The Norman Transcript

February 5, 2013

Any game changers on OU’s list?

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The last weekend prior to national signing day proved to be Oklahoma’s most efficient. It brought in two 2013 recruits and landed verbal commitments from both, who plan to sign with the Sooners on Wednesday.

Arizona Western Community College offensive guard Dionte Savage announced Monday that he would sign with OU. Lancaster, Texas, defensive back Dakota Austin gave his pledge to the Sooners during his visit.

The pair gives the Sooners’ 23 verbal commitments in their 2013 recruiting class. Both Savage and Austin are two-star recruits with most of the major recruiting services. Neither is going to shove OU up in the recruiting rankings.

The Sooners’ expected crop for Wednesday is currently ranked No. 13 by Rivals.com, No. 14 by Scout.com, No. 12 by 247Sports.com and No. 20 by ESPN.com. The reason it isn’t higher is it lacks the highly coveted five-star recruit.

What happens in a couple seasons will provide a far better assessment of the groups’ impact. But ESPNU analyst Tom Luginbill believes there’s the potential for at least one star in the group. Four-star running back Keith Ford from Cypress, Texas, has that kind of talent.

“I think Keith Ford is going to step on the field and be a workhorse-type back for the Sooners at a position that I think they need,” he said. “He’s a really physical down-hill guy. He’s a guy that can carry the load and a guy I think can be stronger in the fourth quarter than he his in the first.”

Luginbill also likes the addition of four-star defensive end D.J. Ward, who is already enrolled and will participate in spring practice, as well as the immediate help OU has picked up from the junior college ranks from Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College, from which offensive tackle Josiah St. John and defensive tackle Quincy Russell both hail.

“I think they’ve addressed some of the offensive line and defensive tackle needs with those two,” Luginbill said

The wild card in OU’s class is quarterback Cody Thomas. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder from Colleyville, Texas, has immense talent and could likely be the Sooners’ starting quarterback in a few seasons.

Getting him to arrive on campus will be the question.

Thomas is also one of the best high school baseball players in the country and will likely be a high-round selection in the Major League Baseball first-year player draft in June.

“Cody Thomas, and baseball and how that plays out will ultimately determine his ceiling and development,” Luginbill said. “There’s no doubt the tools are there. There’s a high level of talent. He’s gonna have to make a choice at some point on what he commits to.”

As of Monday, the Sooners have seven players in the ESPN.com top 300 with Ford, Thomas, Tulsa Washington’s Stavon Taylor, Fresno, Calif., defensive back Hatari Byrd, San Antonio wide receiver Dannon Cavil and St. John earning that classification. Rivals has given four stars to all in the group except St. John.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com

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