Left behind by NCAA’s new signing date
Wagoner’s Nikia Jones waited to accept a scholarship offer. He’s still waiting, despite scoring 64 career touchdowns with more than 3,000 yards receiving.
— With Lincoln Riley’s work on the 2018 class practically completed, save for the possibility of graduate transfer or two, the Oklahoma staff is turning their efforts toward the 2019 class.
Thanks to Baker Mayfield’s Heisman Trophy win and Oklahoma’s Rose Bowl berth, the Sooners have a pretty good head start on the next classes of Sooners.
“Obviously, these recruits have seen OU plastered all over their TVs for the last several months,” Riley said. “We’ve been one of the most talked about programs and teams in the country. To get out there and recruit from coast to coast and let us see them and them see us was very important.
“I feel like we’re quite a bit ahead compared to this time last year.”
And because it’s never too early to look to the future, we’re also looking ahead to see what the Sooners have coming down the pipeline.
Riley is right — the Sooners have a pretty good jump on the 2019 class.
With five verbal commitments, including four from Rivals’ four-star prospects, in the 2019 class, Oklahoma is ahead of where it was each of the last two years in the weekend after National Signing Day.
A year ago, OU had just three verbal commitments for the 2018 class and two years ago it had four commitments in the 2017 class.
This time around, the Sooners have a commitment from four-star quarterback Spencer Rattler, who made his pledge to OU in June.
Four-star tight end Austin Stogner announced his decision a couple days before Rattler — less than two weeks after Riley took over for Bob Stoops.
Since then, OU has also added four-star running back Isaiah Spiller and four-star wide receiver Trejan Bridges. Three-star defensive tackle Derek Green also picked the Sooners.
Racking up receivers
At one point, Oklahoma had even more verbal commitments for its 2019 class before it lost two wide receivers in two days.
In April 2017, the Sooners lost commitment from 2018 quarterback Cameron Rising and 2019 wide receivers Arjei Henderson and Theo Wease in three consecutive days.
While Rising ultimately went to Texas, OU is still in the hunt for Henderson and Wease.
Henderson committed to Oregon for a period last year but decommitted from the Ducks after visiting Norman in November.
And OU was on Wease’s list of top seven schools released Jan. 29.
The Sooners are prioritizing elite wide receivers in this class like Wease, four-star Lake Travis (Texas) product Garrett Wilson and five-star Georgia commit Jadon Haselwood. By telling Treveon Johnson to find another team, the staff is optimistic about its chances.
“I think there’s a lot of work to be done with all of those guys because obviously they’re highly recruited, that’s the way that’s going to go,” said Josh McCuistion, a Rivals. com recruiting expert. “I think Oklahoma knows that almost regardless of who it is, they’re going to be pretty good at wide receiver in the 2019 class.”
The Sooners are in the hunt for in-state talent in this class, and that includes safety Daxton Hill, named SoonerScoop.com’s Junior of the Year.
The Rivals’ four-star Tulsa Washington product has offers from 18 schools, including OU, Oklahoma State and Ohio State.
The younger brother of OSU running back Justice Hill, he’s ranked as the No. 1 safety and top prospect in Oklahoma by Rivals.
But he’s not the only local target in the Sooners’ crosshairs.
Tight end Grayson Boomer was an early OU target, but he verbally committed to OSU in the fall.
OU also recently offered Millwood running back Marcus Major, who doesn’t have any stars but picked up offers from Texas, Michigan and Iowa State. He rushed for 1,155 yards and 23 touchdowns and caught 23 passes for 490 yards and five touchdowns.