Going into the first day of the junior college signing period, Oklahoma knows it has one commit locked down. Punter Jed Barnett (Oakland, Calif./Laney CC) is not going anywhere.
But if the Sooners have their way, three more names are going to enter the fold. Two of them could come from the same juco, Trinity Valley in Athens, Texas.
As OU prepares to see which letters of intent come its way, here are some of the top junior college targets on OU’s board.
Jed Barnett: Again, no question about Barnett. He said he is expected to reach Norman Jan. 11 weekend and is going to live with friend and fellow kicker Michael Hunnicutt.
DT Toby Johnson (Hutchinson, Kan./Hutchinson CC): Johnson is ranked No. 4 in the ESPN JuCo 100 despite the fact he is currently recovering from a torn MCL and partially torn ACL.
He has made official visits to OU, Georgia and Missouri and has one set for Mississippi State in January. He feels like a strong lean toward the Bulldogs, but OU defensive tackles coach Jackie Shipp has not stopped trying to lure Johnson to the Sooners.
Johnson said he is not going to sign during this period and will wait until February before making his decision.
OT Josiah St. John (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley): A four-star recruit, St. John is ranked No. 6 in the ESPN JuCo 100. He made an official visit to OU earlier this season.
He also made unofficial visit to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State during the summer, but it feels like this might be a battle between OU and Kansas.
Yes, that Kansas. St. John took an official visit to KU earlier this month. Though the program hasn’t had much success, the Jayhawks are making a living off juco kids for their 2013 class. St. John would be the seventh ESPN JuCo 100 signee for KU if it happens.
The Jayhawks have already enticed No. 1-ranked overall prospect Marquel Combs (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College) to come to Lawrence.
TE Emmanuel Bibbs (Yuma, Ariz./Arizona Western): Bibbs sort of snuck on OU’s radar in the last month, but it’s clear he has become one of the top priorities for OU tight ends coach Bruce Kittle and OU coach Bob Stoops.
Bibbs, a three-star prospect ranked No. 39 in the ESPN JuCo 100, is committed to Iowa State and said there is no doubt in his mind he is signing Wednesday.
The question is where? OU has made up a lot of ground, and Bibbs admits program prestige is playing a role. Kittle and Stoops both made in-home visits with Bibbs and his parents.
OU has missed on a couple of top-notch juco tight ends. The Sooners are trying to make sure they’re not on the outside looking in once again.
DT Quincy Russell (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley): Shipp has been talking to Russell for a long time. No, really, a long time. Russell signed with Texas for its 2011 class, and Shipp was trying to get Russell back then.
He said earlier this week it is down to OU and Nebraska. The Huskers looked like a strong favorite heading into the last couple of weeks, but Shipp and Stoops have put in the work.
The coaches have visited Russell at Trinity Valley and also gone to San Antonio for visits with Russell’s parents.
Not the highest-ranked prospect at No. 51 in the ESPN JuCo 100, Russell might be the most important. If OU lands Russell, the defensive tackle dilemma sort of works itself out. OU has the commitment of three-star prospect Kerrick Huggins (Dallas/Skyline) and is in great position to land tackle Charles Walker (Garland, Texas/South Garland).
OT Desmond Harrison (San Pablo, Calif./Contra Costa College): Another prospect not signing this week, but it’s going to get interesting in a hurry. Harrison made an official visit to OU for Bedlam but has not stopped there.
He visited Texas two weeks ago and USC last week. His teammate and good friend Demetrius Cherry committed to Arizona State earlier this week. It’s a battle between the Sooners, Longhorns, Trojans and Sun Devils for Harrison.
Ranked No. 81 in the ESPN JuCo 100, Harrison is a three-star prospect.