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2014 Oklahoma Recruiting Class Analysis

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 7, 2014


Oklahoma Sooners 2014 ... Head Coach: Bob Stoops


Oklahoma Sooners

2013 Record: 11-2
8/31 ULM W 34-0
9/7 West Virginia W 16-7
9/14 Tulsa W 51-20
9/21 OPEN DATE
9/28 at Notre Dame W 35-21
10/5 TCU W 20-17
10/12 Texas (in Dallas) L 36-20
10/19 at Kansas W 34-19
10/26 Texas Tech W 38-30
11/2 OPEN DATE
11/9 at Baylor L 41-12
11/16 Iowa State W 48-10
11/23 at Kansas State W 41-31
11/30 OPEN DATE
12/7 at Oklahoma St W 33-24
Allstate Sugar Bowl
1/2 Alabama W 45-31
OU tickets for all games at TicketCity


Oklahoma | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: The Sooners could use a stronger punting game after averaging 34.5 yards per boot, and there were problems with penalties, but the one big key is overall consistency. OU struggled early on to get by West Virginia, and rocked against Alabama late in the brilliant Sugar Bowl performance. In between, the team was good enough to get the O rolling against Kansas State, but was nowhere to be found against Texas and Baylor. If this really is a national championship-level team, it can’t avoid the now-annual pitfalls.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Skill players. This might not be the nation’s best recruiting class, and it might be a little light when it comes to battling with the SEC star programs, but there are a few nice parts to the puzzle with QB Justice Hansen promising and RB Joe Mixon the potential key. Hansen is for down the road, but Mixon could be too good to not get the ball right away. A factory for fullbacks, OU is getting Samaje Perine and Dimitri Flowers to do a little of everything as a blocker and receiver. There might not be a superstud receiver prospect, but Mark Andrews out of Arizona is close.

2013 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 14. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. Bob Stoops went big on defensive linemen a few years ago, and now he's restocking the shelves for a few years from now led by Kerrick Hughes out of Dallas, who has the talent to be the next great OU defensive tackle. D.J. Ward and Matt Dimon are terrific end prospects who should soon be key parts of the pass rush, while JUCO transfer Quincy Russell could b used right away. The secondary is getting some help, too, with four-star corner L.J. Moore on Signing Day to go along with safety Hatari Byrd and corner Stanvon Taylor. Offensively, can Keith Ford become a part of the puzzle early on? He has the talent to make a big impact right out of the box.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 11. That Class Was Heavy On ... Oklahoma isn’t slipping under Bob Stoops, but it’s having to work a bit harder lately to not only bring in the four and five-star types, but keep everyone happy. The Sooners need running back help, and now. Everything was supposed to be set, but Jermie Calhoun, Jonathon Miller, and Brandon Williams all bolted and Dominique Whaley is coming off an injury. The receivers are flocking to Norman with the biggest boost to come when Trey Metoyer, a top recruit last year, is ready to roll after spending a year at the Hargrave Military Academy. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 17. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. It’s more about quality than quantity across the board with some of the nation’s top prospects at most of the key positions. Kendal Thompson isn’t the typical OU star passer, but he has good skills. Brandon Williams might be the nation’s best running back in the 2011 class, and if Trey Metoyer isn’t the No. 1 receiver, he’s in the top three. Defensively, the line is loaded with some special prospects led by 6-5, 300-pound Jordan Phillips for the inside and pass rushing terror Nathan Hughes on the end. Dan Tapko will be a part of the end rotation soon, while Jordan Wade could be a special tackle with a little bit of time in the weight room.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 3. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive talent. Bob Stoops went after defensive backs last season, and this year he was out to step up the skill positions. Blake Bell will sit and wait his turn at quarterback with Landry Jones the likely starter for the next few seasons, but when it's his time, he should become a star. Brennan Clay and Roy Finch are runners who can fly, and Kenny Stills and Justin McCay lead an all-star cast of receivers who should bring in more firepower in the next few seasons. Defensively, OU came up with a big early story on Signing Day getting top linebacker Corey Nelson to change his commitment from Texas A&M. The Nelson signing overshadowed the addition of Tony Jefferson, a speedy outside linebacker from California who could've gone anywhere and played running back if he wanted.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 8. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive backs. Everyone in the Big 12 went heavy on the secondary, seeing it as a must after the offensive explosion of this year, but Oklahoma got the best ones of the bunch. Gabe Lynn might be the nation’s best corner, and Marcus Trice isn’t all that far behind. Javon Harris and Kevin Brent will be starting safeties by 2011, while Demontre Hurst and Marshall Musil are interesting prospects.

Allstate Sugar Bowl
Oklahoma 45, Alabama 31
Basically … In one of the most shocking performances in the history of the BCS, Trevor Knight threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns, coming up with two touchdown passes to Jalen Saunders from eight and 43 yards out in the first half, and hitting Lacoltan Bester on a 45-yard scoring play in the first and Sterling Shepard on a nine-yard pass in the fourth – looking Joe Montana-like to Dwight Clark. But Alabama was able to keep up the pace early, highlighted by a AJ McCarron 67-yard touchdown pass to DeAndrew White in the second quarter, and then it was the Derrick Henry show. The freshman running back tore off a 43-yard touchdown run in the third to pull the Tide within seven, and took a pass 61 yards for a score late in the fourth to once again makie it a seven-point game, but the OU defense took over late. Eric Striker came around the edge to sack McCarron, Geneo Grissom picked up the fumble, and he took it in from eight yards out to put the game away.

- Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight completed 32-of-44 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns with a pick, and he ran five times for seven yards.
- Alabama QB AJ McCarron completed 19-of-30 passes for 387 yards with two touchdowns and two picks.
- Alabama RB Derrick Henry ran eight times for 100 yards and a score and caught a pass for 61 yards and a touchdown.
- Alabama WR DeAndrew White caught three passes for 139 yards and a score, and Amari Cooper caught nine passes for 121 yards.
- Oklahoma DE Eric Striker tied for the team-lead with seven tackles with three sacks and a game-sealing forced fumble that led to a touchdown. - Oklahoma DE Geneo Grissom made two tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, and scores one touchdown.

Oklahoma 33 … at Oklahoma State 24
Basically … Blake Bell came in off the bench cold and led the Sooners late with a scoring drive in the final minute, finding Jalen Saunders for a seven-yard touchdown with 19 seconds to play. The Sooners scored again on a fumble return for a score on OSU’s final, last gasp play, but the damage had already been done. Moments before Bell’s final drive, OSU seemingly had its ticket punched to the Fiesta Bowl as Desmond Roland scored on a one-yard play with 1:46 to play for the lead, but the Sooners controlled most of the second half. Roland gave OSU a 17-10 lead early after halftime on a 15-yard Roland catch, but OU came up with a trick play on a fake field goal for a touchdown pass to kicker Michael Hunnicutt, who also hit a 39-yard field goal for a 20-17 lead early in the fourth. Roland started off the scoring with a one-yard run, but Saunders tied it up with a 64-yard punt return for a score on the way to a 10-10 halftime lead.
- Oklahoma QB Blake Bell completed 10-of-16 passes for 140 yards and a score. Trevor Knight completed 3-of-7 passes for 28 yards, and ran 11 times for 47 yards. Kendal Thompson completed 2-of-9 passes for 17 yards with a pick.
- Oklahoma State QB Desmond Roland ran 21 times for 144 yards and two scores, and he caught two passes for -8 yards and a score.
- Oklahoma WR Jalen Saunders ran twice for 49 yards, caught five passes for 39 yards and a score and too two punts 69 yards with a score.
- Oklahoma State QB Clint Chelf completed 19-of-35 passes for 200 yards and a score with a pick, and he ran five times for 16 yards.

Oklahoma 41, at Kansas State 31
Basically … Oklahoma overcame a huge day from Tyler Lockett thanks to Brenan Clay, who ran for a 64-yard touchdown and scores on a three-yard touchdown run following a great punt return from Jalen Saunders. Lockett hit the OU secondary with touchdown catches from 48, 30 and 90 yards in the second quarter, but the Wildcats managed just ten points the rest of the way with Jake Waters running for a one-yard score. Zach Sanchez gave the Sooners breathing room in the fourth taking a Waters interception 74 yards for a score.
- Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett caught 12 passes for 278 yards and three scores
- Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight completed 14-of-20 passes for 171 yards and a score with a pick, and he ran 14 times for 82 yards and a score.
- Oklahoma RB Brennan Clay ran 14 times for 82 yards and a touchdown.
- Kansas State ran 22 times for 24 yards and a score. John Hubert was held to 17 yards on nine carries.

at Oklahoma 48, Iowa State 10
Basically … Down 10-3 in the first quarter, Oklahoma scored 45 unanswered points sparked by a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown from Jalen Saunders. Damien Williams tore off touchdown runs from 59 and 19 yards, Brennan Clay added a 63-yard touchdown run, and Trevor Knight ran for a 56-yard score. OU outgained ISU 523 yards to 291.
- Oklahoma RB Damien Williams ran ten times for 128 yards and two scores, and Trevor Knight ran for 123 yards and a score on ten carries. Knight also completed 8-of-14 passes for 61 yards.
- Iowa State QB Grant Rohach completed 21-of-34 passes for 179 yards with two picks, and was sacked five times.
- Oklahoma LB Frank Shannon made eight tackles with two sacks.
- Iowa State FS Jacques Washington made 13 tackles.

at Baylor 41, Oklahoma 12
Basically … Baylor overcame a sluggish start to rip apart the Sooners over the final 37 minutes of the game. Oklahoma took a 5-3 lead on a safety and a 22-yard Michael Hunnicutt field goal, and then it was all Bears as Bryce Petty ran for two touchdowns and threw for three more including scoring plays from 24 and 25 yards out to Antwan Goodley. Oklahoma only managed a ten-yard Roy Finch touchdown catch in the third to pull within 19, but the Bears controlled the rest of the game.
- Bryce Petty completed 13-of-26 passes for 204 yards and three scores, and he ran 16 times for 45 yards and two scores.
- Oklahoma was held to 237 yard of total offense and was outgained 255 rushing yards to 87.
- The two teams combined to commit 25 penalties with Oklahoma committing 13 for 97 yards and Baylor 12 for 119.
- Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon led all tacklers with 15 stops with two tackles for loss. Baylor’s Demetri Goodson made two tackles with a picks and three broken up passes.

at Oklahoma 38, Texas Tech 30
Basically … The Sooners controlled the game late and held on as Texas Tech kept pressing and had a late chance, but couldn’t move the ball after Michael Hunnicutt hit a 37-yard field goal to put the game away. Blake Bell threw two second quarter touchdown passes to Jalen Saunders from 15 and 76 yards out, Damien Williams ran for two three-yard touchdown runs, and Lacoltan Bester came up with a brilliant, weaving 35-yard touchdown on an end-around. But Texas Tech wouldn’t go away Davis Webb threw two third quarter touchdowns and Kenny Williams ran for a one-yard score and threw a two-yard touchdown pass on a halfback option.
- Could this be Oklahoma’s breakout game? The offense was creative, effective and explosive. Blake Bell will never throw a better deep ball than he did on his 76-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders, and Lacoltan Bester’s scoring run was fantastic. Now it all has to carry over, while having to do it without fullback Trey Millard, who’s out for the year with a torn up knee.
- The Sooners need to parlay this big win into a run. They have to keep up the pace with the huge road game at Baylor coming up in 12 days. Win that, and it’s easy for a while with Iowa State and Kansas State to follow, but some losses from Texas along the way would be a big help.

Oklahoma 34 … at Kansas 19
Basically … Kansas scored the first 13 points of the game on a one-yard Jimmay Mundine touchdown catch and an 11-yard James Sims run, and then it was all Oklahoma over the final 44 minutes. Blake Bell threw two touchdown passes including a ten-yarder to Sterling Shepard, who also caught a 49-yard touchdown pass from receiver Lacoltan Bester on an end-around. The Jayhawks got one more Sims touchdown run to break up the run of 34 OU points.
- It wasn’t exactly the bounceback performance OU needed after the clunker against Texas, but it’ll have to do. The running game spread out the wealth with three players running for 53 yards or more, including Blake Bell, who ran better than he has throughout the year. The defense tightened up quickly and never let it become a game after halftime, but the offense still has to be more consistent.
- It’s not Jake Heaps’ fault that Kansas is bad at playing college football. James Sims provided the balance and help with 129 rushing yards and two scores, but the passing game was an embarrassment with Heaps completing 5-of-13 passes for 16 yards and a score. How bad was it? Charlie Weis burned Montell Cozart’s redshirt season by getting him on the field. He didn’t do anything, and now he needs to start being more involved.
- Oklahoma looks like it’s begging to get tagged by someone else very, very soon. The secondary hasn’t been tested in weeks, and if the offense plays like it has over the last few games against Texas Tech and Baylor, it’s going to be a disappointing season. The explosion needs to improve.
- Kansas has been able to get out to early leads, but then the floodgates open up. Weis and the coaching staff come up with a terrific gameplan for the first quarter and the first 20 plays or so, and then it’s as if the ideas run out and the other team has it all figured out.

Texas 36, at Oklahoma 20
Basically … Texas stunned Oklahoma with a big start, getting a rumbling 31-yard interception return for a score from Chris Whaley and a 59-yard touchdown catch from Marcus Johnson on the way to a 20-3 lead. Two of Anthony Fera’s three field goals gave the Longhorns a 23-10 halftime lead, and the special teams did even more in the third quarter on a punt return for a score from Daje Johnson to put it away. OU had a pick six of its own from Geneo Grissom in the fourth quarter, but the offense only managed three points in the second half.
- 3-0, 3-0, 3-0. For all the problems, inconsistencies and issues, Texas is 3-0 in the Big 12 and it has a win over Oklahoma – that’s a pretty successful season by the standards of most places. It’s easy to point to the emotion of the game as the big reason for the great performance, but Texas simply tackled better. It wrapped up, it was more physical, and it was brilliant on third down D, allowing OU to convert just 2-of-13 chances. Texas, for once, used its athleticism and talent and it delivered a punch.
- Blake Bell looked lost. Most quarterbacks struggle under pressure, but Bell is at his best when he gets time to let the downfield plays develop, and he didn’t get that time. He completed just 12-of-26 passes for 133 yards and two scores, and while he connected on a few long plays, he didn’t deliver enough of them.
- Jackson Jeffcoat came up with a big, big game with two sacks, constant pressure, and tone-setting plays for the Longhorn defense. The entire Texas defense played one of its best and sharpest games of the year, but this win goes to Case McCoy along with the ground game. McCoy put the pressure on himself before the game, and outside of a pick six, he came through completing 13-of-21 passes for 190 yards and two scores. Johnathan Gray ran for 123 yards on 29 carries, and Malcolm Brown ran 23 times for 120 yards.
- The bad: Oklahoma’s offense put the defense on the field way too much. The good: Dominique Alexander had a great game making 19 tackles with a tackle for loss. Frank Shannon came up with 16 stops and a forced fumble.

at Oklahoma 20, TCU 17
Basically … In an uneven performance, Oklahoma’s defense dominated in the first half, while the offense managed two Michael Hunnicutt field goals and an eight-yard trey Millard touchdown run for a 13-0 lead. TCU fought back with a field goal and a two-yard touchdown run from Trevone Boykin, while the Sooner offense went nowhere, and then came the one big break. Brennan Clay tore into the TCU secondary and on the way to a 76-yard touchdown and some breathing room. Boykin pulled the Horned Frogs to within three on a eight-yard scoring run in the final minutes, but the Sooners were able to run out the clock.
- What exactly is this Oklahoma team? It can be so explosive at times, but the offense bogs down way too easily. The running game was going nowhere against a good TCU defensive front, and then Brennan Clay tore the game open. The passing game didn’t show any of its usual pop, but it was relatively effective. OU looked vulnerable with Texas coming up next.
- The chances were there, but TCU couldn’t take them. The Horned Frog offense was stuffed with no running game and few big plays for the passing attack, but Trevone Boykin found a little bit of a groove late. The first half was awful – nothing worked.
- TCU finished the day with 210 yards of total offense and just 44 yards rushing. The coaching staff all but abandoned the run early on, especially with the backs – there was just no point. The longest run from a back was seven yards.
- It’s not like the Sooner defense was doing anything wacky. There were four sacks, and Charles Tapper came up with a few nice plays, but it didn’t do much outside of just whip the TCU offensive front. The defense doesn’t have any signature stars, but it’s playing at the highest of levels.

Oklahoma 35, at Notre Dame 21
Basically … Oklahoma picked off Tommy Rees three times, with Corey Nelson taking the first one for a score less than a minute into the game. Blake Bell added two touchdown passes from 26 yards out to Lacoltan Bester and 54 yards away to Sterling Shepard to get ahead and stay there – Notre Dame never led. George Atkinson III tore of an 80-yard touchdown run, and Troy Niklas pulled the Irish within six early in the fourth on a 30-yard touchdown catch, but Shepard put it away less than two minutes later.
- Notre Dame can’t win when Tommy Rees isn’t great, but it stayed alive even though he only completed 9-of-24 passes for 104 yards with two scores and three picks. The running game that hasn’t been there on a consistent basis all season long came up with 220 yards, but 80 of them came on the George Atkinson III scoring run.
- This is why Blake Bell makes the Sooners a national title contender. He was tough, poised, and quick when he needed to be, completing 22-of-30 passes for 232 yards and two scores, and he ran 12 times for 59 yards.
- Where’s the Notre Dame pass rush? Considering Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt are two of the best pro prospects in the country –certain first rounders, and probably top 15 picks – There weren’t any sacks, and while Tuitt got to Bell a few times, it wasn’t nearly enough. There’s no pressure into the backfield.
- All of a sudden, considering Oklahoma State looked mediocre to West Virginia, Oklahoma is playing more and more like a sleeper national title contender. It should’ve had the game well in hand by the fourth quarter instead of being in such a fight, but it’s a strong win on the road by an emerging team.

at Oklahoma 51, Tulsa 20, Sept. 14
Basically … Blake Bell took the Oklahoma starting quarterback job by the horns with four touchdown passes including two to Sterling Shepard. The Sooners took a 34-7 lead in the third on Shepard’s 35-yard pass play, and Bell put it away in the fourth on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders. Tulsa got touchdown runs from Trey Watts and Ja’Terian Douglas to make it interesting at times, but the defense couldn’t stop Bell.
- The Sooner offense was unstoppable. Bell led the way to 607 yards of total offense as he connected on third down play after third down play. Bell completed 27-of-37 passes for 413 yards and four touchdowns, and he ran ten times for 24 yards.
- The Tulsa passing game wasn’t bad. Cody Green pressed a bit, and he wasn’t accurate, but he kept pushing the ball down the field throwing for 226 yards with a pick. He couldn’t keep up the pace with Bell and the OU offense.
- Tulsa’s Shawn Jackson tried to be a one-man wrecking crew against the run, making 15 tackles with a sack and three tackles for loss.
- Bell did a terrific job of spreading the ball around to all of his weapons. Ten different Sooners caught a pass with Jaz Reynolds and Sterling Shepard the most explosive. Roy Finch led the team with 68 rushing yards.

at Oklahoma 16, West Virginia 7, Sept. 7
Basically … West Virginia scored first on a weaving 75-yard touchdown run from Dreamius Smith, and then it was all Oklahoma the rest of the way with 16 unanswered points – but it wasn’t pretty. Mike Hunnicutt hit three field goals and Trevor Knight connected with Trey Millard for a one-yard score, but Blake Bell stepped in late after Knight threw two picks.
- Oklahoma’s defense stiffened in a real hurry. Much will be made about the sluggish win, but after giving up one big run, the Sooners didn’t give up anything else the rest of the way. The defensive back seven kept plays to a minimum.
- Paul Millard got time to work, but the 218 passing yards didn’t account for much of anything. He completed passes, 21-of-41, but the offense didn’t do anything meaningful. When the Sooner defense needed to get off the field, it did.
- Trevor Knight added a little flash with his legs, but the two interceptions showed just how far he has to go with the passing attack. Blake Bell didn’t exactly fire things up missing on his lone pass attempt, but he ran for 21 yards on two carries. Brennan Clay tore off 170 yards and Damien Williams added 95.
- It’s not a good thing when West Virginia’s biggest positive was the punter. Nick O’Toole did a nice job averaging over 45 yards per blast with three put inside the 20. He helped keep the game alive.

at Oklahoma 34, ULM 0, Aug. 31
Basically … Trevor Knight might have struggled throwing the ball against ULM, but he found Jalen Saunders for a 12-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and on an 18-yard scoring pass in the third. He also hooked up with Trey Metoyer on a 13-yard touchdown to put the game well out of reach. ULM managed just 166 yards of total offense and nine first downs.
- The coaching staff didn’t pick Trevor Knight for his arm, and while he only completed 11-of-28 passes he threw for three scores to go along with his 13 carries for 103 yards. He has the dynamic potential the coaching staff was looking for.
- Sun Belt star quarterback Kolton Browning was never able to get free. He wasn’t bad throwing the ball, but he only ran four times for three yards. The Sooners didn’t give up a thing on the ground.
- If Knight can be merely adequate, he can make the offense shine through the air. Jalen Saunders had the big day, but all the key receivers got into the act.
- Rushing yards: Oklahoma 6.1 – ULM 1.7. The Sooner defensive front didn’t let the Warhawks breathe.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited Oklahoma went 10-3 last season, went into the final weekend of the season with a shot to win the Big 12 title outright, and were in the mix for an at-large BCS spot, and no one is happy – that’s a good thing. Give Bob Stoops credit for setting the bar higher than merely winning ten games and going to a nice bowl game, and he’s shaking things up with a few new assistants coming aboard to go along with a good base of players to work around. The offensive line loses sure-thing NFL first round draft pick Lane Johnson at right tackle, but JUCO transfer Josiah St. John might be an instant answer to pick up the slack for a front five that gets the other four starters back, not including injured guard Tyler Evans. It’s OU, so the passing game will end up coming around once the quarterback situation is settled, but early on the ground attack should shine with Damien Williams and Brennan Clay working behind the solid line.

Why To Be Grouchy This spring is all about auditioning defensive players for fall camp, because little is likely to be settled by April 13. The defensive front loses most of the key players with linebacker Tom Wort leaving early for the NFL and tackles Casey Walker and Jamarkus McFarland also done. The biggest his is in the secondary where do-it-all safety Tony Jefferson is gone after doing hitting everything in sight in a terrific junior year. Also, don’t sleep on the importance of the loss of punter Tress Way, who averaged 44.15 yards per boot and did a nice job of working well with the coverage team.

What Needs Working On Yes, the defense loses a ton of talent and plenty of good hitters up front, but the line wasn’t up to its normal snuff against the run, and has a whole, the D failed miserably at consistently generating big plays. OU’s defense came up with a whopping three recovered fumbles on the season and just one over the final seven games. The secondary might have picked off 13 passes, but, outside of a good say against Baylor, it was also roasted by most quarterbacks who could throw a forward pass and chew gum at the same time. The run defense was surprisingly soft over the second half of the season allowing 185 rushing yards or more in six of the final eight games while giving up two touchdowns or more in eight games on the year.

Non-Conference Games: ULM, Tulsa, at Notre Dame
Realistic Best Case Record: 12-0
Worst Case Record: 7-5
Likely Finish: 10-2

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: ULM, West Virginia, Tulsa, at Notre Dame, TCU, Texas, at Kansas, Texas Tech, Iowa State, at Kansas State

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Baylor, at Oklahoma State

Schedule Analysis: The Sooners have to be on upset alert from the start with Kolton Browning and ULM coming into Gaylord to kick things off, and the fun shootouts don’t stop with a high-powered West Virginia team coming in next to start up the Big 12 season followed up by a date with a dangerous Tulsa squad. That should be enough tune-up time before getting to the meat of the schedule.

OU gets a week off to prepare for a revenge game against Notre Dame, but it’s not crazy to suggest that the date with TCU the week after might turn out to be more challenging. And after all of that – five straight games against almost certain bowl bound teams – the Sooners make the trip to Dallas to face Texas. The schedule eases up a bit with a road game at Kansas and a home affair with Texas Tech before getting a week off, but three of the final four games are on the road going to Baylor and Kansas State – wrapped around a home game against Iowa State – before getting a week off to prepare for Oklahoma State. In all, six of the final nine games are away from Norman.

Team Concerns For 2013: The Sooners have to make sure that Blake Bell can ball. Everyone knows him as the Belldozer, and there isn't a more physical quarterback in America, but if it really is Bell who takes over for Landry Jones, he needs keep the nation's 12th-ranked passing game rolling behind a line that loses tackle Lane Johnson but gets foru starters back. The defense has to be up to Stoops snuff after finishing last in the Big 12 in tackles for loss and turning in a surprisingly soft season against the run. The three starters lost off the defensive front is a problem, and not having safety Tony Jefferson or linebacker Tom Wort to rely on after they chose to leave early for the next level.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. Bob Stoops went big on defensive linemen a few years ago, and now he's restocking the shelves for a few years from now led by Kerrick Hughes out of Dallas, who has the talent to be the next great OU defensive tackle. D.J. Ward and Matt Dimon are terrific end prospects who should soon be key parts of the pass rush, while JUCO transfer Quincy Russell could b used right away. The secondary is getting some help, too, with four-star corner L.J. Moore on Signing Day to go along with safety Hatari Byrd and corner Stanvon Taylor. Offensively, can Keith Ford become a part of the puzzle early on? He has the talent to make a big impact right out of the box.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 11. That Class Was Heavy On ... Oklahoma isn’t slipping under Bob Stoops, but it’s having to work a bit harder lately to not only bring in the four and five-star types, but keep everyone happy. The Sooners need running back help, and now. Everything was supposed to be set, but Jermie Calhoun, Jonathon Miller, and Brandon Williams all bolted and Dominique Whaley is coming off an injury. The receivers are flocking to Norman with the biggest boost to come when Trey Metoyer, a top recruit last year, is ready to roll after spending a year at the Hargrave Military Academy. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 17. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. It’s more about quality than quantity across the board with some of the nation’s top prospects at most of the key positions. Kendal Thompson isn’t the typical OU star passer, but he has good skills. Brandon Williams might be the nation’s best running back in the 2011 class, and if Trey Metoyer isn’t the No. 1 receiver, he’s in the top three. Defensively, the line is loaded with some special prospects led by 6-5, 300-pound Jordan Phillips for the inside and pass rushing terror Nathan Hughes on the end. Dan Tapko will be a part of the end rotation soon, while Jordan Wade could be a special tackle with a little bit of time in the weight room.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 3. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive talent. Bob Stoops went after defensive backs last season, and this year he was out to step up the skill positions. Blake Bell will sit and wait his turn at quarterback with Landry Jones the likely starter for the next few seasons, but when it's his time, he should become a star. Brennan Clay and Roy Finch are runners who can fly, and Kenny Stills and Justin McCay lead an all-star cast of receivers who should bring in more firepower in the next few seasons. Defensively, OU came up with a big early story on Signing Day getting top linebacker Corey Nelson to change his commitment from Texas A&M. The Nelson signing overshadowed the addition of Tony Jefferson, a speedy outside linebacker from California who could've gone anywhere and played running back if he wanted.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 8. That Class Was Heavy On ... defensive backs. Everyone in the Big 12 went heavy on the secondary, seeing it as a must after the offensive explosion of this year, but Oklahoma got the best ones of the bunch. Gabe Lynn might be the nation’s best corner, and Marcus Trice isn’t all that far behind. Javon Harris and Kevin Brent will be starting safeties by 2011, while Demontre Hurst and Marshall Musil are interesting prospects.



  

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