Updated: Jan 9
Before the all american games, there were reports that there may be an outside shot at landing Gary Bryant, the highly coveted Cali speedster that ultimately chose USC. The sting was softened a bit with the addition of Theo Howard, who quietly may be one of the most important gets for the Sooners this year.
Besides Howard, there are two guys still out there that I'm absolutely dying to get as a Sooners fan, and connoisseur of all things line play. Ironically they're both the same size believe it or not.
One is Alfred Collins who currently goes 6'6" and about 285. From everything I hear it's Collins or bust on the defensive line, and when you watch his film, no doubt you can see why.
You see a guy that's rare. Rare in size from the standpoint that he'll end up playing in college about 305-315. He's rare in speed as well moving with ease and fluidity that seems impossible to pack in that massive frame.
In a nutshell, he's a guy that you can put at either the "D-Tackle" or "D-End" spot in the b-gap with Perrion Winfrey at the nose, and suddenly with a guy like Ellison in the other b-gap you have three guys who are at or above 300 pounds.
Almost immediately you have a defense that mirrors what Auburn, Alabama, LSU and others have been trotting out there for years. Once other recruits see this, and see the progress that Grinch is making, then more guys like him will come. At this point, Grinch is running his defense and having success with parts that aren't ideal for what he needs. Collins is a guy that can change all that.
Another reason I think Alfred is so important to close out this "20 Deep" class is that he's a gatekeeper recruit. When I say that, he's like CeeDee Lamb was for wide receiver recruiting, and Mark Andrews was for tight end recruiting. If Thibodeaux and Grinch can pull this off and get his signature four weeks from today, this class and him specifically will be the class that helps Oklahoma turn the corner defensively.
From day one when he steps on campus he will challenge for playing time. He's a Ronnie Perkins type player in that he will have an impact immediately. He's not a guy who's going to need a year to redshirt and develop, because he's just that good. In my opinion there's no bigger recruit this year than him, and the Sooners have to get him.
Word came out today, that DeAndre Butler, is supposed to visit Oklahoma on the 17th of January. While he still has, visits to Auburn and Oregon, Coach Thibodeau was the first to offer him, and with immediate playing time to sell, and marked success in year one under Grinch, the Sooners may have a real shot here.
I'm not sure if distance from home will be a factor, as he's originally from Covington, GA, which is just a little bit east of Atlanta down I-20. He's a guy who went to Independence, KS, for Juco, so it doesn't seem to look like he's too worried about that.
While Collins would be the one to take the cake, as a good friend of mine put it, Butler would be the cherry on top. He also is 6'5" and 280, and is rated as the #1 Defensive End in all of juco.
You can sense the urgency in defensive recruiting in the pursuit of these guys as Winfrey and Ellison are rated #'s 1 & 2 at the D tackle position, Harrington is the #1 Safety, and if the Sooners get Butler, he's the #1 D-End. Oh, by the way, he also is 6'6" 280 just like Collins.
He's also a guy who has 4 years left to play three, and while I don't believe he would redshirt, you could potentially, and suddenly have a legitimately scary two deep roster up front along the d line, and honestly maybe a 3 deep.
As a 4 deep, you could have:
DE: Jalen Redmond
NG: Perrion Winfrey
DT: DeAndre Butler
RLB: Jon-Michael Terry
DE: Marcus Stripling
NG: Jordan Kelley
DT: Alfred Collins
RLB: Nik Bonitto
DE: Isaiah Thomas
NG: Josh Ellison
DT: LaRon Stokes
RLB: Reggie Grimes
DE: Ronnie Perkins (4th because of the suspension)
NG: Kori Roberson
DT: Marcus Hicks
RLB: Joseph Wete
Keep in mind this only works having this much talent and depth, IF you get Collins and Butler. If these guys have great offseasons and put on much needed muscle and strength, then you could have a stockpile of war daddies to rival that which Bedenbaugh has built on the OL.