OU football: How small-school coaching in Ohio helped shape Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch 

Kyle Phillips / The Transcript

Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch talks with players during practice April 1 at Owen Field.

Oklahoma defensive tackle Neville Gallimore’s recent description of Alex Grinch is much like the rest of his teammates.

OU’s new defensive coordinator’s passionate and fiery personality is driving the relationships with his new players.

“Talks fast, acts fast,” Gallimore said this week at Big 12 media days. "Good guy, funny guy. Great guy to be around. I love coach Grinch."

The same goes for Grinch’s performance on the recruiting trail, where the Sooners have been productive with defensive prospects over the past month and a half.

On July 4 came the commitment of four-star defensive back Bryson Washington. Less than a week earlier, the Sooners flipped Brynden Walker from his Oklahoma State pledge.

Since June 12, there have also been commitments from three-star linebacker Edgerrin Cooper and perhaps OU’s biggest pickup of the summer in four-star defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey.

What’s it been like taking Grinch on the road since he took over the defense?

“Very much like he is as a coach, he’s a hard-working recruiter,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said. “It's very, very important to him. He’s very detailed. These players know who he is.”

“They know what he's accomplished and how highly he's thought of within this profession. So you know we go prove it on the field then it's already getting better and I think we go prove it on the field and I think the same thing will happen there that's what's happened offensively in the last four years.”

At Big 12 media days, Riley was asked to clear up a Grinch comment that surfaced through OU recruit Joshua Eaton, who was quoted by Rivals.com’s Sam Spiegelman as saying: “They’re hurting on defense. Basically, [Grinch] told me that there was not one person from the defense that could go to the NFL right now.”

Playing time can be an easy selling point for any recruit. Riley questioned the validity of the comments Rivals reported but also added context.

“[Grinch’s] very simply making a point that everybody here has a chance to come in and compete,” Riley said. “It’s not like we had a defense with a bunch of guys having jobs thrown up, and if you wanna come do it we’re trying to bring in as much NFL talent as we can, which is the truth.

“Trust me … You’re not going to take a job if you don’t think there’s any players there. We got the player we want and of course we want to keep getting them better, like anywhere else.”

• McClellan could take visits: Four-star running back and longtime OU commit Jase McClellan is reportedly considering visits to Georgia and Texas.

Neither the Bulldogs nor Longhorns have secured a running back from the 2020 class, so both schools have a big need. Meanwhile, OU has two four-star RB commits in McClellan and Seth McGowan.

McClellan is the nation’s No. 7 running back and No. 3 player in the state of Texas. He’s also OU’s longest-tenured 2020 commitment, pledging all the way back on July 2017.

• Vandagriff honored: It came as little surprise, but top-ranked 2021 quarterback and OU commit Brock Vandagriff will be an All-American.

Vandagriff announced recently that he has been invited to the All-American Bowl. The game will take place in January 2021.


2020 Prospects to watch

4-star CB Jacobe Covington (Scottdale, Arizona): He recently set a commitment date for Oct. 1, which would be the week OU plays at Kansas. Washington is considered a slight favorite over OU to land Covington, who at 6 feet 2 inches and 185 pounds fits the Sooners' profile as a bigger DB in Grinch’s system.

3-star LB Dominick Hill (Orlando, Florida): He picked up an OU offer on Thursday. Texas is also chasing the 6-foot-1, 170-pound linebacker, who is committed to South Carolina.

4-star CB Joshua Eaton (Aldine, Texas): The 6-foot-2 cornerback has the Sooners as one of his top-five choices. He'll make his decision next month, according to 247Sports.com. Eaton might be inclined to follow fellow four-star defensive backs Ryan Watts and Bryson Washington to Norman.

OU football 2020 class

National ranking: No. 164 (Rivals.com), No. 11 (247Sports.com)

Big 12 ranking: No. 1 (Rivals.com and 247Sports.com)

Offers made: 180

Commitments (Ratings via. Rivals.com)

3-star ATH Brian Darby, College Station (Texas)

4-star WR Davon Graham II, Keller (Texas)

3-star LB Edgerrin Cooper, Covington (Louisiana)

4-star RB Jase McClellan, Aledo (Texas)

3-star ATH Michael Henderson, Irving (Texas)

4-star OL Nate Anderson, Frisco (Texas)

4-star OL Noah Nelson, Gilbert (Arizona)

4-star DT Perrion Winfrey, Iowa Western C.C.

3-star LB Brynden Walker, Oklahoma City

4-star DB Ryan Watts, Little Elm (Texas)

4-star DB Bryson Washington, Houston

4-star RB Seth McGowan, Mesquite (Texas)

3-star WR Trevon West, Arlington (Texas)

4-star OL Andrew Raym, Broken Arrow

4-star TE Jalin Conyers, Gruver (Texas)

Recommended for you