Last year was considered a down year for OU’s home game Thanksgiving weekend. It was the coldest game of the season. It was against Iowa State. Not much was expected.
But even that weekend provided some fireworks. Eventual defensive end signee Michael Onuoha was on an unofficial visit. ESPN 150 running back Keith Ford (Cypress, Texas/Ranch) was there, as was ESPN 150 defensive tackle Justin Manning (Dallas/Kimball).
But this year's Thanksgiving weekend game is Bedlam, with rival Oklahoma State coming to town. And there are plenty of top-ranked recruits making the trip. Here are five OU fans should keep tabs on:
DT Maquedius Bain (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School, 6-foot-5, 285 pounds)
Bain has said he has felt for a while like OU might be his school. He knew in his heart he would visit the campus before making a college decision. That visit is this weekend.
Bain and OU feel like a perfect fit. The Sooners desperately need help at defensive tackle and Bain would be exactly what OU is looking for. He originally planned a visit in September, but there were still questions with his academic standing.
With those questions gone, this is a big opportunity for the Sooners to make a huge impression on Bain. He visited Marshall earlier this month and has a planned trip to LSU in December. Bain said those are his top three choices.
LB Jordan Evans (Norman, Okla./North, 6-3, 205)
Following back-to-back brilliant performances in high school playoff games, Evans has to start to wonder what he can do to get an offer from the Sooners. Evans, though, has never been one to worry about his recruitment and has been focused on his senior season the whole time.
It’s all coming full circle for Evans. The first OU game he attended as a recruit was last year’s Thanksgiving game. He has been to every OU home game this season and has been in constant contact with OU linebackers coach Tim Kish.
He sort of came out of nowhere in the summer, but he has put himself on the map with his stellar play as a senior and has gone from fringe OU recruit to one of the top names on the board. His father, Scott, played for the Sooners.
CB Lamar Robbins (Miami/Southridge, 6-2, 175)
Since August, Robbins has made it clear he would like to commit to the Sooners. The hiccup to everything has been he said he would never commit until he saw the campus.
After a failed attempt last month, Robbins is once again going to try to see OU for the first time this weekend. With his team not in the playoffs, it will allow Robbins the full weekend to experience what he needs to experience before making his decision.
Robbins has made official visits to Purdue and West Virginia and said those are his top three schools. If OU fans are looking for a commitment possibility, it’s Robbins.
DT Quincy Russell (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley CC, 6-4, 308)
It would be a nice coincidence for OU fans if the Sooners could snag Russell. He originally signed with Texas out of high school, and Russell has been high on OU defensive tackles coach Jackie Shipp’s list since Russell’s time in high school.
It feels like Nebraska is in the lead for Russell, so OU has some ground to make up. Russell said he has appreciated how Shipp has been talking to him about non-football stuff during his recruitment. He said he hopes to feel that connection with all the OU coaches this weekend.
2014 RB Devon Thomas (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow, 5-11, 190)
Thomas, an ESPN Watch List running back, committed to OU and running backs coach Cale Gundy via Twitter last weekend.
Well, Thomas wants to make it more official this weekend. He said he is going to arrive at Bedlam extra early to tell OU coach Bob Stoops and Gundy in person how much he wants to be a Sooner.
With so many top 2014 in-state names expected to be on hand, it will be interesting to see if any of them follow Thomas’ lead if the atmosphere is just that good. The Sooners have done a great job of attacking the in-state recruits hard for 2014.
The 2014 Oklahoma high school class, in general, is looking to be more highly touted than the 2013 one, although OU already has five in-state commits for 2013.