The Norman Transcript


February 6, 2013

Formerly a Sooner strong point, recruiting now seems a losing battle



“Am I saying there’s no defensive linemen in Texas or Oklahoma or Arizona or California? No, I am not saying that at all. But when your player pool at that position is tapered down and narrow, then your choices are going to be limited. When you do get one, if there’s not multiple to choose from the margin of error narrows because there weren’t multiple players to choose from.”

That problem is easy to see every April. The simple method for deciding which conferences are producing the most talent is wait for the NFL draft.

The raw numbers say it. The Big 12 only had three defensive linemen drafted last season. Two were Sooners with Frank Alexander going to the Carolina Panthers in the fourth round and Ronnell Lewis going to the Detroit Lions a few picks later. The only other Big 12 defensive lineman to be selected was Texas defensive tackle Kheeston Randall. It doesn’t look like the NFL is going to harvest many more than that this year.

Recruits give schools’ and conferences’ abilities to produce pro caliber players intense scrutiny. Each year OU and the Big 12 are not producing NFL quality defensive linemen, the less attractive it will be to recruits.

The Sooners will sign seven defensive linemen today. Matt Dimon (Katy, Texas) and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Houston Taylor) join Ward in the defensive end crop. Kerrick Hughes (Dallas Skyline), Matthew Romar (Port Arthur, Texas), Charles Walker (Garland, Texas) and junior college transfer Quincy Russell (Trinity Valley Community College) are the interior prospects.

All are at least three-star recruits with some earning four from one of the services. There is obvious potential there. All may not contribute in 2013, but OU lost five defensive linemen with starting experience from 2012. Defensive linemen, particularly tackles, were its biggest need.

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