Oklahoma football: Big recruiting gains could be coming OU’s way in next few weeks

Jul 13, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; A view of the team logo on the helmet of the Oklahoma Sooners during the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 13, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; A view of the team logo on the helmet of the Oklahoma Sooners during the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

We’re a little over a month out before the rigors of preseason training camp and preparations for the coming college football season kick into high gear. From now through the end of July may be one of the slowest news times in the college football calendar, but that’s not the case on the recruiting front, and Oklahoma football recruiting is hoping to fill that news void with several big announcements in the coming days.

Some fans have been critical of what seems like a slow start by head coach Brent Venables and his staff in securing 2024 commitments. Before this week, Oklahoma was sitting with six commitments and ranked 53rd in the 247Sports team recruiting class rankings for the next recruiting cycle and with a lot of ground to make up to remain competitive with the best teams in the game, let alone the SEC, the new conference the Sooners will become part of beginning in the 2024 season.

This past week, the Sooners added two more in four-star linebacker James Nesta out of North Carolina and wide receiver Dozie Ezukanma, a three-star prospect from Ft. Worth, Texas. Those two commits were OU’s first since late April and should be followed by several more over the next few weeks.

Sooner fans might remember that Oklahoma experienced an upsurge in 2023 recruiting commits in July a year ago. Those not coincidentally followed OU’s annual ChampU BBQ event. And a similar bump is expected this summer. Several of the prospects who attended this year’s ChampU BBQ held last weekend recently received recruiting projections favoring Oklahoma.

Four-star running back Caden Durham, three-star running back Xavier Robinson and four-star safety Mykel Patterson-McDonald have all received crystal-ball predictions for Oklahoma. That is big news in and of itself but could prove to be even more important because all are close friends with five-star OU defensive line target David Stone, who is from Oklahoma but currently is at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Stone is rated by 247Sports as the No. 2 DL and No. 5 prospect overall in the 2024 class nationally.

Robinson has disclosed that he will make his commitment known in a public announcement on June 28.

Oklahoma also is in line to land the nation’s top running back prospect for the 2024 cycle. On Wednesday recruiting analysts for both Rivals and On3 gave recruiting predictions for Oklahoma to land Taylor Tatum. A week ago, reports surfaced that Lincoln Riley and USC had the momentum on their side to land the most prized RB in the 2024 class. It appears now, however, that the ChampU BBQ and running backs coach DeMarco Murray made a huge impression on Tatum, who is from Longview, Texas.

If the Sooners are able to land all three RB targets (Tatum, Durham and Robinson), it not only would be a major recruiting coup but also create a very deep room of RB talent and set OU up at the important position group for the next three to four years.

It is important to note that Oklahoma’s momentum in the 2023 cycle didn’t really get rolling until around this time a year ago. By the time the dust finally settled after the two national signing days, the Sooners had settled into the No. 4 spot in the national recruiting class rankings.

Oklahoma is currently in the No. 43 spot in the 247Sports 2024 recruiting class rankings. On3 places the Sooners at No. 18, and Rivals ranks OU’s 2024 class 35th best currently.

The point is, it’s still early in the process, and also that Venables and his coaches prefer a much more deliberate process to ensure that those prospects who do commit to the Sooners have been carefully vetted and are truly committed in mind, body and heart that OU is the place they want to be.

Buckle up. The ride is just beginning.