Each Week SoonerNation recruiting writers Bob Przybylo and Brandon Chatmon will faceoff on one issue regarding Oklahoma recruiting.
This week’s question: In which state should OU consider most important in its recruiting efforts: Florida or California?
Bob Przybylo: OU shouldn’t stray away from Florida, but it’s clear the money is in California right now for the Sooners. Or at least perception is, anyway.
OU is rolling in California because of the "Cali Trio" of Brennan Clay, Kenny Stills and Tony Jefferson. You add in somebody like Damien Williams, a native of San Diego and things look even better for OU’s prospects in landing Cali kids.
Beyond the on-the-field success of those kids, it’s the coaching connections. This question might have been harder to answer last season with Brent Venables and Willie Martinez as two of the defensive coaches.
This season, though, it’s clear it’s California because of the connections Mike Stoops and Tim Kish made in the area during their time at Arizona. The Stoops connection is a huge reason why ESPN 300 safety Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Calif./Central East) is headed to Norman. OU is also among the final schools for three-star safety Tyler Foreman (Encino, Calif./Crespi Carmelite).
It’s possible OU can snatch SEC talent away from Florida, but it’s a more difficult task because of how many schools in the area look to Florida for their recruiting class.
Out west, USC has still stamped itself as the No. 1 school. But after that, the battles are waged and there are no favorites between Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, California and Washington. And slowly but surely, OU is being added in that mix.
Brandon Chatmon: My vote goes to Florida where there are so many talented players. And even though the area is thoroughly recruited by SEC schools, the Sooners still have the ability to pull some recruiting gems out of the Sunshine State.
Sooners’ true freshmen Ty Darlington, Eric Striker and Gary Simon are just three examples of the available talent in the area. All three players played their way out of a redshirt season during fall camp.
Yet, those are recent and local examples. Several of college football’s current standouts from Florida shunned the SEC to play elsewhere.
Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix, who terrorized the Sooners last weekend, is from Jacksonville, Fla. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who has led the Cardinals to a 8-0 record, is from Miami, Fla. Ohio State cornerback Travis Howard, who is playing at an all-conference level for the undefeated Buckeyes, is from Miami, Fla.
There are quality players to be had deep in SEC country. And there’s no reason the Sooners can’t swoop in and land some future stars of their own.