Oklahoma football Red-White Spring Game already paying dividends on recruiting trail


More than 100 Oklahoma football recruiting targets and prospects were on hand over the weekend for the annual OU Red-White Spring Game. And it has already started to pay off.

Before the weekend was over, the Sooners had landed SMU offensive line transfer Branson Hickman along with 2027 defensive lineman Zane Rowe. Oklahoma also picked up several predictions for 2025 cornerback Courtland Guillory out of Spring, Texas, near Houston.

Concerns surrounding the offensive line with the departure of four starters from last season have been an issue this offseason, and the injury this spring to Troy Everett, who was slotted in at the center position, added to that concern. Joshua Bates has been moved to center in place of Everett and played center in the Spring Game on Saturday. The pickup of Hickman over the weekend provides depth to the position.

Hickman played the last four seasons at SMU and started the last 33 games. That includes 12 in 2022 and all 14 this past season. The 6-foot, 3-inch, 294-pound offensive lineman was on the preseason watch list last season for the Rimington Trophy, which recognizes the most outstanding center in college football and was a second-team All-American Athletic Conference selection in 2023. preseason watch list last season.

Head coach Brent Venables and veteran offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh know how important a big, strong and physical offensive line will be with Oklahoma moving to the SEC next season, and the addition of Hickman is another step in that direction.

The Sooners' emphasis on recruiting elite defensive talent is further illustrated with the multiple predictions that have tilted the needle in OU's favor for landing Guillory, rated by 247Sports as a four-star cornerback prospect. He is ranked by the 247Sports Composite as the No. 31 cornerback in the 2025 class.

Guillory has at least four crystal-ball projections for Oklahoma, including one from 247Sports Texas Longhorns' recruiting analyst Jordan Scruggs. The 2025 defensive prospect was among the recruits attending the Oklahoma Spring game this past weekend. He also has offers from Texas, Texas A&M, TCU and Tennessee, but the Sooners appear to be in the lead at present.

Oklahoma also has multiple predictions to win out in the recruiting battle for five-star 2025 safety prospect Jonah Williams from Galveston, Texas.

Rowe, who announced his early commitment on Sunday via social media, likely will play defensive end at OU, is Oklahoma's first commitment in the 2027 class. The 6-foot, 4-inch 230-pound defensive line prospect reportedly holds as many as 25 offers, with Georgia and Texas considered to be the strongest contenders along with the Sooners.

Rowe is one of several recruits Oklahoma has received commitments from in recent years out of Denton Guyer High School in Texas (QBs Jackson Arnold and 2025 commit Kevin Sperry along with DBs Peyton Bowen and younger brother Eli Bowen).