OU's recruiting 📈
As one might expect, Oklahoma's reloading efforts on defense are going quite well under Brent Venables.
✌🏽 Happy Friday, friends. Let’s ride.
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🏈 Tiger turned Sooner
Jaren Kanak doesn’t talk like most high-profile high school football prospects, and his situation is just as unique.
Kanak, a consensus four-star prospect and the top-ranked player from Kansas, is headed to Oklahoma. That’s no surprise for anyone who knows their way around OU’s student database, but the former Clemson commit made his flip public on Wednesday, announcing he’s joining Brent Venables in Norman.
SoonerScoop.com’s Josh McCuistion spoke with Kanak about the strange end to his recruitment, which involved Venables encouraging Kanak to stay true to his Clemson commitment or get his former boss, Dabo Swinney, to sign off on Kanak breaking the verbal he gave the Tigers back in the summer.
Kanak opted for the latter.
What this means: Reports concerning the death of OU football have been greatly exaggerated. The Sooners, once again, have a top-10 recruiting class with Kanak on board. They also have three blue-chip linebackers to bolster a room that loses a wealth of experience. Kanak is intriguing at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, according to 247Sports.com. That type of frame should give him enough versatility to find the field in a variety of positions, but he's expected to play linebacker. As McCuistion mentions in his article (linked above), Kanak has some work to do with new OU strength and conditioning coach Jerry Schmidt. If you read the article, you’ll love Kanak’s comments on connecting with Schmidt this offseason.
👀 Another QB?
A Casey Thompson homecoming might be in play for the Sooners.
The Athletic’s Nebraska beat writer, Mitch Sherman, reports the Texas quarterback has narrowed his top transfer destinations to five schools: Nebraska, Auburn, Indiana, Missouri and … Oklahoma.
As OU fans know well, things didn't go particularly well for Thompson in his first year as the Longhorns' starting quarterback. First, he didn't win the job in fall camp, losing to Hudson Card. Thompson took over for Card by the end of September and finished with 2,113 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 12 games.
How the Sooners would navigate their quarterback room would be interesting with Dillon Gabriel already set to join the team after announcing his transfer from Central Florida to OU on Monday. Both players have multiple years of eligibility and offer skill sets that would line up well in OU offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby’s system. An offseason quarterback derby would be fun, right? … Right?
Question of the day: If Thompson committed to Oklahoma and Caleb Williams departs, would you rather have Dillon Gabriel or Thompson as the Sooners’ Week 1 starting quarterback?
🗞 Need to know
Oklahoma landed a commitment from Hawaii defensive lineman Jonah Laulu on Thursday. The transfer recorded 33 tackles and four sacks during the 2021 season, both stats of which were career single-season bests for Laulu. (Read more at si.com)
OU safety Pat Fields recently announced he was headed to Stanford on a full academic scholarship to pursue a master's degree in management science and engineering. It was unclear if the Tulsa native’s football career was over or if he was strictly focused on his education. He was officially welcomed by Stanford football’s Twitter account, however, on Thursday. (Read more at oudaily.com)
Ralph Neely, an All-American offensive lineman that attended OU from 1961-64, died at the age of 78 this week. Neely went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys, winning two Super Bowls and earning four All-Pro selections. (Read more at oklahoman.com)
🕰 On this day
Twenty years ago today, Bob Stoops committed to staying with Oklahoma after it was reported Florida was in pursuit of the Gators’ former defensive coordinator. Here was the front page of The Oklahoman — not just the sports section, the entire newspaper — the day after.