NCF On The Trail: Alex Dalton

Top position classes: OL 

February, 20, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and SEC)
Not only did Alabama put together the best offensive line class in the 2014 cycle, but it's also one of the best in recent memory. The Crimson Tide inked early enrollee and five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (Monroe, La./West Monroe) and also got top-ranked junior college offensive tackle Dominick Jackson (San Mateo, Calif./College of San Mateo). On the interior, the nation's top two centers, No. 168 overall Josh Casher (Mobile, Ala./Saint Paul’s Episcopal) and No. 190 J.C. Hassenauer (Woodbury, Minn./East Ridge) signed, as did No. 3 guard Ross Pierschbacher (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Cedar Falls). A second guard in the class is three-star Montel McBride (Plant City, Fla./Plant City), who could also play nose tackle at the next level.

The Crimson Tide had the nation’s best offensive line class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:

OU-Texas: 2014 recruiting tale of the tape 

October, 10, 2013
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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.

Quarterback

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.

Advantage: Oklahoma

Dallis Todd
Erik McKinney/ESPNOklahoma will get 6-foot-5 playmaker Daliis Todd in its 2014 class.
Running back

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.

Advantage: Texas

Wide receiver

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)

Advantage: Texas

Tight end

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.

Advantage: Oklahoma

Offensive line

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.

Advantage: Texas

Defensive line


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

September, 16, 2013
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It continues to get worse in Austin, Texas, where the Longhorns lost to Ole Miss 44-23 on Saturday. We’ll look at that loss and what it means for Texas, as well as Oklahoma trying to capitalize on its rivals’ mishaps in this week’s Big 12 weekend recruiting wrapup.

Biggest commitment: This one goes to Oklahoma and the verbal pledge it received from 2014 offensive guard Jonathan Alvarez (Mesquite, Texas/Horn) on Tuesday. Alvarez isn’t the most well-known commitment for the Sooners, but he helps fill a big void.


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Sooners' recruiting roundup

August, 16, 2013
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NORMAN, Okla.--Reestablishing Oklahoma as one of the nation’s most talented squads was one of the priorities for Bob Stoops during the offseason. Don’t believe it? Stoops brought in three coaches known for their recruiting prowess in tight ends coach Jay Boulware, offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery.

The Sooners are off to a decent start as they look to put together a Top 25 group in the Class of 2014. OU, which currently sits at No. 20 in ESPN.com’s team class rankings, has 12 current commitments including five members of the ESPN300.

Here’s a closer look at the Sooners’ remaining needs, top current commits and key visit dates as the season approaches.

Remaining needs: Although the Sooners have commitments from Troy (Ohio) center Alex Dalton and Irving (Texas) Ranchview defensive tackle Brandon Glenn, the Sooners still have a lot of work to do to land some game changers in the trenches.

They’ve missed out on several offensive prospects, particularly TCU commit Ty Barrett (Dallas/Skyline), forcing the Sooners to go back to the drawing board at that position. But some key names remain on the wish list along the defensive front. OU would love to land Coppell (Texas) defensive end Solomon Thomas, No. 31 in the ESPN300, and the standout prospect has visited Norman several times.

Linebacker is also a position of need, despite the positive early signs from 2013 signees Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans. A pair of ESPN300 linebackers from the West Coast, Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra’s Dwight Williams and Los Angeles Salesian’s Jamardre Cobb, would be a dream duo for OU.

Headliners: Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe quarterback Justice Hansen leads the way as the Sooners’ top ranked signee, ranked No. 97 in the ESPN300. He brings excellent size, intangibles and dual threat skills to the backfield. He’ll be surrounded by talented ESPN300 receiving targets when he arrives on campus with La Mirada (Calif.) receiver Dallis Todd, Tulsa (Okla.) Union tight end Carson Meier and Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain receiver/tight end Mark Andrews sitting next to him on OU’s commitment list.

Key remaining targets: If the Sooners don’t land Jenks (Okla.) safety Steven Parker, it will be a major blow to OU’s recruiting efforts. Parker has visited Norman several times and has developed a solid relationship with defensive coordinator Mike Stoops.

Fresno (Calif.) Central East athlete Michiah Quick, No. 43 on the ESPN300, has two former teammates (Hatari Byrd, L.J. Moore) in the Sooners program and family living in Oklahoma. If the Sooners put on the full court press with him, and Oakley (Calif.) Freedom running back Joe Mixon, they could continue their California pipeline started in recent years.

Key date: Several top recruits, including Quick and Mixon, will be in Norman on Oct. 4 when the Sooners face TCU. It will be critical for the Sooners to knock their socks off during their visits and cap it off with a victory over the Horned Frogs if they hope to secure their signatures.

Weekly Commitment Roundup

May, 24, 2013
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ACC
Clemson
Adam Choice RB, Thomasville, Ga./Thomas County Central
HT: 5-9 WT: 196
Position Rank: #26 RB
Stars: 4

C.J. Fuller RB, Easley, S.C./Easley
HT: 5-10 WT: 204
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

North Carolina
D'Ernest Johnson RB, Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee
HT: 5-11 WT: 182
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

North Carolina State
Sean Bowens OLB, Port Saint Lucie, Fla./Treasure Coast
HT: 6-2 WT: 220
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Keith Ford DT, Bluffton, S.C./Bluffton
HT: 6-1 WT: 270
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big 12
Baylor
Patrick Lawrence OT, Waxahachie, Texas/Waxahachie
HT: 6-5 WT: 245
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Ishmael Zamora WR, Houston, Texas/Elsik
HT: 6-4 WT: 201
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Oklahoma
Alex Dalton OC, Troy, Ohio/Troy
HT: 6-4 WT: 280
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Carson Meier TE-Y, Tulsa, Okla./Tulsa Union
HT: 6-6 WT: 220
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Tito Windham CB, Gulfport, Miss./Harrison Central
HT: 5-9 WT: 174
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

TCU
Johnny Shaw S, Center, Texas/Center
HT: 6-2 WT: 188
Class of 2015

Big East
Louisville
T.J. Foster WR, Union, S.C./Union County
HT: 6-2 WT: 175
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Rutgers
Kamren Lott CB, Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast
HT: 5-10 WT: 180
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big Ten
Illinois
Trevor Kanteman TE-Y, West Hills, Calif./Pierce College (JC)
HT: 6-4 WT: 245
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Ohio State
Dante Booker OLB, Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary
HT: 6-3 WT: 215
Position Rank: #8 OLB
Stars: 4

Pac-12
California
Tre Watson RB, Corona, Calif./Centennial
HT: 5-10 WT: 184
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Washington State
Paris Taylor S, Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College (JC)
HT: 6-3 WT: 225
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

SEC
Florida
Cyontai Lewis TE-H, Tuscaloosa, Ala./Northridge
HT: 6-4 WT: 230
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Mississippi State
Jocquell Johnson OT, Jackson, Miss./Copiah-Lincoln CC (JC)
HT: 6-5 WT: 305
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Missouri Paul Adams OT, Nashville, Tenn./Christ Presbyterian Academy
HT: 6-7 WT: 262
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

South Carolina
Shameik Blackshear DE, Bluffton, S.C./Bluffton
HT: 6-4 WT: 235
Class of 2015

Dexter Neal WR, Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson
HT: 6-2 WT: 195
Class of 2015

Tennessee
Aaron Medley K, Lewisburg, Tenn./Marshall County
HT: 6-2 WT: 165
Position Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Darel Middleton TE-Y, Powell, Tenn./Powell
HT: 6-5 WT: 230
Class of 2016
Cornerback Tito Windham Jr. (Gulfport, Miss./Harrison Central) was getting accustomed to the day-to-day routine.

Major college coaches come for spring practice and give him attention, but the offer doesn’t come. Missouri, Auburn, Michigan State, Alabama and LSU were among the schools stopping by to watch Windham work.

Oklahoma came a week before his spring practice started. OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops came by again on Wednesday. After practice, he talked to Windham on the phone and offered, and Windham immediately committed. He went public with the commitment Friday.

[+] EnlargeTito Windham
Tom Hauck/Student SportsCornerback Tito Windham says he's done with recruiting after committing to Oklahoma.
“It has been real crazy,” Windham said. “So many people congratulating me. It has been a great day.”

Windham wasn’t shocked OU came by for practice, but said he was shocked by the offer. He said it wasn’t until Thursday it had him what had actually happened.

“My mind went blank,” Windham said.

Before this week, Windham, who is 5-foot-9 and 174 pounds, only had one other offer: Louisiana-Lafayette.

If other offers come around now, it simply won’t matter.

“No, my recruitment is done,” Windham said. “I’m not sure if I’m going to visit [OU] in the summer or the fall, but I’m definitely going to get there soon.”

Windham has talked to Stoops since his commitment and the message is simple: Keep working and getting stronger. Windham said that won’t be a problem because he has been as heavy as 185 pounds before so he said putting the weight back on will come easy.

Recruited as a corner, Windham didn’t mention anything about ball skills as why OU fans should be excited.

“I love to hit people,” Windham said. “I’m a hard hitter, and I’m really fast.”

The Windham commitment completes a crazy week for OU recruiting. The Sooners entered the week with four commits and leave with seven, including two on Friday.

Windham is the second cornerback to commit this week, joining Cedar Hill (Texas) High defensive back Marcus Green who committed Sunday.

Offensive lineman Alex Dalton (Troy, Ohio/Troy) committed Friday morning, hours before Windham went public with his announcement.

Windham is the second recruit from Mississippi to sign with OU in Bob Stoops' tenure as coach. Lacoltan Bester signed with the Sooners in 2012 after transferring from East Mississippi Community College.
After the first visit to Oklahoma in March, offensive lineman Alex Dalton (Troy, Ohio/Troy) was pretty sure he would wind up with the Sooners.

Following the second visit, he was sure OU was the place for him. But he still wasn’t going to rush his decision. He wanted to make the call when he felt ready.

On Friday morning, Dalton was ready. He called OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh to let him know he was pledging to the Sooners.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot here lately,” Dalton said. “There was nothing that really made me feel like I had to do it today, but I knew I wasn’t looking for anything else.”

Bedenbaugh tweeted on Friday morning he was going to be in Ohio for the day, and Dalton said Bedenbaugh spoke with his high school coach during the morning and everybody involved sensed the commitment coming.

Dalton announced a top three of OU, Indiana and Stanford in March following a busy spring break with trips to OU and Stanford. But after the second OU visit, it was more of a top one list than anything else. The Sooners were making their case, and Stanford had backed off a bit.

As the spring evaluation period continued, though, other schools made their push. Arkansas started to get in contact with him. Offers from Nebraska, Louisville and Virginia Tech came and interest from schools like Northwestern or Tennessee started to see what the interest was.

“I was open to go look at them, but I knew what I wanted,” Dalton said. “There wasn’t anything else I was looking for.”

Dalton said he had been messaging with Bedenbaugh on Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis and the relationship was only getting better with each day.

Dalton first forged his relationship with Bedenbaugh when Bedenbaugh was coaching at West Virginia. When Bedenbaugh made the move to OU, one of his first offers was to Dalton.

Dalton was comfortable with Bedenbaugh, but he had to make sure he was 100 percent sure OU met all of his requirements.

“I looked at the school itself for football,” Dalton said. “I thought about where I had the best chance to play. Where I fit in as a player and a person. The distance.

“Oklahoma is not too far away but far away enough for me to make it on my own. My family can visit and watch me play. It all worked out.”

Dalton is being recruited at center by the Sooners although he can also play offensive guard. Dalton is OU’s sixth overall commitment for the Class of 2014 and the second this week.

This is what OU fans were hoping for in getting Bedenbaugh as coach. OU’s first offensive lineman commit for the Class of 2013 came in December. This time around it is seven months earlier. And there is no doubting his commitment.

“I’m excited to have this process over,” Dalton said. “I know that if I would have waited longer, my mind wouldn’t have changed.”

Tales From The Road: Oklahoma 

May, 15, 2013
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Every Wednesday, the SoonerNation staff will take a quick-hit look at some of the top recruits and storylines facing Oklahoma recruiting for the week.

This week’s targets: OU will never be hurting at wide receiver as long as Jay Norvell remains the wide receivers coach. OU already has the commitment of one four-star wideout in Dallis Todd (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada), but Norvell is going after some big guns in Texas. He is visiting ESPN 150 receiver K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) and four-star WR Nick Alexander (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster). Both have visited the campus multiple times, but both are going to be incredibly tough to land. Norvell, though, is never afraid to aim high, and OU is squarely in the mix for them.

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Ohio OL comfortable on second OU visit 

April, 30, 2013
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The first visit to Oklahoma was a good one for offensive lineman Alex Dalton (Troy, Ohio/Troy). Dalton and his father had a great time in Norman, Okla., last month, but something was missing.

His mother. If any school is going to be in serious consideration for Dalton, his mom would have to see the campus, as well. OU is now in serious consideration, as Dalton and both of his parents returned to campus last weekend.


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