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July 9, 2008MORE: Texas breakdown | Alabama breakdown | NEW RELEASES: MS | OK | HI | D.C. | CT | MA
Preseason State Rankings:
While it might not get as much national recognition as its neighbor south of the Red River, Oklahoma has always been a must-stop spot for college football recruiters.
The depth in the class of 2009 in Oklahoma makes it one of the best seasons in recent memory. More than 40 players have already earned scholarship offers from the state, which made ranking the top 35 players in the state a difficult task.
There are several talented players that didn't make the list in Rivals.com's Oklahoma Preseason Top 35, but there's no debating who is the top player in the state. That honor belongs to Jenks cornerback Gabe Lynn.
Ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 3 cornerback, the 6-foot, 185-pounder has dominated the past few years for the top program in the state. Lynn is one of the most heavily recruited players in the nation. As a junior, he had 52 tackles and five interceptions - not bad considering teams hardly threw his direction.
Allan Trimble has led his program to nine state titles in his 12 seasons as the coach at Jenks, and he believes Lynn has the chance to be one of the best players he's coached.
"He's special," Trimble said. "He not only can take away half the field for an offense, but he can hurt you on special teams. He's so gifted athletically, but another thing that sets him apart is his intelligence. He's a smart, savvy football player that knows how to be in the right place at the right time to make the big play."
What's even more impressive about Lynn is that he knows he's the face of the Jenks program and everybody will be watching what he does every little step of the way. But that's OK, he relishes the chance to help Jenks win another championship.
"At Jenks, excellence is expected every year and from every player," Lynn said. "That's the legacy we live up to, and we have a responsibility to be the best we can in everything we do."
Behind Lynn at the No. 2 spot in the state is the nation's No. 1 all-purpose back, David Oku of Midwest City Carl Albert. The 5-foot-10, 186-pound four-star prospect has been on the recruiting radar for almost three years. He had a breakout sophomore season that saw him rush for 1,462 yards and 19 scores. He bettered that as a junior with 1,628 yards and 20 touchdowns. He currently ranks as the No. 82 player in the nation overall and has narrowed his list to Florida State, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska and Tennessee.
The No. 3 player in the state is Ronnell Lewis of Dewar. He also is the nation's No. 8 outside linebacker and the No. 99 player in the country. Not bad from a guy that played 8-man football last season. Lewis was offered a scholarship early by Oklahoma, and he quickly jumped on it.
"I've only coached 8-man football for about five years; I grew up playing and coaching 11-man," Dewar coach Josh Been said. "Coach Stoops said after analyzing film that he didn't care if it's 6-man, 8-man or 12-man, it's obvious he can play the game of football.
"First of all he is real physical on both sides of the ball. Obviously, for us he runs the ball. He plays running back in the 8-man game, he'll play one of the linebackers ? when we go to 11-man. Last year he played something of a strong safety for us. I think he had 11 or 12 interceptions. Offensively, he rushed for over 2,000 yards, and I believe he led all classes in touchdowns."
The top-flight talent doesn't end with Lewis.
Offensive lineman Brandon Webb of Owasso, running back Jeremy Smith of Tulsa Union and Daytawion Lowe of Carl Albert are all four-star players and are ranked fourth, fifth and sixth in the state, respectively.
Even players that aren't on the four-star level are heavily courted in the state.
The seventh-ranked player, Lawton MacArthur safety Javon Harris, is heading to Oklahoma. David Gordon from Tulsa East Central is the No. 8 player, and he's become one of the most heavily courted speedsters in the nation. No. 9 Pearlie Graves from East Central is one of the best defensive tackles in the country, and rounding out the top 10 is Booker T. Washington linebacker Michael Doctor.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have done a nice job in their backyards. The Sooners have pledges from three players in the top 35, including two of the top seven. OSU has scored two commitments from players in the top five. Tulsa has also done a nice job, scoring commits from five players in the top 35.