committed in Terrell Cuney (Jasper, Texas/Jasper). Cuney is a player who might see immediate playing time as a freshman.
The defensive line is a position Texas is looking to beef up, and the Longhorns have some good ones coming in. ESPN 300 defensive end Derick Roberson (San Antonio/Brennan) leads the charge, but defensive tackles Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio/Warren), Courtney Garnett (New Orleans/St. Augustine) and Jake McMillon (Abilene, Texas/Abilene) will be players to watch inside the trenches. Oklahoma has only one committed defensive lineman, but Brandon Glenn (Irving, Texas/Ranchview) will come to Norman looking to make a name for himself.
The linebacker position is one that always could use depth, and both teams would like to add additional linebackers to their classes. Otaro Alaka (Houston/Cy Falls) is an ESPN 300 outside linebacker who should help Texas instantly. Alaka will team with Andrew Beck (Tampa, Fla./Plant) and Cameron Hampton (Dallas/Skyline) as the linebacker tandem of the future for the Longhorns. Hampton, a four-star pledge, can play either the inside or outside position. Oklahoma pledges Tay Evans (Allen, Texas/Allen) and Curtis Bolton (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) are physical playmakers who love to score the big hit.
ESPN 300 cornerback Jermaine Roberts (New Orleans, St. Augustine) is the big name for the Longhorns, but look for safeties John Bonney (Houston/Lamar) and Jason Hall (Grand Prairie, Texas/South Grand Prairie) to not only challenge for playing time but also be considered in dual roles. Bonney (6-0, 182 pounds) and Hall (6-3, 192 pounds) can play cornerback if necessary. Oklahoma tapped into the Lone Star State to get two solid defenders in cornerback Marcus Green (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill) and safety Vontre McQuinnie (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster). Both Green and McQuinnie love to be physical with receivers.