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.

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SPORTS -

— 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.

Al­ready com­mit­ted

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.”

Home­grown tal­ent

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.

Brooke Pryor bpryor@ ok­la­homan.com

OU FOOT­BALL

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