Oklahoma football: Meet some of the Sooner newcomers for next season

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 23: Safety Chanse Sylvie #28 of the Oklahoma Sooners runs onto the field for a game against the TCU Horned Frogs on November 23, 2019 at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. OU held on to win 28-24. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 23: Safety Chanse Sylvie #28 of the Oklahoma Sooners runs onto the field for a game against the TCU Horned Frogs on November 23, 2019 at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. OU held on to win 28-24. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma football early signings for 2022 grew by one more, to 14, on Thursday.

Four-star tight end Kaden Helms signed his Letter of Intent one day after the beginning of the early signing period because his school in Bellevue, Nebraska, was closed on Wednesday because of high-wind warnings. Helms had been committed to Oklahoma since July.

New head coach Brent Venables indicated there would be more additions between now and Feb. 2, the more traditional of the college football National Signing Days. In-state, four-star defensive back Gentry Williams, from Tulsa, remains committed to Oklahoma but said he will not sign until February.

The Sooners are also heavily pursuing four-star offensive line prospect Devon Campbell, who has narrowed his choices to Texas and Oklahoma, but has said he will wait until February to announce his final choice. Campbell appears to be leaning toward Texas, but OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh has a strong record of getting the players he wants. Perhaps he can tilt the table OU’s way on this one.


Oklahoma is also working hard to land four-star running back Jovontae Barnes out of Las Vegas. OU running backs coach and former Sooner DeMarco Murray has built a good relationship with the young running-back prospect.

The Sooners lost 2022 five-star RB Raleek Brown, who had originally committed to OU, but decommitted following the Lincoln Riley departure and ultimately decided to stay home in California and play for Riley at USC. As a result, Venables and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby would like to pick up another running back in the 2022 class.

Venables also said on Wednesday that Oklahoma would be actively monitoring the transfer portal to fill other roster needs for the 2022 season. The Sooners have done well in recent seasons bringing in players via the transfer portal.

To help acquaint Sooner fans with some of the newcomers they will be seeing in Oklahoma uniforms next fall and for the next couple years, here is some brief background, starting with the eight offensive recruits who signed LOI’s on Wednesday and today:

RB Gavin Sawchuk

Sawchuk has been committed to Oklahoma since June of this year. The 5-foot, 10-inch, 185-pound RB from Littleton, Colorado, is the first player signed by OU from that state since 2005. He rushed for 1,239 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior at Valor Christian High School and 2,004 yards and 28 touchdowns this past season as a senior. Sawchuk is from the same high school that produced Christian McCaffrey of the NFL Carolina Panthers.

QB Nick Evers

Evers, from Flower Mound, Texas, is rated the No. 8 pocket passer in the 2022 class and the No. 134 player overall. Listed at 6-foot, 3 inches, Evers originally committed to Florida, but announced his decommitment early last week following the firing of Dan Mullen and the hiring of Billy Napier as head coach.

The timing of Evers’ availability was perfect for Brent Venables and new OU offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby to pounce, and they were able to convince the young QB to come to Oklahoma. Spencer Rattler’s decision to transfer left the Sooners with just one other scholarship QB (Michah Bowens) besides starter Caleb Williams.

Evers takes private coaching from Kevin Murray, the father of former OU star Kyler Murray.

WR Jayden Gibson

Like QB Evers, Jayden Gibson was originally committed to Florida, but decommitted following the Gator coaching change. He was a close friend of Evers, and Brent Venables was hopeful if could land Evers that would be enough to persuade the talented 6-foot, 5-inch WR from Winter Garden, Florida, to follow. And that’s what happened. Gibson caught 88 passes for 1,601 yards and 22 touchdowns over the last two seasons.

Gibson, a four-star prospect, is rated as the 25th best WR in the 2022 class and No. 149 overall. He is one of just two WRs in the Sooners’ 2022 class so far.

WR Nicholas Anderson

Anderson is another wide receiver with length, at 6-foot, 3 inches. He is the brother of former Oklahoma RB Rodney Anderson. The younger Anderson was originally committed to Oregon before flipping to Oklahoma. He is rated four stars by 247Sports and is ranked 40th among wide receivers in the 2022 class. He helped lead his high school in Katy, Texas, to the 6A, Division II state championship his junior year.

OL Jake Taylor

Taylor is from the same high school in Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) that produced former OU star (2007-10) and now RB coach DeMarco Murray. Taylor was in attendance at OU’s annual ChampU BBQ this past summer and committed right after that. Rated as the No, 16 offensive tackle in the 2022 class, according to 247Sports, Taylor chose Oklahoma over offers from Alabama and Notre Dame.

OL Jacob Sexton

A homegrown product from the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, Sexton grew up in Oklahoma but was a Texas fan. The 6-foot, 5-inch, 285-pound offensive lineman had offers from Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M among others, but Oklahoma won out in his recruitment. He is ranked as the No. 18 offensive tackle in the national class. Sexton committed to OU in July, and was the first OU recruit to confirm his commitment following the news that Lincoln Riley was leaving for USC.

TE Jason Llewellyn

Llewellyn has been committed to the Sooners since February 2021. The 6-foot, 5-inch, 240-pound, three-star tight end hails from Aledo, Texas. He was the first verbal commitment obtained by OU assistant Joe Jon Finley, who himself played tight end at Oklahoma (2004-07). As a senior this past season, Llewellyn caught 30 passes for 452 yards and seven touchdowns.

TE Kaden Helms

Helms has been committed to Oklahoma since mid-July. He is rated as four stars and is the No. 15 tight end in the 2022 class, according to 247Sports. He chose OU offer offers from Miami, Arizona State, Auburn, Florida State, North Carolina and Nebraska. He is from Bellevue, Nebraska, and is the first player from that state to commit to the Sooners since 2002. As a senior this past season, Helms caught 51 passes for 944 yards and 11 touchdowns.