NCF On The Trail: Bruce Kittle

It's going to be a busy January for Houston Bellaire offensive tackle Dwayne Johnson.

In many ways, it already has been busy for the former Purdue commitment. Every weekend leading up to national signing day will be used for an official visit as the 6-foot-6, 275-pound Johnson tries to find the right fit for his future.


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Oklahoma has been in search for offensive tackles all fall, and the Sooners finally got one. Four-star junior college offensive tackle Josiah St. John (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley) committed to OU on Wednesday, he announced on his Twitter page.

St. John, who was also considering Kansas, is ranked No. 6 in the ESPN JC 100 and is the No. 1 offensive tackle in the nation. St. John has pledged to OU, but he cannot sign with the Sooners until February. He will not be enrolling at OU in January, said Trinity Valley recruiting coordinator Will Reed.

He initially wasn't going to be doing anything Wednesday, but he tweeted in the morning he would make his commitment annoncement at night and came through on his promise.

OU made the offer to St. John in August even if he didn’t find out about it until October. He took an official visit to OU for the Notre Dame game in October, but the Jayhawks made a late push to try to sway him to Lawrence, Kan.

St. John made an official visit to KU two weeks ago, but OU coaches Bob Stoops and Bruce Kittle did what they could to make sure St. John would be a Sooner.

There has been a sense of panic among some OU fans with the Sooners have no pledges at the position. This single signing won’t erase all fears, but it’s a step in the right direction.

OU has hoping to land three offensive tackle commits for the class. Oddly enough, the Sooners had two commits at one point but lost four-star prospect Matt Beyer (San Antonio/Reagan) to an injury and three-star tackle Dalton Rodriguez (Tulsa, Okla./Union) flipped to Tulsa last week.

The Sooners are still in the running for three-star tackle Sean Dowling (Fallbrook, Calif./Union) and four-star prospect Aaron Cochran (Atwater, Calif./Buhach). But the Sooners can relax if they cannot land both of them. Getting St. John is the first step in what OU hopes is a strong close at the position.

St. John is OU's 17th commitment for the 2013 class and third juco player. He'll be joined by teammate defensive tackle Quincy Russell, who signed with OU on Wednesday.
Saying he needs to figure out what is the best situation for him, offensive tackle Sean Dowling (Fallbrook, Calif./Union) decommitted from UCLA late Thursday night, he confirmed via text message to ESPN.com.

Dowling, a 6-foot-6 and 260-pound three-star prospect, was the first offensive lineman to commit to the Bruins in April. UCLA has added seven more commits on the line since then, including two in the last seven days. Dowling declined to say if that was a factor in his decision.

He has taken official visits to Washington State, Oklahoma and Oregon State and has said in the past he is hopeful to take an official visit to Vanderbilt.

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Rodriguez decommits, heading to Tulsa 

December, 13, 2012
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Saying it was the best decision for him, three-star offensive tackle Dalton Rodriguez (Tulsa, Okla./Union) tweeted he has switched his commitment from Oklahoma to Tulsa on Thursday afternoon. Rodriguez confirmed the news via text message to ESPN.com.

Dalton Rodriguez
Bob Przybylo/ESPN.comThe Sooners wanted Dalton Rodriguez to play offensive tackle, a position he had never played before.
Rodriguez, who is 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds, was being recruited as an offensive tackle by the Sooners. However, he never took a snap at the position during high school. He has been one of the best defensive ends in the state the last two seasons.

OU picked up another defensive end commit in Houston Alief Taylor’s Ogbonnia Okoronkwo on Wednesday afternoon, giving the Sooners three quality defensive ends to go with ESPN 300 prospects D.J. Ward (Moore, Okla./Southmoore) and Matt Dimon (Katy, Texas/Katy).

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Matt Beyer’s OU dream comes true 

October, 30, 2012
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The only word four-star offensive tackle Matt Beyer (San Antonio/Reagan) could use to describe his experience was "surreal."

For Beyer, it has been a dream to see an Oklahoma home game in person, and that dream came true last weekend when the Sooners played Notre Dame.


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He hasn’t even completed his sophomore year of high school, but Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South) is already a highly sought-after offensive tackle recruit. At 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, Smith has room to grow but has already shown enough to earn early offers from Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio State, Stanford, Nebraska and others.

“He’s the best player I’ve ever seen as an offensive or defensive linemen,” Olathe South coach Jeff Gourley said. “I’ve coached for 27 years, I’ve never seen anybody like him, even on the ESPN high school game of the week ... Florida, Texas, there’s nobody in the country like him.”

The Sooners recognized the talent of the class of 2014 prospect early in the process.

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Even if a recruit doesn’t know much about the Oklahoma Sooners, he knows about their winning tradition. That was all offensive tackle Jake Campos (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) knew of the program before making an unofficial visit last week.

Following the visit, though, it wasn’t the football program that had Campos the most excited. After his first visit, it was the campus that left him excited about the Sooners.

“It’s a beautiful campus. The architecture was incredible,” Campos said. “For my first visit, it was even better than I expected. The buildings are beautiful.”

Campos, 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, didn’t receive an offer from the Sooners, but he said he knows exactly where he stands.


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