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May 10, 2006

Texas tidbits: Sooners searching elsewhere?

It would take a while to list all of the talented Texans who have had great careers at Oklahoma. Names such as Adrian Peterson, Billy Sims, Thomas Lott, and David Overstreet are just a few. So the question in the 2007 recruiting process is when will the Sooners start picking up commitments from the Lone Star state?

It's obvious that with Texas being the defending champions, things are going to be tough for any team when it comes to cherry-picking the state's blue-chip prospects. Word is that, like the Sooners, several schools are merely waiting for the Horns to finish and then put on a full-court press. Scholarship offers have gone out to plenty of Texans. On the other hand, many wonder if things are changing for Oklahoma and headed towards a more national approach.

SoonerScoop.com's Josh McCuistion says things are not all that different from years past when it comes to making the state a priority. That is except for the dominance of their rival – Texas.

"I think Oklahoma knew that Texas was going to clean house in-state this year coming off of a national title, added on top of how well they've always done," McCuistion said. "I think they could see the guys that they were never going to get come off the board, and then get a more true to form look at what might be there for them."

However, the low amount of offers out compared to previous years is not all based upon the success of UT. There are other factors involved that makes the 2007 class different.

The two biggest needs right now for the Sooners include defensive end and offensive tackle. While neither position is incredibly deep this year in the Lone Star state, Texas has signed the majority of the top offensive lineman and that has caused OU to go in search of nationally recognized players at both positions.

That is also on top of the fact that Bob Stoops and his staff are not looking for a large class by any means.

Oklahoma: Familiar territory
Oklahoma's last five recruiting classes have depended heavily on Texas commitments. Here is a look at how many Lone Star prospects have factored towards their total numbers:
Year Texas Total
2002
9
24
2003
12
24
2004
11 18
2005
8
27
2006
10
28
"Oklahoma is somewhat fortunate that they are looking at such a small class as they can be a bit more meticulous and take the time for the staff to completely acclimate themselves with one another," McCuistion said. "I also think coaching changes played a role. Oklahoma had left east Texas, an obviously vital area, to Darrell Wyatt. With his departure, there was some shuffling in the area."

There are still several top players from Texas that OU sits in good position with.

Irving MacArthur athlete Ron Brooks and Dallas Skyline safety Christian Scott are just two prospects that hold the Sooners in high regard. Defensive back Jamell Fleming and defensive end Ben Bass also recently picked up scholarship offers from the Big 12 South school.

Don't expect things to change much with Oklahoma and it's tradition of recruiting across the Red River. It may just be in a different fashion with the 2007 class.

Cause for panic?

Numerous visits have gone down for top quarterback Jarrett Lee. Yet one of his early leaders, Texas Tech, has still yet to host the talented signal caller on campus.

This past weekend, the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder was supposed to be in Lubbock for an unofficial visit to compare it to previous visits at schools such as Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, and Nebraska.

That didn't take place.

"I actually didn't go," Lee said. "Coach Mike Leach wasn't there and I wanted to pick a time where he would be there. Actually, I believe we're going to reschedule, but as of right now, I'm not real sure when."

That tentative date seems to be May 20 from sources close to the situation. Rumors continue to swirl about one school where he may be leading. While some believe Nebraska is in the lead, other signs are still pointing to TCU where his teammates seem to be favoring.

Oklahoma has been rumored to be on the verge of offering which could make the race even more interesting.

Nonetheless, it appears Texas Tech is in good position as they remain in his top five. Until a visit is made, nothing can be said for sure about where the Red Raiders may end up in this race. Early on they were one of the teams to beat and could end up being just that come decision time this summer.

New team in the lead for Creer

Things just got even more interesting for Tatum, Texas athlete Lennon Creer. The Miami Hurricanes, who have already picked up one commitment from the Lone Star state, may be closer to a second.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Creer has been given a deadline by Texas of June 4 to decide. While the Horns remained as a leader for some time, the Canes are now the newest team to beat for his services.

"Miami is at the top of my list," Creer said. "It's because I like the tradition, they win a lot of ballgames. I think I'd like it down there. I'll probably come down in June for the summer camp."

Those close to the situation have said that Miami is the favorite for Creer leading up to a decision. Apparently, the Canes have been a "dream school" and when they offered, his interest climbed even higher.

The deadline given to him from Texas has also had an effect.

"I didn't like that very much," Creer told Rivals.com Tuesday evening. "That was part of why things changed with my top schools. Miami left it open for me to decide."

Stay tuned on this one.

Baylor grabs No. 2

After receiving a pledge from Iola, Texas lineman Rex McDougald, a wide receiver was the next pickup for the Bears.

Mesquite, Texas sleeper Krys Buerck was picking up interest from several schools such as Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Rice. However, Baylor was the first to offer and was his early choice – for now.

"My commitment was to Baylor and it was because I liked the school," Bureck said. "I've heard good things about Baylor. I know I can get a good education there."

However, Buerck is not solid with his decision just yet. He'll be attending camps at texas and Kansas along with a few others.

"I'm just going to go to a lot of camps and see what I can do," he said.

Hempstead, Texas athlete Chris Tate could be another prospect that may make an early decision for Baylor. The talented young man recently picked up an offer from the Big 12 school and they look to be the team to beat.

Spring sleepers emerging

Every year during the spring evaluation period, sleeper prospects begin to emerge with scholarship offers that many people haven't heard about before. The 2007 class definitely has its share of under-the-radar prospects making a spring push to be highly ranked.

Running backs seem to be coming out of the woodwork. San Antonio (Texas) Lee's Travis Lewis, Allen's Charles Opeseyitan, Mansfield Summit's Brandon Oliver, and Jacksonville's Carmen Boyd-Anderson are on the map with early scholarship offers.

Opeseyitan and Boyd-Anderson are loading up seemingly by the day with new offers. Both are big physical running backs who can work in a lot of systems and colleges are noticing their abilities.

Wide receivers Jacob Amie, Nick Trice, Hubert Anyiam, and Darnius Moore are not strangers to scholarship offers any more either. Trice has overcome a junior season injury and a move from Europe. Anyiam is on a talented North Garland team along with sleeper teammate and linebacker Jermaine Love. Both are looking at more offers to keep coming through the summer.

Tight end Alex Russian has a pair of offers and like his teammate, James Kirkendoll, will be heavily recruited going into the summer.

New offensive and defensive lineman are also appearing on the radar of college recruiters. California move-in Darrion Weems, now at Cedar Hill, is starting to haul in offers. Rosenberg Lamar Consolidated defensive end Lavar Brown has one written offer in from Iowa and should be expecting more. Silsbee offensive/defensive lineman Ahmad Jones is a top target and has his sights set on LSU despite several other offers.

Defensive backs are also ushering in new names. Cedar Hill corner Anthony Blue, Houston St. Pius defender Tarence Farmer, and Arlington Bowie's Chris Jones are on the map with early offers. Watch out for Arlington Seguin defensive back Donte Neal who was offered by Wisconsin.

Etc.

Athlete Ron Brooks and safety Christian Scott are two of the more highly recruited athletes in the state of Texas…Brooks seems close to a Southern Cal offer, but has not received it yet. Scott apparently is now being recruited by Texas and just picked up yet another offer from Tennessee. Garland defensive end Marquis Frazier is quickly rising to the top as one of the more highly recruited prospects at his talent-rich high school. Offers have come in from all over but it appears Florida may have a slight edge with his former teammate Brandon Antwine headed there.



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