Oklahoma football: Sooners strengthen 2018 recruiting class with new commitments

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Head Coach Lincoln Riley of the Oklahoma Sooners speaks to Baker Mayfield
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Head Coach Lincoln Riley of the Oklahoma Sooners speaks to Baker Mayfield /
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Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley didn’t have a lot of uplifting things to say after the Sooners disappointing Rose Bowl loss to Georgia, but he did say, “Sooner Nation will be happy here in the next few days.”

The Sooners signed 17 of 20 commitments to their 2018 recruiting class on early signing day Dec. 20. Oklahoma added to that this past week, earning commitments from three more top recruits.

Four-star defensive end Nik Bonitto, from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, announced that he was committing to Oklahoma at the Under Armor All-America game in late December, and he made it official when he submitted his signed letter of intent to the Sooners late last week. He is the No. 17 defensive end and the No. 73 prospect overall, according to Rivals.com.

Bonitto’s recruiting story is an interesting one. He was recruited heavily this past year by the Sooners, but he chose to go with Texas A&M. Despite this, Oklahoma continued to pursue Bonitto. Presumably because of the coaching change that was underway at Texas A&M, held off signing on early national signing day. He ultimately flipped to OU.

On Saturday at the U.S. Army All-America game, where several Oklahoma signees were participating, the Sooners reeled one of the very few big fishes who remained uncommitted. More defensive back help is on the way with the commitment to the Sooners by five-star cornerback Brendan Radley-Hiles, another recruit out of the talent-rich state of Florida. Rivals.com ranks the talented defensive back No. 4 at his position and the fifth-best overall prospect, a huge pickup for Lincoln Riley and the Sooners.

Radley-Hiles, who hails from Bradenton, Florida, goes by the nickname “Bookie,” originally committed with Nebraska, but reportedly reopened his recruiting after visiting OU the weekend of the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game. Baker Mayfield was apparently enlisted to help bring Riley-Hines to Norman to play football. He becomes the sixth defensive back in Oklahoma’s 2018 class.

This weekend, Oklahoma gained the commitment of four-star linebacker DaShaun White, another flip from Texas A&M. White, from North Richland Hills, Texas, a suburb of Dallas-Ft. Worth, is rated the No. 22 outside linebacker by Rivals.com and the No. 248 prospect overall in the national 2018 recruiting class.

With these three pickups, Oklahoma moved back up to No. 6 in the Rivals 2018 recruiting team rankings, and it appears the Sooners are well on their way to a second straight top-10 recruiting class.

The Sooners now have 23 commitments for their 2018 class, 18 of which are signed. The unsigned commitments, including Radley-Hiles and White, both of whom are expected to sign, are three-star wide receiver Treveon Johnson, four-star running back Tavion Thomas and three-star defensive back Jordan Austin.

So far, the 2018 OU recruiting class consists of one five-star prospect, 15 four-stars and 7 three-stars. By comparison, the nation’s top recruiting class at this time, Georgia, has the same number of commitments as the Sooners (6 five-stars, 13 four-stars and four three-stars).