The Oklahoma Sooners, coming off an appearance in the National Championship game, looked to be taking a big step back with the potential loss of Jermaine Gresham, Sam Bradford, Trent Williams and Gerald McCoy but in a surprising turn of events, they all announced they were staying another year. Oklahoma still loses key offensive lineman in Duke Robinson, Jon Cooper, and Phil Loadholt as well as Jaquin Iglesias, Manny Johnson and Quentin Chaney at receiver. Ask any OU fan and those were the two big needs for the Sooners. Luckily for them, they seem to have a pretty good stable of lineman waiting in the wings but with Ryan Broyles the only really significant returning wideout, receiver was definitely the #1 need coming into this class. Surprisingly, the top wideouts weren't banging down the door to play with Sam Bradford but the Sooners were still able to get JUCO 4* WR Cameron Kenney to help fill the need. Here is some other recruiting information from Crimson and Cream Machine, who is the luckiest blog in the world because they get to cover both dominate football and basketball programs all year long. Thanks to CCM for taking some time and answering our questions.
The Ralphie Report (TRR): With some commentary, grade your coaches' performance this recruiting cycle?
Crimson and Cream Machine (CMM):Oklahoma lost out on a few big name recruits at the last minute but also got a steal in cornerback Demontre Hurst who had previously committed to Oklahoma State and then won a much publicized battle defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland. As far as individual coach grades here's how I'd put it.
James Patton - Landed four offensive linemen including JUCO transfer Jeff Vinson from Lackawanna Community College. While the numbers are plenty there wasn't a lineman ranked higher than three stars signed. Grade: B-
Josh Heupel - Landed three star quarterback Drew Allen from San Antonio. Grade: B-
Brent Venables - Was instrumental in bringing in 8 of Oklahoma's recruits including four star recruits Justin Chassion, Demontre Hurst, Ronnell Lewis, Marcus Trice and Tom Wart. Oklahoma's 2009 class was deep in defensive talent and the two coaches most responsible for it were Venables and Jackie Shipp. Grade: A+
Bobby Jack Wright - Helped land four star safeties Kevin Brent and Javon Harris. Grade: A-
Jackie Shipp - Helped out on both sides of the ball by helping recruit tight end Gabe Ikard. Was also responsible for landing three of OU's defensive recruits including Oklahoma's top recruits Jamarkus McFarland and Gabe Lynn. Grade: A+
Kevin Wilson - Also helped on both sides of the ball by bringing in defensive end Terry Franklin as well as the assist on Ikard. Grade: A-
Jay Norvell - Oklahoma missed out on Reuben Randle but Norvell was able to bring in four star JUCO transfer receiver Cameron Kenny and three star receiver Jaz Reynolds. Grade: B+
Cale Gundy - Gundy's biggest recruit was four star running back Jonathan Miller but he also got an assist on four star defensive back Javon Harris.
What were some of the major needs this year and did your coaches' adequately address them?
Offensive line and receiver were Oklahoma's biggest needs in my opinion. While the cupboard wasn't bare up front for the Sooners signing four additional linemen was huge for adding both depth and competition up front. I would have liked to have seen a few more receivers in this class though. Oklahoma's most experienced pass catcher is Ryan Broyles which isn't a bad thing because he is a playmaker but there just isn't much depth there right now. Hence more talk of moving Madu over to the slot.
TRR: Who are the three prospects that we all should know about? Are their any players that you feel have a chance to play from Day 1 and contribute?
- Jamarkus McFarland - Defensive Tackle
- Cameron Kenny - Receiver
- Jeff Vinson - Offinsive line
I think that both Kenny and Vinson could come in and earn starting spots this summer. McFarland has a chance to be Tommie Harris/Gerald McCoy good but may have to wait in line to get on the field.
TRR: We all had a couple players that got away that we really wanted. Who were those players and what attributes made those players hard to lose?
CMM: Reuben Randle was the guy who would have put Oklahoma's recruiting a notch higher. He is an immediate impact player with his size and speed. The lack of depth that OU has at the receiver position right now is what makes not landing him so hard. I understand him wanting to stay home and all but he could have had a Heisman Trophy winner throwing to him instead of a guy who threw 21 interceptions last year.
TRR: Who is the guy that no one is really talking about or not as much but you feel will be a sleeper when his career is said and done? What are the reasons?
CMM: Running back Jonathan Miller is the guy who seems to be under the radar to me in this class. He'll almost surely be redshirted this season but before his career ends I think he'll make some serious waves. He ran for almost 2,000 yards this year as a senior at Naaman Forest in Garland, Texas and averaged almost 8 yards per carry. Like a lot of guys at OU, he'll have to wait his turn but he could be something special when he gets on the field.
TRR: I know it's early, but what are the biggest needs to be filled with the 2010 recruiting class?
CMM: I think that at the end of next season OU will still be in need of offensive and defensive linemen as well as defensive backs but the biggest need will still be receiver. Oklahoma will have to land at least one more four or five star caliber receiver in 2010.