There's only one person within Oklahoma’s football program who shouldn’t be ecstatic about the commitment of linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni (Dallas/Jesuit): Whoever is in charge of putting the names on the back of the Sooners jerseys.
Everyone else has to be thrilled to see the four-star linebacker prospect pick OU over LSU, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Clemson and Arkansas on Thursday. Ranked No. 196 in the ESPN 300, Mastrogiovanni is just what the Sooners' 2013 recruiting class needed.
The class is starting to come together with terrific skill players like running back Keith Ford (Cypress, Texas/Cypress Ranch) and cornerback Stanvon Taylor (Tulsa, Okla./East Central) already secured, but Mastrogiovanni goes a long way toward easing fears of arriving at national signing day without a quality linebacker in the fold.
Recruiting for the linebacker position had gotten off to a slow start under new linebackers coach Tim Kish as the Sooners transitioned from Brent Venables and adjusted their priorities at the position. As prospects like E.J. Levenberry (Woodbridge, Va./Hylton) and Jaylon Smith (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers) committed elsewhere, OU continued to strike out on its offers.
But the Sooners liked what they saw in the 6-foot-2, 225-pound inside linebacker and got him on campus for an unofficial visit last week. And when Mastrogiovanni was on campus, Kish and the rest of the coaching staff sealed the deal within days despite his long list of offers from other top programs.
With young linebackers like Frank Shannon and Aaron Franklin already on campus and making good impressions, Mastrogiovanni adds young athleticism to the roster and brings very good run-stopping skills to the table. He will fit in well alongside Shannon, Franklin and Eric Striker in the Sooners defense adding a big 'backer with good size and athleticism next to those three quick, albeit a tad undersized, outside linebackers. He should also be a terrific special teams player with the ability to help in that area as soon as he steps on campus.
With the Sooners leaning more toward having five defensive backs in the field against the Big 12’s spread offenses, Mastrogiovanni’s commitment goes a long way in easing any doubts about the linebacker position in OU’s class of 2013.