Oklahoma football: Sooners come out big winners on early signing day

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 20: Head coach Lincoln Riley of the Oklahoma Sooners leads his team against the TCU Horned Frogs in the fourth quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 20, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 20: Head coach Lincoln Riley of the Oklahoma Sooners leads his team against the TCU Horned Frogs in the fourth quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 20, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

It’s two out of two for Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley: Two top-10 recruiting classes in as many seasons as the Sooners’ head coach.

A couple of things have become clear through the first two national early signing days:

1) Most recruits (around 70 percent of all potential Division I college scholarship players) are going to sign early now.

2) Oklahoma is a force to be reckoned with.

The Sooners signed every major verbal commitment and added a trio of signing day surprises to finish No. 5 in the Rivals rankings after a crazy 24-hour period.

“I don’t know in all the years of recruiting… that we’ve ever had so many things go in our favor,” Lincoln Riley told the Daily Oklahoman in a press conference Wednesday evening.

No loose ends

First and foremost, the Sooners were able to wrap up all current business by signing all 19 verbal committments.

For a full rundown of the 2019 signing class, click the link below.

Related Story. Oklahoma football: Previewing early signing day. light

Signing day surprises

The Sooners were the talk of the town early and often throughout the day, winning an early recruiting battle on national television when high-profile safety Jeremiah Criddell announced he had signed with Oklahoma on national television. Criddell had previously been committed to Oregon, but chose Oklahoma late thanks to a hefty pitch from Riley. Criddell adds much-needed firepower to the safety position, which has been thin this year and is one of only two spots on defense with a senior in the two-deep roster at this time.

Later in the day it was defensive lineman Marcus Stripling spurning Texas A&M to sign with the Sooners. Stripling is a candidate to play early and often with a pass-rushing skillset the Sooners have been in sore need of this year.

Oklahoma wasn’t done yet, though. After winning a pair of head-to-head battles against fellow blueblood programs, Riley managed to poach a recruit from the Hermanator himself with the surprise flip of Ty DeArman from Arlington Bowie at his signing day ceremony. DeArman had been a big part of Herm Edwards’ first recruiting class at Arizona State all the way up until the last minute when he was wooed by Riley and his staff. The 6-foot-, 190-pound safety is a three-star recruit according to both Rivals and 247 sports. The two-way player will likely settle in on defense where he has a chance to (along with Criddell) fill a big need at safety.

Riley’s run

This trio of defensive additions would be exciting in any recruiting cycle, especially for a team like Oklahoma with plenty of needs on that side of the ball. What makes these particular three extra exceptional is the fact it was done without a long-term defensive coordinator in place for the Sooners.

Lincoln Riley not only kept a supurb defensive class intact after parting ways with Mike Stoops in the middle of the season, he managed to get three high-profile players to pick his team on signing day.

It not only shows Riley’s ability as a recruiter, but also Oklahoma’s rising prowess as a brand on the college football landscape.

“I think they believe in us as a staff,” Riley told the Dallas Morning News. “Guys believe in this program when they’re able to get here and see it with their own eyes. They see where we’re at, which is a great place right now. But I think they also feel, like everybody else in this building, strong about where we’re going.”

Social media splash

The Sooners recruiting team once again stole the show on social media with personalized videos for all 22 signees.

The videos were the talk of the town among college football media, future recruiting targets and of course the players themselves.

Riley’s reaction video to Criddell’s signing also went viral, showing the coach’s passion and enthusiasm for recruiting and the Sooners’ future. Tell me this guy is interested in going to the NFL anytime soon.


But wait…. There’s more!

The Sooners have at least three spots (possibly more depending on early NFL draft declarations and transfers) left open in this year’s class. It isn’t 100 percent clear whether they will fill all 25 scholarships, but Riley made it clear there were at least a couple more surprises coming in the near future.

First, he tweeted out the infamous eyeball emoji after it appeared all current commitments were signed Wednesday evening. These ones complete with an exclamation point at the end.

He then continued to tease Sooner fans and media at the press conference later with a cryptic message that there could be more to come for this class.

“We’ve got a few more still out there,” Riley told the Dallas Morning News. “We’ll have a few more surprises for everybody.”

Next. Oklahoma football: Numbers to know before CFP battle with No. 1 Bama. dark

Five-star receiver Jadon Haselwood was one of the big names circulating on the rumor mill for Oklahoma all day Tuesday, but as Riley proved on signing day, we can expect the unexpected when to Oklahoma recruiting in the future.