Trotter's Mailbag: Talent not on decline

Jake Trotter answers readers' questions about Oklahoma football in his mailbag every Friday. Got a question for Jake? Submit it here.

Robert in West Columbia, Texas, writes: It seems OU has fallen off in the talent on the defensive side of the ball, what will it take to rebound?

Jake Trotter: OU had an inconstant season defensively, but not because of a lack of talent. Ronnell Lewis could be a first-round pick. Jamell Fleming and Frank Alexander were all-conference players. The problem last season was execution. Too many times the defense committed mental errors that resulted in big plays. When the defense was on point, they were dominant (Florida State, Texas, Kansas State). But there is one area where the talent has fallen off: defensive tackle. The Sooners didn’t have a Gerald McCoy or Tommie Harris last season. They probably won’t have one next year, either, though Jordan Phillips is an intriguing prospect because of his athleticism. Maybe he can be a difference-maker up front, which would be a huge asset to the entire defense.

Zach in Claremore, Okla., writes: How do you feel about our chances with athlete Davonte Neal with Tim Kish trying to bring him in?

Jake Trotter: It’s amazing that OU has been able to get in on Neal this late in the process, with all the big-time schools that have been recruiting him for months. But clearly Kish has developed a strong rapport with Neal. At the moment, the chances of the Sooners actually landing him are probably slim. But there might be reason to have cautious optimism if Kish could make Neal give OU a hard look and take an official visit.

Brandon in Texarkana, Texas, writes: What’s the latest with Trey Metoyer? Has he made it to the Oklahoma campus yet? And when he plays next year, would he be considered a freshman or sophomore, since he went to Hargrave last semester.

Jake Trotter: Trey’s dad actually told me Thursday that Trey has been cleared by the NCAA clearinghouse and that he will be on campus before the end of the weekend. Metoyer will be a freshman, since prep school doesn’t count against a player’s FBS eligibility.

Mike in Amarillo, Texas, writes: It seems to me OU has lost its ability to land the top recruits. They still land good quality players and pretty solid classes, but instead of Top 5 they are struggling to stay Top 10. Is the problem with recruiting on the coaches or is it just the recruits themselves?

Jake Trotter:I think you’re being a little harsh. OU had a Top 5 class just two years ago. A class that has already produced numerous starters, including Tony Jefferson, Corey Nelson and Kenny Stills. Recruiting the upper-echelon prospects to Norman isn’t easy. As Bob Stoops says, Oklahoma doesn’t have any beaches to recruit. The Sooners still manage to have Top 10 classes every year. Even if they don’t always land the Adrian Peterson of every class.