football Edit

Five recruits new Oklahoma HC Brent Venables must target

Brent Venables has been one of the most sought-after college coordinators for much of the past decade. Finally, Clemson's defensive leader is heading to Oklahoma as the Sooners' replacement for now-USC coach Lincoln Riley.

From a recruiting angle, the Sooners are clinging tight to the nation's No. 21-ranked class with 13 total commitments. There has been some fallout since Riley's departure for the Pac-12, particularly in the previously top-ranked 2023 class.

With Venables -- another touted recruiter -- en route to Norman, here are five recruits the new Oklahoma coach should target:


The Oklahoma native has enjoyed an absolutely stellar senior season for Jones (Okla.) High School and is one of the biggest climbers in the updated 2022 rankings on Rivals. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder was an Iowa discovery, but with no quarterback in the class and of course the option to hit the transfer market, why not take a shot at one of the best in-state and the country in May?

As a senior, May completed almost 63-percent of his throws for 32 touchdowns compared to four picks. He threw for 2,754 yards and added another 433 yards on 151 carries and 11 scores rushing. Certainly, there's a need and room for this kind of homegrown talent.

The Sooners were among the favorites for one of the nation's premier pass-rushers in this 2022 class. Clemson was in the hunt for Jones at one point in his recruitment but fell behind. Venables has a defensive reputation like few other head coaches in the country and there's a mutual interest in the Sooners from Jones' side.

Venables has recruited Florida. He should have national appeal with elite defenders. It would not be surprising to see Jones' interest In Oklahoma sparked by the hire.

Venables won a highly contested recruiting showdown against Georgia, Alabama, Florida and -- Oklahoma -- over the summer when four-star speedy athlete Jaren Kanak committed to Clemson. While it's certainly rare, decommitments from Clemson are possible and this was a Venables find.

Kobie McKinzie was one of the prized defensive pledges on-board for Riley and former defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. He's a big, old-school linebacker that can cover a ton of ground and play downhill. McKinzie, an early Texas Tech commitment that flipped to the Sooners a year-plus ago, backed off that verbal soon after Riley's departure.

Texas recently extended an offer to the West Texas four-star and the Horns have gained quick momentum. With a defensive-minded coach heading to Norman, however, that could reignite the interest on both sides.

The 2023 Oklahoma recruiting class was shaping up to be one for the history books, but with coaching changes comes attrition. When Venables in place, of course the attention shifts first to keeping as many pieces of the 2022 class in-tact and adding to it before the Early Signing Period and addressing more of it in February and via the transfer portal.

However, the timing is so close to the beginning of the 2023 cycle and Venables could try to regenerate momentum with next year's class with a prized in-state get. Oklahoma has put itself in a strong position with RIvals250 do-it-all athlete Micah Tease under Riley and Grinch, and with Venables in place, it could be a strong starting point to get this group back on track.