NCF On The Trail: Keith Ford

Recruiting season is about to kick into high gear. As soon as Bedlam is over on Dec. 7, Oklahoma will hit the recruiting trails hard looking to secure the future.

[+] EnlargeDominique Alexander
William Purnell/Icon SMIOU didn't offer Dominique Alexander a scholarship until last October. Now he's a starting linebacker.
OU has been superb at finding late hidden gems in recent seasons, with cornerback Zack Sanchez, a redshirt freshman from the Class of 2012, and linebacker Dominique Alexander, a true freshman from the Class of 2013, already making an impact on the program after getting relatively late offers from the Sooners.

Here are some priority spots for the Sooners to address in their 2014 class during the final two months of this recruiting cycle. Keep in mind, this list has everything to do with the young players on campus at each position, not necessarily the guys who are playing at that position each Saturday in 2013.

Offensive tackle: Derek Farniok and Christian Daimler are the lone underclassmen at offensive tackle. OU badly needs depth at the position and should be aiming to land at least two offensive tackle prospects in this class. If redshirt freshman tight end Sam Grant ends up at tackle, that would help the cause and lessen the urgency, but its a high priority position in this year's class. Worse yet, there doesn't seem to be a lot of hope at the position with top prospects mentioning OU on their lists. Finding a hidden gem in December could be the top priority for offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.

Defensive tackle: This position looks a lot better right now than it did a year ago with the early play of Jordan Phillips, a sophomore, and the emergence of Jordan Wade, a redshirt freshman. Nevertheless, there is no such thing as too many quality defensive tackles. The Sooners have one commit in Irving (Texas) Ranchview's Brandon Glenn, but that's not enough. OU needs to secure at least one more defensive tackle prospect to join Glenn and redshirting freshmen Matthew Romar and Charles Walker as the future at the position.

Linebacker: OU rallied to bring in two quality linebackers late in last year’s recruiting cycle with Alexander and Jordan Evans. Each committed to OU late in the process and became impact freshmen this fall. The Sooners need to supplement that duo with a least one more playmaker to join Allen (Texas) linebacker Tay Evans and Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta linebacker Curtis Bolton on their commit list. Several linebackers could be in play and keep in mind the Sooners did secure Alexander and Evans late in the process.

Running back: You can never have too many running backs. And OU loses three quality ball carriers in Brennan Clay, Roy Finch and the recently dismissed Damien Williams. Redshirt freshman Alex Ross has a good size/speed ratio, true freshman Keith Ford has terrific upside, and commitment Samaje Perine (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) is a member of the ESPN 300. But the Sooners need to add another quality runner into the mix. Oakley (Calif.) Freedom running back Joe Mixon, No. 72 in the ESPN300, would be an outstanding addition to this class.

Receiver: Even though the Sooners seem to have some solid youngsters already on campus, they don't have a proven game-breaking receiver outside of Sterling Shepard returning in 2014. But, and this is critical, they can't just use a scholarship to bring in another guy. With Tulsa (Okla.) Union receiver Jeffery Mead and La Mirada (Calif.) receiver Dallis Todd already committed, receivers coach Jay Norvell should think elite receiver or bust. Norvell should join Mike Stoops in doing whatever it takes to land Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif/Central East), then fight for him to end up on the offensive side of the ball.

Weekly Commitment Roundup

May, 24, 2013
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
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

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

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

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

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

Big Ten
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

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

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

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

Hackenberg, Olsen earn UA Game starts

January, 3, 2013

Black Team offense

Quarterback: Christian Hackenberg (Penn State)

Running back: Alvin Kamara

Receiver: Alvin Bailey (Florida), Robert Foster (Alabama), Damore'ea Stringfellow (Washington)

Tight end: O.J. Howard (Alabama)

Offensive tackle: Darius James (Texas), Denver Kirkland

Offensive guard: Grant Hill (Alabama), Joas Aguilar (Texas A&M)

Center: Hunter Bivin (Notre Dame)

Captains: Kelvin Taylor, Hunter Bivin, Robert Nkemdiche, Ben Boulware

Black Team defense

Defensive end: Robert Nkemdiche, Elijah Daniel

Defensive tackle: Greg Gilgmore (LSU), Kennedy Tulimasealii (Hawaii)

Inside linebacker: Ben Boulware (Clemson)

Outside linebacker: Alex Anzalone (Notre Dame), Matthew Thomas

Safety: Keanu Neal (Florida), Leon McQuay III

Cornerback: Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida), Tarean Folston (Notre Dame)

Black Team special teams

Long snapper: Tyler Kluver (Iowa)

Kicker/punter: Sean Covington (UCLA)

White Team offense

Quarterback: Kevin Olsen (Miami)

Running back: Keith Ford (Oklahoma)

Receiver: Laquon Treadwell, Ryan Green (Florida State), Jalin Marshall (Ohio State)

Tight end: Hunter Henry (Arkansas)

Offensive tackle: Derwin Gray (Maryland), Dorian Johnson (Pittsburgh)

Offensive guard: Patrick Kugler (Michigan), David Dawson (Michigan)

Center: Scott Quessenberry (UCLA)

White Team defense

Defensive end: Carl Lawson (Auburn), Joey Bosa (Ohio State)

Defensive tackle: Henry Poggi (Michigan), Kelsey Griffin (South Carolina)

Inside linebacker: Reuben Foster, Yannick Ngakoue

Outside linebacker: Trey Johnson

Safety: Max Redfield, Antonio Conner

Cornerback: Gareon Conley (Ohio State), Shaq Wiggins (Georgia)

White Team special teams

Long snapper: Brendan Turelli

Kicker: Ryan Santoso (Minnesota)

Punter: Shane Tripucka

Captains: Ryan Green, Hunter Henry, Patrick Kugler, Reuben Foster

Thomas, Taylor rise in ESPN 300 

November, 7, 2012
Ever since Oklahoma quarterback commit Cody Thomas (Colleyville, Texas/Heritage) was dropped from the ESPN 300 in July, Sooners fans have been clamoring for him to return to the rankings.

Recruiting Rewind: Oklahoma 

October, 29, 2012
It was a mixed bag for the Sooners this recruiting weekend. On one hand, a lot of top commits scheduled to make official visits had to pull out at the last minute.

But on the other, the Sooners made several quality impressions on recruits that did make the trip for OU’s loss to Notre Dame.

It was the first time ESPN 150 defensive tackle Greg Gilmore (Hope Mills, N.C./South View) got to see the OU campus, and he called the experience “mind-blowing.”

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Sooners back in the mix for Greg Bryant 

September, 24, 2012
The name Cale Gundy hadn’t meant much to ESPN 150 running back Greg Bryant (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage-Boca Delray) in recent months.

Bryant, ranked No. 30 in the ESPN 150 and No. 2 running back, said in the past he didn’t have a stronger bond with a coach than with Gundy, Oklahoma’s running back coach.

[+] EnlargeGreg Bryant
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comAfter decommitting from the Sooners in late July, top running back Greg Bryant says he will not visit OU.
Bryant surprised many, including himself, when he committed to the Sooners on an unofficial visit March 31. But most agreed it would be a tough chore for OU to hang onto him until national signing day.

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There had been whispers about the level of commitment running back Greg Bryant (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage-Boca Delray) had to Oklahoma over the last few weeks.

Bryant's father silenced those whispers by announcing Monday night that his son has decommitted from the Sooners, he confirmed via text message.

Bryant, ranked No. 30 in the ESPN 150 and No. 2 at running back, committed to OU on an unofficial visit March 31. However, since his commitment, Bryant has not seen the Oklahoma campus and has visited Auburn and South Carolina.

Read the rest of the story on

The only thing that could stop Oklahoma running back commit Greg Bryant (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage-Boca Delray) from getting an invite to The Opening was himself.

Bryant, ranked the No. 2 running back in the nation and No. 29 in the ESPN 150, was supposed to compete in the NIKE Football Training Camp event in Miami two weeks ago. He didn’t pull out of the event. He simply overslept.

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RB Keith Ford commits to Oklahoma 

March, 3, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. -- Not all the backs have panned out for OU running backs coach Cale Gundy, but when he knows who he wants, he goes after them hard.

Running back Alex Ross (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) was the second commit of the 2012 class. And now OU has started early again at the position. Junior Keith Ford (Cypress, Texas/Ranch), an ESPNU Watch List tailback, has verbally committed to the Sooners during junior day, according to

Ford, 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, is regarded as one of the best running backs in Texas. Unlike a lot of Texas high school products, however, Ford doesn't have that natural desire to play for the Longhorns.

Read the rest of the story from SoonerNation.

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2013 DT talks Michigan offer 

February, 16, 2012
Michigan has always had some success recruiting in Texas. Since the local universities do so well with keeping their in-state prospects at home, it's a victory to pull any elite-level prospect out of Texas.

The Wolverines are once again going after Texas products as the staff has extended offers recently to running backs Keith Ford (Cypress, Texas/Cypress Ranch) and Kyle Hicks (Arlington, Texas/Martin), wide receiver Marcell Ateman (Wylie, Texas/Wylie East), offensive lineman J.J. Gustafson (Dallas/Jesuit) and a few others.

The newest offer, however, was extended today to defensive tackle Justin Manning (Dallas/Kimball). The 6-foot-2, 275-pound tackle now holds offers from Michigan, Arizona, USC, Texas, Miami and Tennessee among others.

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