Oklahoma football: Sooners sign 27 of 27 to 2024 class on early signing day

SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY
facebooktwitterreddit

It was a big day for Brent Venables and the Oklahoma football recruiting effort with the Sooners scoring a perfect 27 of 27 signings from the scholarship commitments in the 2024 class.

It was clearly a red-letter day insofar as the importance of the outcome -- signing another elite recruiting class -- but a relatively uneventful day in terms of any surprises or unfulfilled expectations.

Venables had expected to sign all 27 and that is indeed what he got. And unlike many years in the past, all 27 letters of intent were in hand before 12 noon on early signing day.

There was some concern when 26 of the 27 signees rolled in right away. The one that was still outstanding was that of Taylor Tatum, the No. 1 running back in the national class according to several of the major recruiting services. But then the word came down shortly after 11 a.m. that Taylor's LOI was officially in hand, completing the clean sweep.

There was no drama or heartbreak this year like the one surrounding OU freshman safety Peyton Bowen, who originally committed to Notre Dame, but surprised everyone on early signing day a year ago by flipping to Oregon, only to flip again to Oklahoma a day later. The Sooners now will have two Bowens on the roster as Peyton's younger brother, Eli, a defensive back like his brother, is a member of the OU 2024 class.

Three-star QB prospect Andy Bass, out of Heritage Hall High School in Oklahoma City is listed by the major recruiting services as a 28th Sooner commitment to the 2024 class. He is expected to sign at a later date as a preferred walk-on.

Venables said he is really excited about the group of players the Sooners are bringing in as members of the 2024 class. in his signing day press conference. The class is well balance with 14 offensive players and 13 on defense and players from 15 different states, showing the national reach of the OU recruiting program.

The largest concentration of 2024 signees, as usual, come from Texas (7) and Oklahoma (5). The Sooners under Venables have made a special effort to improve their recruitment in the home state of Oklahoma. Three of the four 2024 signees from the state rank in the top 10 of prospects from the Sooner State, including edge rusher Danny Okoye, the No. 1 overall recruit in the state. RB Xavier Robinson is the MaxPreps Oklahoma High School Player of the Year.

"Really feel good about the lines of scrimmage," Venables said in his signing day press conference on Wednesday. The Sooners' 2024 class includes five offensive and five defensive lineman. The defensive line signees include one five-star recruit (David Stone) and four rated as four-stars. So you can see the emphasis Venables and Co. have placed on building an SEC-caliber D-line.

Two members of the 2024 class -- RB Taylor Tatum and LB James Nesta -- plan to play two sports at Oklahoma. In addition to football. Both plan to play baseball for head coach Skip Johnson.

"I love the speed of this class, and I love the physicality, both sides of the ball"

OU head coach Brent Venables

Along with 27 incoming recruits out of the high school ranks, the Sooners have earned five commitments from the transfer portal, and Venables said that's half of the number of transfers they expect to bring in for the 2024 roster.

"We'll have upwards of 10 transfers," he said. "A year ago in January, I think we signed 42 or 43 new scholarship players. I think we'll be just short of that moving forward."

The Oklahoma 2024 signing class includes five who are ranked in the ESPN Top 100 (No. 4 DL David Stone, No. 41 RB Taylor Tatum, No. 56 TE Davon Mitchell, No. 83 WR Zion Kearney No. 96 DE Nigel Smith) and four in the Rivals Top 100 (No. 4 DL Stone, No. 29 OL Eddy Pierre-Louis, No. 51 RB Tatum and No. 99 DE Smith).

As of early signing day, the Oklahoma 2024 class ranks No. 6 in the Rivals class rankings, No. 8 in the 247Sports class rankings and No. 7 in the ESPN team rankings.

Venables knows how important it will be to continue to attract elite talent and continue to recruit at the highest levels of college football in order to compete in the SEC next season and into the future at the historic level of success that Oklahoma football and its fans have become accustomed to.