Przybylo's Mailbag: Smallwood's potential

Bob Przybylo answers readers' questions about Oklahoma football and basketball recruiting in his mailbag every week. Got a question for Bob? Send it to his mailbag at bprzybyloespn@gmail.com.

Jonny in Ponca City, Okla., asks: Take out the four star commits, who is the commit you are most excited about at this point?

Bob Przybylo: My answer was the same in March when he wasn’t committed, and it hasn’t changed now. Ever since the first time I saw Jenks, Okla., wide receiver Jordan Smallwood last August, he has been incredibly high on my personal board.

Things never really materialized between Smallwood, a three-star receiver, and the Sooners during his junior season. And during the spring evaluation period, things still weren’t going great.

But Smallwood changed everything with a dynamite performance at OU’s camp in June. Later that week he was offered by receivers coach Jay Norvell and committed on the spot.

You know exactly what you’re getting with Smallwood. He’s a big, physical receiver that doesn’t drop anything. Seriously, anything. He doesn’t have incredible speed, but he can catch in traffic and is one of those kids whose dream has always been to play for the Sooners.

Barry in Phoenix asks: I like the work you do, but I’m a little offended with your whole “USC is better” line of thinking with recruiting. Why do you think the Trojans are that powerful?

Bob Przybylo: I don’t think it, Barry. The proof is in the rankings and the commitments. This has been an incredible month for USC recruiting. The Trojans have earned the No. 1 spot in the team rankings with the run they’ve been on.

As I said before, 14 of USC’s 16 commits have an OU offer. And as much as the Sooners have made their mark out west, you simply do not beat the Trojans right now. USC is the West coast. Programs like UCLA, Stanford, California and Oregon are trying to narrow the gap, but the Trojans stand tall. If you're an elite West Coast recruit, there is a strong chance USC is on your short list.

Contrast that with the the southeast. With powerhouses like Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, etc., no one school dominates the landscape.

USC has earned it with its winning tradition and ability to send players to the NFL. The great location, the list goes on and on. But as we're going to find out with this year's group, you can't get them all.

With USC down to two scholarships for the class, however, now will be the interesting time. Where are the recruits looking? Is it California, UCLA, Washington or Oregon? Or is this a chance for the Sooners to make an even bigger impression and land more quality recruits from California.

Things are already pretty intense for the Fresno (Calif.) Central East trio of defensive backs Johnny Johnson Jr., L.J. Moore and Hatari Byrd. And as time goes forward, the Sooners most likely will only intensify their focus on the threesome.

Greg in Oklahoma City asks: I like the poll on the forum about who is the biggest priority for the 2014 class. Who is it in your opinion?

Bob Przybylo: I’m going to qualify my answer. It’s always tough to gauge the realistic interest of out of state prospects so I’m going to keep this within Oklahoma.

A couple of months ago I thought it was running back Devon Thomas (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow) but now I believe it’s Oklahoma City Douglass defensive end Deondre Clark.

Clark is already 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds and has an OU offer. But he’s going to be a hot commodity with schools like Oklahoma State, LSU and Tennessee already among some of the programs that have offered him.

In my opinion, he is the equivalent of making sure OU gets Dallas Kimball defensive tackle Justin Manning in this class.

Manning has the connection to the Sooners with his brother, former OU defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger. For Clark, not only does he live less than 25 miles from campus but his cousin is former OU star Gerald McCoy.

It would be a major loss both in terms of perception of not keeping the in-state kids home and from a production standpoint on the field if he did not become a Sooner in 2014.