OU nabs much-needed running backs in Top 10 class

Oklahoma signed a Top 10 recruiting class February 1, including two running backs rated in the Top 10 and perhaps the best wide receiver in the nation.

ESPN rated running back Marcelias Sutton as the No. 2 tailback in the nation while Trey Sermon was rated No. 8. Wide receiver Marquise Brown has been judged as the No. 3 junior college pass catcher in the nation.

OU announced 27 signees. There could be some late additions but it is likely the class is complete. It is the first Top 10 rated recruiting classes for OU since 2010.

“I feel we signed one of the best classes probably in 19 years,” Stoops said. “I love the balance of it – 13 offensive guys, 13 defensive guys and one specialist. I felt we answered the need in all positions.”

OU signed five defensive backs, four linebackers, four offensive linemen, four running backs, four defensive linemen, three wide receivers, and one quarterback, tight end and punter.

OU got nine players from Texas, six from Oklahoma, three from North Carolina, two each from California, Louisiana and Florida and one each from Arkansas, Missouri and Georgia.

“We always start in the State of Oklahoma and Texas and to have six kids from Oklahoma was great,” Stoops said.  “The players in Oklahoma can play anywhere in the country.

“Oklahoma and Texas will always be home base. But we are able to go across the country. Our brand really does stretch across the country, east and west.

Quarterback Chris Robison was an early commitment and Stoops said his presence helped recruit other players.

“It is a big deal,” Stoops said. “When you get someone early of that caliber, who can throw the ball the way Chris does, I think other players start to take notice early on. Chris became a leader in this group early.”

OU will lose Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon – maybe the best pair of running backs in the nation – to the NFL. OU will have eight running backs next fall, one senior, two juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen.

Two of the three running backs Stoops recruited  – Trey Sermon and Marcelias Sutton – are already on campus and will go through spring drills.

“We’ve had great reviews on in just a week from strength staff,” Stoops said of the new running backs. “It will benefit them and us in a great way having them here winter and spring. That will be a big plus for us in replacing those guys.”

Kennedy Brooks will join those two on campus in June.

Being in the College Football Playoff plus back-to-back Big 12 Championships helped make this signing class better.

“Anytime you put yourself in a position to compete for a national championship, that makes a difference to recruits,” Stoops said. “I don’t think there’s any question.’

Stoops said the upcoming completion of the facilities under the south end of the stadium was attractive to recruits.

The Sooners will be looking for a standout receiver to replace the production of Dede Westbrook. Tight end Mark Andrews returns as the top receiver with 489 yards on 31 receptions last season. The next most productive returnee is Nick Basquine, with 20 catches for 265 yards.

“These guys all have to come in and make plays. I believe they will,” Stoops said. “They are all really skilled guys.”

Stoops said this class was impressive on video. After six weeks of strength training, coaches will have a better idea of this ability to play early.

“Many of them right now look like they could walk on the field and hold their own,” Stoops said.

Early enrollees at OU:

Quarterback

  • Chris Robison, 6-2, 190, Mesquite, Texas

Running back

  • Marcelias Sutton, 5-10, 195, Lackawanna College (Pa.)
  • Trey Sermon, 6-1, 220, Marietta, Ga.

Wide receiver

  • Marquise Brown, 5-11, 175, College of the Canyons (Calif.)

Tight end

  • Grant Calcaterra, 6-4, 220, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.

Fullback

  • Jeremiah Hall, 6-3, 230, Charlotte, N.C.

Offensive linemen

  • Creed Humphrey, 6-4, 290, Shawnee, Okla.

Defensive back

  • Justin Broiles, 6-0, 180, Oklahoma City

Linebacker

  • Levi Draper, 6-3, 225, Collinsville
  • Addison Gumbs, 6-3, 215, Hayward, Calif.
  • Kenneth Murray, 6-3, 220, Missouri City, Texas

February 1 Signees

Running back

  • Kennedy Brooks, 6-0, 197, Mansfield, Texas

Wide receiver

  • Cedarian Lamb, 6-3, 190, Richmond, Texas
  • Charleston Rambo, 6-1, 170, Cedar Hill, Texas

Punter

  • Reeves Mundschau, 6-0, 170, Cedar Hill, Texas

Offensive Line

  • Adrian Ealy, 6-6, 280, Gonzales, Louisiana
  • Tyrese Robinson, 6-4, 310, McKinney, Texas

Defensive line

  • Marquis Hayes, 6-5, 320, Maryland Heights, Missouri
  • Tyreece Lott, 6-3, 265, Ardmore
  • Zacchaeus McKinney, 6-4, 280, Weatherford, Texas
  • Troy James, 6-3, 280, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Isaiah Thomas, 6-5, 230, Tulsa Memorial
  • K’Jakyre Daley, 6-2, 215, Riviera Beach, Florida

Athlete

  • Ryan Jones, 6-2, 220, Charlotte, North Carolina

Safety

  • Robert Barnes, 6-3, 200, Southlake, Texas

Cornerback

  • Tre Brown, 5-11, 180, Tulsa Union
  • Tre Norwood, 6-0, 175, Fort Smith, Arkansas