Jake Trotter answers readers’ questions about Oklahoma football in his mailbag every Friday. Got a question for Jake? Submit it here.
Brandon in Texarkana, Texas, writes: In the past 5 years OU has gone 52-16 with three conference titles, while Texas has gone 48-17 with a much weaker out-of-conference schedule, and one conference title. While we do bring in quality and very talented players, and I know you can’t base a recruit purely on what they are ranked, Texas has really dominated Big 12 recruiting, with the exception of 2008. Texas has 53 players in the NFL, while OU has 31. Do you think this is a case of Texas not maximizing talent, or OU just doing more and developing their players at a better rate?
Jake Trotter: Brandon, to your first point, it’s always easier to recruit out of your own backyard. If all the players in Texas were in Oklahoma, you’d seen the Sooners dominate the recruiting rankings the way the Longhorns have. To your second point, I don’t think there’s any question OU has done a better job than Texas of maximizing its talent, at least going back to the advent of the Mack Brown/Bob Stoops eras. OU has won a lot of games with players that Texas didn’t want, like Derrick Strait and Brandon Everage, who grew up in the Austin area.
Blake in Bloomington, Ind., writes: Why is it that Jamell Fleming isn't rated as a higher NFL prospect? Throughout the past season and then with the Senior Bowl and the combine I've heard nothing but good or great things about him. I guess I just don't understand why he isn't a solid second-rounder or so.
Jake Trotter: I think it’s very possible that Fleming does go in the second round. He has really helped himself the last few months, going back to his dominating performance covering Marvin McNutt in the Insight Bowl. As good as Fleming was last season, LSU’s Morris Claiborne and Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick – this draft’s elite cornerbacks – were better. But Fleming is right there among the second tier.
Michael in Long Beach, Calif., writes: Hi Jake. In your opinion what is one area/position that needs to exceed expectations for OU to go from top 10 to national championship.
Jake Trotter: What about this one – quarterback. We know Landry Jones will be good. But for OU to win a national championship he needs to be better than good. Under Stoops, the Sooners have never advanced to the national championship game without elite quarterback play (Josh Heupel in ’00, Jason White in ’03. ’04 and Sam Bradford in ’08). I don’t see next season being any different. Jones has to exceed expectations for the Sooners to reach another level.