Oklahoma Sooners football recruiting updates 2014
Even with the departures of four programs from the Big 12, the recruiting landscape in the Big 12 has never been more competitive, with the state of Texas in particular a much more difficult place to recruit with the rise of TCU, a resurgent Texas A&M, and Baylor now much more competitive.
Perhaps as a result, or for other reasons, the Oklahoma Sooners have lost their traditional foothold in the state and have looked towards a more national approach to fill their recruiting classes.
The 2013 group was ranked as the top group in the conference after the Texas Longhorns suffered five decommitments, including the loss of two five-star prospects. In 2014, the class ranks fourth in the Big 12 (as of mid-August) and 28th nationally -- not where the Sooners are used to sitting, exactly.
Mark Andrews, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain wide receiver
A top-100 prospect nationally, Andrews is the crown jewel of the Oklahoma recruiting class after committing in early August over numerous offers from national power programs, including Alabama, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and USC. The difference? Andrews grew up in a family of Oklahoma fans and the Sooners were able to seal the deal by promising that they would use him as a wide receiver despite strong odds that he's going to end up at 250 pounds before his Sooner career is over.
The issues with Andrews are that he has merely average speed for a wide receiver and is not especially dynamic after the catch. He also benefits from catching passes thrown by one of the top quarterbacks in the country in Texas A&M commit Kyle Allen. However, Andrews makes up for his other deficiencies with his pure size and ability to go up with strong hands to win jump balls. As a tight end prospect, Andrews is pretty special, but it's going to be more difficult for him to have the same impact as a wide receiver that he could with his hand on the ground or playing inside to match up against linebackers.
Dallis Todd, La Mirada (Calif.) wide receiver
6'5 | 210 pounds | **** | No. 21 wide receiver nationally | No. 16 player in California
Another big-bodied receiver for future aerial attacks in Norman, Todd is the No. 162 player nationally in the 247Sports composite rankings and chose the Sooners over a number of offers, as well, including Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Texas A&M. He committed in April after a visit two days prior.
Todd is like a more thin version of Andrews -- his best is less than elite and so is his change of direction ability, though he is better with the ball in his hands than his prospective future teammate. Another potential redzone threat and strong blocker on the perimeter, Todd represented another significant national coup for a program that is increasingly relying on players from outside the region.
Justice Hansen, Edmond (Okla.) Sante Fe quarterback
6'4 | 200 pounds | **** | No. 7 pro-style quarterback | No. 3 player in Oklahoma
In quite a few seasons, Hansen would be the top prospect in the Sooner State, but just because two other players are ranked in front of him doesn't decrease his importance to the class. One of the first quarterback dominoes to fall nationally, Hansen decided to stay in state when he pledged in April despite showing some serious interest in Texas A&M. He also held offers from Arkansas, Auburn, and Ole Miss, though his offer list was probably limited by his strong longtime interest in the Sooners.
An athletic pro-style quarterback capable of making plays with his feet, Hansen doesn't have one elite skill, but he does do just about everything well, though his delivery needs the most work. One of his most impressive attributes is his ability to stand tall in the pocket under pressure and with defenders around his legs and deliver strikes to wide receivers.
Samaje Perine, Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson running back
5'11 | 235 pounds | *** | No. 16 running back | No. 37 player in Texas
Tears of Perine's ACL and MCL ended Perine's sophomore season in the playoffs and resulted in a depressed offer list, though Alabama, Baylor, Houston, Purdue, and Tennessee all thought it worthwhile to offer him before he committed to the Sooners in March. Perine is right on the edge of being a four-star prospect in the consensus rankings (247Sports has him as a low four-star recruit) and should have a chance to make that move as he returns to full speed this season. With his trademark spin move, utility in the return game, and ability to break tackles because of his impressive lower-body strength and ideal build for a running back.
Vontre McQuinnie, Lancaster (Texas) safety
6'2 | 190 pounds | *** | No. 55 safety nationally | No. 86 player in Texas
A relatively unknown prospect with no available film at the time of his commitment at the February 2 Junior Day, the subsequent rankings have vindicated the take of McQuinnie, who now has offers from Iowa and SMU. With his frame, he could eventually become a hybrid safety/outside linebacker, but there are questions about his instincts and tackling ability. However, he does have all the other tools necessary to become a solid collegiate contributor.
Marcus Green, Cedar Hill (Texas) cornerback
6'1 | 180 pounds | *** | No. 47 cornerback nationally | No. 72 player in Texas
With a handful of offers from notable BCS programs including Missouri, Nebraska, Ole Miss, and Texas Tech, Green committed in the middle of May days after he receiving his offer on a visit to Norman. Lean, with long arms and elite height for the cornerback position, Green has some projectable skills, but needs to add strength, work on his press coverage skills, and become a tackler capable of standing up opponents on contact.
Tito Windham, Gulfport (Miss.) Harrison Central cornerback
5'10 | 175 pounds | *** | No. 64 cornerback nationally | No. 26 player in Mississippi
Windham pledged to the Sooners in the middle of May over offers from Florida State and Louisiana-Lafayette. A potential under-the-radar gem, Windham doesn't have ideal size, speed, or ball skills, but he does have remarkable instincts for the position, the short-area quickness to drive on the football, and the ability to mirror receivers in coverage. He's limited in some significant areas, but some guys just know how to play football.
Brandon Glenn, Irving (Texas) Ranchview defensive lineman
6'4 | 254 pounds | *** | No. 58 strongside defensive end nationally | No. 188 player in Texas
Another rather under-the-radar prospect for the Sooners, Glenn held offers from Houston, Kansas State, and North Texas, but impressed enough at a June Oklahoma camp to earn an offer eight days later. A subsequent visit on June 14 resulted in his commitment. A possible defensive tackle if he keeps growing, Glenn had a productive junior season with nearly 60 tackles and five sacks, but does not have any available film.
Jeffrey Mead, Tulsa (Okla.) Union wide receiver
6'6 | 170 pounds | *** | No. 66 wide receiver nationally | No. 7 player in Oklahoma
A skinnier, lite version of Todd, Mead has an offer list that is more impressive than his national ranking, as he held offers from Arkansas, Cal, Clemson, LSU, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M, among others, prior to his commitment to the Sooners in June. Otherwise, the same scouting reports for Andrews and Todd basically apply to Mead, who will likely need a redshirt season to add some mass before he can handle the college game.
Alex Dalton, Troy (Ohio) offensive lineman
6'4 | 280 pounds | *** | No. 46 offensive tackle nationally | No. 29 player in Ohio
A May pledge to the Sooners, Dalton also held offers from Arkansas, Louisville, Nebraska, Penn State, South Carolina, Stanford, and Virginia Tech, among others. A high school guard who also plays some right tackle, Dalton will likely play center for Oklahoma, despite the fact that he's listed as an offensive tackle by 247Sports. With quick feet off the ball, Dalton also does a strong job of keeping them moving on contact. Athletic enough to play outside in college, Dalton is good enough in space that he could also project at guard in college.
Tay Evans, Allen (Texas) linebacker
6'3 | 200 pounds | *** | No. 63 outside linebacker nationally | No. 97 player in Texas
Arizona State, Kansas, and Stanford were among the schools that offered Evans, but his connections to the Oklahoma program were too much to resist -- his father, Bobby Joe Evans, played basketball for the Sooners.
Here's the take on Evans as a player from Crimson and Cream Machine:
Evans will play both standing up and with his hand on the ground. He has the ability to turn and run in coverage, come up and deliver the big hit, or pursue the quarterback off the edge. He's a smart, disciplined player who is a sure tackler and rarely in the wrong position on the football field. There are likely better comps out there, but honestly watching his film you can't help but be reminded of a member of last year's recruiting class, Jordan Evans.
Carson Meier, Tulsa (Okla.) Union tight end
6'6 | 220 pounds | *** | No. 32 tight end nationally | No. 9 player in Oklahoma
A late May pledge to the home-state Sooners, Meier also had offers from Oregon State, Washington State, and Wisconsin and committed days after receiving his offer. Meier plays a lot of receiver in high school, so he will need a redshirt season to develop physically and become adjusted to the type of in-line blocking he will have to perform at the college level, though he does have some experience with his hand on the ground. As with Andrews, Todd, and Mead, Meier's height is his best attribute as a wide receiver, as he presents a big target who can frustrate smaller defensive backs.
National Signing Day is still more than six months away. Verbal commitments are non-binding and change frequently.
For more on Oklahoma Sooners recruiting, visit Crimson and Cream Machine.
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