Tulsa East Central stars ready for OU visit

The countdown for linebacker Kimmie Carson (Tulsa, Okla./East Central) is over. For the last several months, Carson has let the world know how much time was left until spring football started. No more months, no more weeks and no more days. Oklahoma high school spring practice has arrived as teams officially start today.

The OU coaches have spent time all over the country in the last four weeks. Defensive backs coach Mike Stoops was very active in California and Texas. Wide receivers coach Jay Norvell spent time in Florida and the southeast. And non-traditional spots such as Washington and Illinois have been destinations for the Sooners staff.

But at least one coach will be staying close to home as defensive tackles coach Jackie Shipp is expected to be at Tulsa East Central on Monday.

“I’m going to show out and show them what I can do,” Carson said. “I’m going to show them that I deserve that chance.”

Shipp has been the primary recruiter for the talented Tulsa East Central trio of four-star athlete Stanvon Taylor, cornerback Devanta Johnson and Carson.

The Sooners have shown a lot of interest in Tulsa East Central and that was even before Taylor verbally committed to OU 10 days ago.

His teammates have admitted they’re proud of Taylor, but they also want to show that they are on his level.

“I really want to see what I can do against him in practice,” Johnson said. “I’m excited and nervous. More excited than anything else because this is my opportunity.”

Johnson has received strong interest from Kansas State and Arkansas, while Carson has an offer from Arkansas State. But both have said their dream is to become a Sooner.

The 2013 Oklahoma high school class isn’t as top-heavy as the 2012 group. That bunch had three of the top 80 recruits in the nation. Oklahoma City Heritage Hall had two of them in receivers Sterling Shepard (No. 60) and running back Barry J. Sanders (No. 80). Jenks running back Alex Ross was No. 70 in the ESPN 150. Shepard and Ross have signed with OU, while Sanders will play at Stanford.

This year’s group only has one player in the ESPN 150 in Lawton defensive end D.J. Ward. Ward, ranked No. 93, committed to the Sooners last month.

But the depth of the 2013 class is starting to stand out. The Sooners already have three commits from their home state as Tulsa Union offensive tackle Dalton Rodriguez will join Ward and Taylor in Norman, Okla.

The Oklahoma coaching staff is also looking hard at quarterback Brayden Scott (Tahlequah, Okla./Sequoyah). If Scott doesn’t receive an OU offer, he is already in great shape with 12 other offers.

Other recruits already have a myriad of offers and some, like Carson and Johnson, are hoping to stand out after quality showings these next two weeks.

“There is a lot of talent in the state and in this class,” Taylor said. “I know my boys are excited for Coach Shipp to come out and watch us. I am too because I want him to see there are no concerns with the ankle, either.”

Taylor broke his ankle in the first game of last season and didn’t play again. His health was the biggest reason why he didn’t receive the OU offer earlier.

The time is now for Carson and Johnson to prove they belong, too.

“I know that if I get that chance, I’m going to make the most of it,” Carson said. “It’s going to start in the spring. They’re going to see a whole new player and then it won’t stop there.”

The Sooners are still looking for quality defensive backs and linebackers for the class of 2013. OU has no linebacker commits, while Taylor is the only high school defensive back commit. Former Arizona defensive back Cortez Johnson committed to OU last week. Mike Stoops said he is looking for five defensive backs for the 2013 class.