Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Oklahoma Sooners 2024 Recruiting Cycle

OU Sooners Defense by James Hale

The Oklahoma Sooners are in quite a run this summer with their 2024 recruiting cycle. Coach Brent Venables makes his recruiting pitch much like how he made his pitch to his wife Julie when they were at Kansas State, in that he doesn’t let any prospect commit unless he is totally committed to OU.

“Recruiting is no different than when I asked Julie to marry me,” said Coach Venables on Total Sports on CBS Sports Radio 105.3 HD1. “When I asked her, and she said yes, it didn’t mean that she and I still could go out with other guys or with me other girls. No, it meant that we were committing to one another and would be with each other for the rest of our lives.

“Well, to me, recruiting is the same way. This is our program. The people in our program are part of our family and are totally committed to our work. So, when we offer a prospect and start going through the recruiting process with him, because of who we are as a program, that prospect will often want to commit to us early. We let him know that if he is committing, then he has to shut down recruiting.

“What that means to me is that they are ready to get married to us. In other words, they are ready to shut down recruiting, take no more unofficial or official visits, and from this point on, you are totally focused on OU, and that is it. You are ready to shut down recruiting and be part of our program.

“Many times, prospects, when I ask them that, especially early in the process, will tell me that they still want to take a few visits to go through the experience of the recruiting process. I totally understand that, and I tell them that if that is the case, then we do not accept their commitment. We want them to go on those visits and stay on the recruiting process as long as they want because we feel in the end they will find out we are the best program for them, and they will eventually sign with us anyway.

“This way, we let them go through the recruiting process, and if they still feel strongly about us, then that is the player we want in our program. He looked at other programs and found out he wanted to be a Sooner.

“There are a few guys that commit early in the process, and they are good. They stick to our agreement, and we sign them on signing day. If guys say they are ready and then stray and take visits or ask to take visits, then we pull our offer, and sometimes we come back to them if there is a chance, and sometimes we don’t.

“When I asked Julie to marry me, she said yes, she didn’t want to go out with any other guys, and I certainly didn’t want to see any other girls because I had the greatest girl in the world saying she wanted to marry me. Now, as a head coach, I feel recruiting has to be the same way, and it is a process that has always worked out for me in recruiting.”

Thanks to the process, OU does’t get a number of commitments early, and the Sooners were ranked 56th by the 247Sports Network back in spring. Usually, the Sooners are a top-ten recruiting team, and last year finished fourth in the country. That recruiting class has spearheaded what looks like another great recruiting class in the making. With a great rash of recruits committing in June and July, the Sooners have moved into the top 20 to 15th.

The Sooners recent surge of commits from five-star running back Taylor Tatum (5’10 1/2, 205) of Longview, Texas, and four-star tight end Davon Mitchell (6’4, 245) of Los Alamitos, California, has given the Sooners quite a surge as they get ready to start training camp in August.

Currently the Sooners have 16 commitments, and along with Tatum and Mitchell, four-star Zion Ragins (5’9, 150) of Gray (Jones County), Georgia, three-star offensive lineman Eugene Brooks (6’3, 320) of Chatsworth (Sierra Canyon) California, three-star defensive lineman Jayden Jackson (6’2, 300) of Bradenton (IMG Academy), Florida have all committed to the Sooners during July.

Four-star wide receiver Ivan Carreon (6’6, 196) of Odessa, Texas, edge rusher Wyatt Gilmore (6’4, 240) of Rogers (Senior), Minnesota, three-star linebacker James Nesta (6’4, 205) of Cornelius (William Amos Hough), North Carolina, three-star running back Xavier Robinson (6’2, 220) of Midwest City (Carl Albert), Oklahoma, and three-star wide receiver Dozie Ezukanma (6’2, 180) of Keller (Timber Creek), Texas, committed in June.

The Sooners have not only moved up to 16th in the 247Sports rankings, but the Sooners are also inside the top-10 in average ranking per commit score at 91.08. It’s far from where the program expects to finish, but it’s another step in the right direction.

One thing is for sure; when signing day rolls around on December 22nd, Coach Venables will have players he knows want to play for Oklahoma.

By James Hale

James Hales is a longtime OU Sooners athletics insider and his been in the media world for decades. He can be heard Monday – Friday on KINB FM OKC’S CBS Sports Radio 105.3 or with our app Stream by PPBC that can be found in your App Store.

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