Every year it's said: Banquet weekend is important for Oklahoma. It would get repetitive if it weren’t for the fact it is so true.
The 2012 edition is no different, as the Sooners are welcoming several top prospects, none ranked higher than ESPN’s No. 1 wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee).
In 2011, OU hosted Denton (Texas) Ryan’s Mario Edwards, ESPN’s No. 1-ranked recruit. Edwards riled up a lot of OU fans following the visit when, after initially saying he liked it, he added that he didn’t feel the vibe in Norman, Okla., and didn’t feel the team chemistry.
Chemistry might have been a problem for the 2011 group, but this year’s group of Sooners has exhibited solidarity from the beginning, which should make the banquet weekend coming up a special atmosphere for recruits.
Here are five of the top visitors for OU’s banquet weekend:
ATH Adrian Baker (Hollywood, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna), 6-1, 165, No. 198 in ESPN 300, Florida State commit
Baker has been eying this trip for a long time and finally gets to make it. OU defensive backs coach Mike Stoops has put on a full-court press with Baker in hopes of getting him to flip his commitment. It’s unlikely the Sooners will get Baker’s pledge this weekend, but the seed has been planted. All Baker and his grandmother have been waiting for is a chance to see the campus.
OT Nico Falah (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), 6-4, 267, No. 224 in ESPN 300, USC commit
It’s going to take a lot to convince Falah that Norman is better than Los Angeles. But if there’s one spot where OU is really looking for help it is at offensive tackle. It’s debatable whether this is just a courtesy visit for Falah. For OU, it is anything but that. The Sooners are going to make as strong a push as possible to try to turn Falah into a Sooner. It might not work, but it won’t be because of a lack of effort.
RB Keith Ford (Cypress, Texas/Ranch), 5-10, 200, No. 29 in ESPN 150, OU commit
Ford is OU’s top-ranked commit. He has never shown one sign of wavering from his pledge to the Sooners. He made an unofficial visit to OU this season and his relationship with OU running backs coach Cale Gundy gets stronger with each conversation. With all that said, this is a big weekend for OU to show Ford how much the Sooners want him and to erase any doubts.
QB Cody Thomas (Colleyville, Texas/Heritage), 6-5, 220, No. 248 in ESPN 300, OU commit
Another one of OU's top-ranked commits, Thomas is important because he has sort of become the class representative. Thomas and defensive end Matt Dimon (Katy, Texas/Katy) are vocal OU supporters on Twitter and have been the ones who are quick to welcome new commits to the OU family. Thomas will most likely play an instrumental role in the recruitment of Treadwell.
WR Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee), 6-3, 195, No. 20 in ESPN 150, uncommitted
And then there’s Treadwell. This is the third time he has hoped to see the campus, but nothing should prevent this visit from happening. OU has essentially stopped searching for more wide receivers as coach Jay Norvell is gunning for Treadwell. Norvell’s recruiting history, combined with what should be a great atmosphere, combined with the Chicago influence of freshman running back David Smith means OU should definitely put itself further into the mix for the nation's No. 1 receiver.