The Norman Transcript

January 27, 2013

Current class may not be enough to boost depth

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — With less than two weeks left until signing day, recruiting for the 2013 class is winding down. This is the last weekend for official visits. After that, the waiting will be the hardest part.

In terms of talent, the Sooners have assembled a solid class. The 18 commitments and two junior college players already inked includes six four-star players and 13 three-star recruits.

But how well have the Sooners addressed immediate needs? There are some question marks there.

The Sooners appear to have filled their needs at wide receiver, quarterback, running back and defensive end.

Colleyville, Texas quarterback Cody Thomas; Cypress, Texas, running back Keith Ford; and defensive ends Matt Dimon (Katy, Texas), Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Houston Alief) and Southmoore’s D.J. Ward, who is already attending classes at OU, have been in the fold for some time. The wide receiver group of Dannon Cavil (San Antonio Madison), Jordan Smallwood (Jenks), P.J. Young (Perris, Calif.) and Austin Bennett (Manvel, Texas) fills in the gaps.

One of OU’s biggest needs for the 2013 class and just about any class is the offensive line. The Sooners will technically have six starters returning next season. Despite losing starting tackle Lane Johnson,  getting senior guard Tyler Evans and sophomore Nila Kasitati back from knee injuries will help.

The Sooners will add junior college tackle Josiah St. John on signing day. The problem is that the only other current commitment in the class is Houston Stratford’s Christian Daimler. The Sooners want to have 16 scholarship offensive linemen at their disposal. They still need to add more two more offensive linemen to get to that desirable total.

The same issue exists in the secondary.

Tony Jefferson’s decision to leave for the NFL after three seasons leaves OU with just three — senior Gabe Lynn, junior Quentin Hayes and redshirt freshman Ahmad Thomas — for next season. OU has Hatari Byrd — a four-star recruit from Fresno, Calif., but they still need one more.

Cornerback Aaron Colvin’s decision to return to school gave OU the biggest recruit it could land for next season, but the Sooners would like to add at least one more to go along with Tulsa East Central’s Stavon Moore.

There’s an opening for a tight end if OU can find the right fit. It currently has three on scholarship — senior Brannon Green, redshirt freshmen Sam Grant and Taylor McNamara — but the Sooners are trying to add a fourth via the junior college route.

There remains an opening at linebacker. Norman North’s Jordan Evans and Tulsa Washington’s Dominique Alexander are both committed. But if they’re all OU takes, that will leave just six for next season. The positions weren’t used as much this past season in defensive coordinator Mike Stoops’ scheme. But OU has typically had tried to have at least seven at their disposal.

The numbers can change. OU will add players at positions if they believe there’s a player they can’t pass up. There’s always the chance a couple signing day surprises will fall in OU’s lap on Feb. 6.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

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