OU marking its territory in familiar spots

When describing Oklahoma’s philosophy with recruiting the last couple of years, a new trend has emerged. The Sooners have been targeting recruits from Florida and California more than ever before.

The success of the “Cali Trio” (running back Brennan Clay, wide receiver Kenny Stills and safety Tony Jefferson) from the 2010 class has opened the doors to a more nationwide approach.

However, when you take a look at the ESPN Watch List for 2014 and the Sooners, OU is back to defending its familiar territory.

There’s no place like home and the Sooners have their targets set on the top prospects in Oklahoma and Texas.

All three names in the list from Oklahoma are top priorities for the Sooners. Running back Devon Thomas (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow) and Oklahoma City Douglass defensive end Deondre Clark have both already received offers.

Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe quarterback Justice Hansen has not received an offer, but he is high on OU’s board and has been a familiar face around campus and developed a solid relationship OU quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel.

In Texas, the Sooners have been even more aggressive. OU has offered a whopping 17 recruits from the Lone Star State in the list and is talking to several more prospects who could receive offers further on down the line.

The OU camp in June was a coming-out party for a couple of top receivers. Nobody really knew the names K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) or Nick Alexander (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) until the OU camp.

Within days of impressing the OU coaches, both had offers. Cannon’s early-season performances have certainly impressed as he has lived up to all the hype and then some.

The Sooners have paid the most attention toward the secondary as OU has offered nine potential defensive backs from Texas. Anchoring that group are names such as Beaumont (Texas) Ozen cornerback Tony Brown and Mansfield (Texas) Timberview teammates in cornerback Edward Paris and safety Brandon Simmons.

That’s not to say OU still isn’t looking for those top West Coast and Florida prospects. Two that stand out in the list are Las Vegas Bishop Gorman running back Nate Starks and Fresno (Calif.) Central East defensive back Michiah Quick.

Starks said he has been a fan of OU for a long time, and the Sooners have had plenty of success at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman with players such as Ryan Reynolds and Dallas Cowboys running back Demarco Murray.

Mike Stoops has been a frequent visitor to Fresno Central East. OU has the commit of safety Hatari Byrd from the school and was among the first schools to offer Quick.

Fresno Central East defensive backs coach Tony Perry believes Quick will be among the top five prospects in the nation. While that remains to be seen, Quick has been dynamic at receiver, cornerback and as a kick returner this season.

Quick is hopeful to accompany Byrd on Byrd’s official visit to OU next month when the Sooners take on Notre Dame. Fellow Fresno Central East defensive backs L.J. Moore and Johnny Johnson Jr. are also taking official visits to Norman that weekend.

Incredibly early in the process, OU has already offered 30 prospects in the list for 2014.