July 9, 2009

Mailbag talks about the class of 2010 coming together

The Mailbag is a SoonerScoop.com feature for our fans to get questions that may require a little more depth and clarity of explanation directly from assistant editor Josh McCuistion. Each Monday and Tuesday we will field questions for the mailbag and get you all answers on Thursday.

In this week's mailbag there was a heavy focus from SoonerScoop.com readers about what could take place in the future with Oklahoma's recruiting and whether the class of 2010 was forming a real bond.

I have read and heard stories about John Blake's last signed class.

Several of the recruits were at the Texas A&M game (the one that was so cold and we got our pushed around on Owen Field). After the game some of the recruits were all together. The Oklahoma in-state recruits said they were going to commit to Oklahoma to bring it back to the top.

There were recruits from other states there, also. I think Damian Mackey and Roy Williams were among them?

Anyway, these young men became the leaders and core of our 2000 BCS team. Josh Heupel made some impassioned speech to the 2000 team before their 1st game about winning the national championship too (read that speech Josh gave, and it may have been paraphrased) and it was a stemwinder.

Now to the question at last. Do you think this class being put together has the same type of players? Kids who set team goals and will work to achieve them?

- OU47

I think you are onto something with this but I must admit it doesn't seem nearly as central as the example you made where so much was tied into the one weekend visit in which so many guys kind of came together and made a group call.

That being said this group talks a lot through text message, phone calls, and even on the various social networking sites.

Now only a few of the guys speak to just about every member of the class, Blake Bell being the foremost example, but I can assure you when a new commitment happens I hear about it each and every time.

Whether you intended to ask it or not I think you bring up a great point in that this class really seems to have a growing bond and there is no better evidence than the fact that Brennan Clay and Roy Finch, would-be competitors, have struck up a bond from across the country with one another.

And there isn't a commitment yet who didn't quickly talk to me about the chance to compete for national titles.

While looking at the "athlete" rankings, I saw Demarco Cobbs ran a 4.76-second 40-yard dash time at the U.S. Army combine and posted similarly mediocre shuttle/vertical performances.

Additionally, I keep reading about how performance at camps and combines moves players up and down in the rankings. Cobbs has a very impressive offer list. There is another player named J.T. Tartacoff out of New Jersey who was phenomenal at the combine . Without knowing the level of competition he's up against, Tartacoff's videos and physical build are fairly impressive. I haven't been on this site in a few years so excuse me if any of this has been recently discussed but:

1. Was Cobbs healthy at the event?

2. Why did Tartacoff only receive one offer (Rutgers)?

3. What goes on besides the testing at the combine?

4. Do college coaches pay any attention to what goes on at these things or are they more for recruiting rankings?


1. He was, he has talked about not bringing proper shoes on the track. I wasn't there at the camp this year so I can't really comment on that but to me there is no denying with pads on Cobbs is plenty fast. Maybe not a guy with elite speed but certainly enough to get the job done.

2. I really couldn't say. It could be that other coaches knew he wanted to go to Rutgers from the start or it could be any of 100 other questions but knowing little of the guy I really couldn't, and wouldn't want to, speculate.

3. They run a lot of one-on-one drills at most any camp. Offensive line against defensive line, corners against receivers with quarterbacks of course involved, and in perhaps the most useless of all drills linebackers trying to cover running backs one-on-one.

Depending on the camp depends on not only the level of competition but also the degree at which the players push themselves.

4. I would say they are more for recruiting rankings, a chance for us to get to see a lot of kids up close and personal because let's face it we don't have the expendable finances of the athletic programs of major universities to spend weeks at a time on the road looking at one player after another practice.

That being said it's not all lost on coaches as Brennan Clay talked about hearing from Oklahoma following his performance at the USC NIKE camp.

"I talked about a week ago with my coach, Sergio Diaz, and he said that Oklahoma had called him and wanted me to call them. I called coach (Cale) Gundy and he was saying that they were out there recruiting some kid at Corona (Jordon James) and they heard I did really well at the NIKE camp," Clay said in early May when he was offered by Oklahoma.

"He said they wanted to talk to the kid who beat out the guy we're actually recruiting."

It seems that there are questions as to how solid Brennan Clay and Roy Finch's commitments are. It seems both want to take further visits and from my short time on the board the coaches do frown on it, right? Have they loosened their stance a bit and would they accept a commitment under those circumstances? Also, how will this affect future recruitment of this position this year?

- pcwoodrow

Finch has talked about a visit while Clay has said nothing of it other than schools are still trying to bring him to campus. Again I'll be surprised if they take any trips but so far it's not been completely ruled out by either so we'll have to see how things play out.

When Finch committed he did not make Oklahoma aware of his plan to take another visit but they are aware that he'd like to at this point but again I really don't expect that trip to Stanford to take place.

Giovanni Bernard has not heard from Oklahoma since Finch's commitment so I think it's safe to say that Oklahoma is comfortable with their chances with both players.

Can you give us a list of the recruits who OU will hold a spot for regardless of when they make their commitment? On the flip side, can you give us some names of recruits who should be aware that they might lose their offer if another recruit commits before them?

- boomboom22

I think most of the guys that Oklahoma would be holding a spot for are fairly obvious. Guys like Seantrel Henderson, Jackson Jeffcoat, Tony Jefferson, Corey Nelson, Kyle Prater, and Darius White.

As far as kids that might be in a tough spot, I think any kid that isn't on that list is probably at risk of losing their spot if numbers fall apart. I'd hate to list someone because it creates an idea that perhaps isn't fair. I mean some guys might be one commitment at their position from being out of luck and some might have more room to breathe.

I know that's a duck answer but I just don't want anything to come off too inflammatory.

If there aren't any injuries to upperclassmen at linebacker and cornerback, it would seem OU is set at those positions and could afford to red-shirt the incoming freshmen. Which of the eight freshmen do you see getting playing time next year, where (backup or special teams) and why?

Also, how likely is it that Ronnell Lewis moves to defensive end and which freshmen cornerback is most likely to change positions?


Well this is just on the fringe of a recruiting question but I'll go with it!

Of the young defensive backs the only guy I see as being a real shot to play this coming season is Gabe Lynn simply because with his brother, and the program he comes from he has a vague idea of what it takes to be ready for major college football.

The other guys have some hurdles to clear that are beyond just that of the reality that Oklahoma returns a pair of starters and some talented back-ups. Learning to become college ready athletes and simply surviving the strenuous summer will be quality steps in the right direction.

At linebacker I really don't see any of the guys figuring into any real playing time at linebacker and it has nothing to do with their talent so much as the depth in front of them. I do think both Bird and Wort could, and probably will, figure into special teams.

As for Lewis I've said since the film of spring workouts came out that I thought defensive end was a possibility. It's going to be interesting to see what strides he has made over this summer as the team gets back out on the field in August. I do think early playing time is most likely at defensive end simply because of the limited positional responsibilities.

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