By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Recruiting for the 2014 class is well beyond the final stretch. With just four days left until National Signing Day on Wednesday, it’s in the last strides.
The Sooners, who currently have 22 commitments/early signees, entered the final weekend ranked No. 21 in the Rivals.com recruiting ranking and No. 16 according to ESPN.com. The Sooners’ haul received a boost with the New Orleans (St. Augustine High School) defensive tackle Courtney Garnett giving his verbal pledge Thursday night.
The class still has a chance to burst into the top 10 depending on the decisions of four four-star recruits, including Jenks safety Steven Parker and Oklahoma City Douglass defensive end Deondre Clark.
Clark is going to wait until after signing day to make his decision. Parker’s decision is expected to come no later than Wednesday. The other two are West Valley Granger (Utah) High School offensive tackle Kenyon Frison and Fresno East Central (Calif.) High School athlete Michiah Quick.
Land all four and OU’s class would balloon to 13 four-star recruits and one five-star with Oakley, Calif., running back Joe Mixon.
Current players say they’ve seen the excitement level for recruits grow when it comes to OU over the past month. The Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama has changed things.
“I mean, a lot of recruits say that Sugar Bowl win really helped them make their decision,” OU safety Gabe Lynn said. “I’m glad we’re bringing in a lot of recruits, and I hope they come in ready to work when they get here in camp.”
The Sooners were doing more of it Saturday. Defensive players signed autographs at the Bedlam women’s game Saturday afternoon. The coaching staff hosted more than 20 2015 recruits when it hosted its “Junior Day.”
The hope is that getting that many recruits on campus early in the process will lead to a bountiful haul next season.
“It’s awesome to know that you have impacted your school in a way to help recruiting,” defensive end Geneo Grissom said. “It helps get better players. That’s great when you’re at your alma mater and you look back.”
As far as the current trend, OU is looking to capitalize on every bit of momentum it built at the end of the 2013 season. Top 10 recruiting classes certainly aren’t out of the norm for OU. They’ve been landing them for years. But recruiting power is never a given. When you have it — which OU certainly appears to have at the moment — you better take advantage.
What happens Wednesday when the fax machines start firing up will ultimately tell just how well OU has taken advantage of their close to 2013.
But current OU players know some of those recruits passing through hallways of the Switzer Center are looking at OU in a different light than they did last fall.
“Beating a team like Alabama that’s been No. 1 in the nation for so long, that helps in more than just national publicity with fans. High school kids are going to notice that as well,” defensive tackle Chuka Ndulue said. “A lot of them are concerned about what the team’s record is. When Alabama is a powerhouse all over the country and everyone watched that game and they saw that we won that game … it kind of changed a lot of kid’s minds. It’s like this team actually is better … they can fight for a national championship in the next couple of years. That’s pretty good.”
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