July 2, 2009

The Mailbag provides Sooner answers

The Mailbag is a SoonerScoop.com feature for our fans to get questions that may require a little more depth and clarity of explanation directly from assistant editor Josh McCuistion. Each Monday and Tuesday we'll field questions for the mailbag and get you all answers on Thursday.

This week's mailbag has a very strong look at the numbers and how Oklahoma's recruiting may break down after three commitments have come in the last seven days.

It seems like every two to three years Oklahoma gets dangerously thin on the offensive line.

With the line Oklahoma had the last two years why is Oklahoma looking at little depth again? I know that the lines are the hardest to recruit and keep on campus. What would you suggest that Oklahoma does to ease these peaks and valleys on the offensive line from year to year?

Oklahoma has Tyrus Thompson, Adam Shead and Bronson Irwin and Austin Woods, who do you think OU closes out with?

Does Oklahoma really have a chance with Seantrel Henderson? I would hate for these weapons Oklahoma is getting to be handcuffed by the line.

- BigCrimsonTX

I think the last two years are part of the reason that Oklahoma is so thin at offensive line, it's easy for guys to quit when they aren't playing and it's hard for young guys to see the type of playing time available to them if a group of five is returning for the coming years.

You'd think that's not the case but too often direct starting is the most obvious to most guys, which I think is a big part of why Oklahoma's line recruiting is going so well this season.

Right now it looks very much like Daryl Williams could be part of the class but with the situation emerging with two Rivals100 offensive tackles, Nick Demien and Seantrel Henderson I'm not sure where that situation will stand, how the numbers play out with offensive tackle recruiting is going to be awfully interesting over the next three or four months.

And I expect Henderson to visit Oklahoma so I'm not sure what more of a chance they could get for a guy who seems to be very open to all suitors. I wouldn't pick Oklahoma at this point but as has always been Oklahoma's mantra 'once you get them on campus, anything can happen.'

I've always wondered about the story of Tavaris Jeffries. It seemed, in between waiting on the likes of Terry Hawthorne, Reuben Randle, and various other highly-rated prospects last year, we were bound to get a commitment from somebody. Well it turns out we did but it was never a guy anyone spoke about. Tavaris Jeffries, some two-star from a Mississippi junior college with no Rivals film or mention in the database. It was really a strange commitment in my opinion.

So I'm just curious about how he got to where he was. Did Jeffries play football in high school or did he start late? Could he not make the grades? Just another case of a kid falling through the cracks? How did Jeffries end up at Oklahoma?


He really is a guy that I don't even feel that I know the situation all that well, I think guys in my line of work LOVE to talk about a diamond in the rough but he truly embodies it.

I know that what football he did play in high school brought him a few accolades but hardly anything that sold anyone on him being a major division-one offensive line. Even when he arrived at Coahoma I'm not sure that their head coach, Freeman Horton, knew what he had on his hands. On the day he committed Horton told me that it was another player that initially caught Oklahoma's eye.

However, when they saw Jeffries on film I'm assuming they saw the same things I did when SoonerSports.com put up some film on National Signing Day. Jeffries has good feet, is physical and has so much distance to cover before he is a finished product.

A few years from now this may be a guy James Patton gets a lot of credit for finding, offering, and pursuing.

I'm confused by the number of scholarships that you guys say we will end up sending out this year. I think since March, the number has been around 25.

Since that time. Alex Williams, Jason Hannan and Justin Johnson have left the team and the 2009 kid didn't qualify.

Add to that, the possibilities of underclassman - Demarco Murray, Sam Bradford, Gerald McCoy, Dominique Franks and Travis Lewis possibly leaving early.

Wouldn't that number be more around 29-30 now or am I missing something?

- jvancuren

Well the thing you have to consider is that when we were initially giving that number of roughly 25 -in full disclosure I think I started at 23-24- there was nowhere near the amount of space to accommodate 25 signings.

Some of those guys were absolutely not surprising departures, Williams was a guy that had been discussed before and I think the writing was on the wall when Bumpus was passed by just about every young defensive end who was brought in with him and since he signed in 2007.

With that in mind, and the reality that attrition is just part of this program with it's high-level of recruiting and ferocious summer workouts, you have to expect there are going to be some guys that depart each spring and summer.

Add in that more and more kids are coming in at mid-term which allows them to be counted to the prior class and you get a lot more flexibility in the numbers than seems apparent early on in a class' recruitment.

So you simply go a bit above the numbers that appear to be there.

All this said, if the class hit 26 or 27 it certainly wouldn't surprise anyone.

Is Blake Bell going to be invited to the elite 11 camp? Is his ranking going up or down in your opinion?

- sooner4020

Yes he has been invited and will take part.

I think after his OU camp performance it really solidified a slide that he was suffering from his last performance, that he would admit, was lackluster.

Also he'll have a chance as Harry Dunne would say 'to go and totally redeem himself!' with his performance at the Elite 11 as Rivals.com's best and brightest will be out there and give him a chance to vault back up in the rankings.

The bottom line is Bell's film is fantastic but when people have had a chance to see him live his mechanics were inconsistent and it led to a lot of poorly thrown balls. That may not seem to matter but to Oklahoma fans it should matter all the moor, a ball with bad spin in Oklahoma's wind is severely magnified.

It's something I thought he addressed prior to Oklahoma's camp and it really showed as he was great throughout the day he was on campus. If he can be that good again I have no doubt he can vault himself back up in the rankings.

How have the new arrivals looked so far since getting to campus? More specifically, Jaz Reynolds and Cameron Kenney?

- joshwahq

Of course Carey is a better to address the team stuff but early reports on both Kenney and Reynolds are really strong.

They've both tested well and reportedly have impressed some of the older guys but again Carey could bring you much more depth in this answer.

Obviously Oklahoma has taken a few reaches in the past few years that certainly haven't panned out. Usually those guys pick up their offers extremely late in the process though. However, my question is who do you think is the biggest reach so far in the 2010 class and why?

- JWSooner07

You hate to label any kid as a reach and I should clarify that the guy I'm going to list is simply due to the fact that there is massive talent at his position this year.

At this point in time I think Joe Powell is the guy that there are some existing questions about. He isn't the biggest guy, he isn't the fastest guy but after watching him at the TCU NIKE camp there isn't much doubt that he can make plays and gets the absolutely most out of his ability.

It's a tough thing to say about a kid but to be put on the spot it's my answer at this point. I do plan to see him this fall though so that may provide me with a different perspective.

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