Call it a sign of the times. At last weekend’s Nike Football Training Camp event in Irving, Texas, there were a lot of recruits interested in Oklahoma but not necessarily that many prospects that have offers from the Sooners.
Sunday marks the second NFTC event, this time at Cerritos College in Los Angeles. And though it is 1,350 miles to go from Norman, Okla., to Los Angeles, this weekend arguably brings more impact when it comes to the OU recruiting scene.
Here are some prospects to watch:
DB Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga): At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Goodman fits the size OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops looks for in his defensive backs. The Sooners entered the game early for Goodman, but it’s an uphill climb.
DB Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga): Goodman’s teammate, OU also has worked fast on Hawkins, but it doesn’t look like it will matter. Hawkins is expected to announce his commitment to either USC or Stanford following the camp.
QB Kelly Hilinski (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame): Hilinski is still realistically involved in OU’s hunt for a 2013 quarterback and has great size at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds. He recently picked up an Arkansas offer, and OU quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel is expected to watch him throw in the spring.
LB Michael Hutchings (Concord, Calif./De La Salle): One of OU’s first offers for the 2013 class, Hutchings was a favorite of former coach Brent Venables. First-year LB coach Tim Kish has reached out to Hutchings to help OU get back in the hunt. Patience will be key with the 6-foot-2, 210-pound top prospect.
WR Sebastian Larue (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica): A recent OU offer, Larue is 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds. Already with a bevy of top teams looking at him, the Sooners are a little late but have an ace in the hole in Larue’s friendship with 2012 signee Derrick Woods (Inglewood, Calif./Inglewood).
DE/LB Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland): It used to look like a three-team race between OU, USC and Nebraska. However, with Mathis still picking up top offer after top offer, that is not set in stone. Mathis said the plan is for an OU summer visit. He will visit Nebraska on April 14 and picked up an Alabama offer Friday.
WR Steven Mitchell (Mission Hills, Calif./Bishop Alemany): An ESPNU Watch List member at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, this could be a showcase weekend for Mitchell, who has an OU offer. He is scheduled to compete at Saturday’s combine and Sunday’s camp.
DB Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo): It will be very tough for OU to go into Mission Viejo and take Redfield. The area has been a USC-dominated place for a while and most agree the Trojans are in the lead for Redfield, who is 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds and on the ESPNU Watch List.
DB Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos De Niza): Another non-regional prospect that OU did a good job of getting in nice and early. Because ever since the Sooners offer, it has been one top program after another entering the Willis sweepstakes. Willis is 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, on the ESPNU Watch List and has accepted an invitation to play in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game.