Every year Oklahoma seemingly gets overlooked as one of the top talent producing states in the nation. Just North of the Red River, the Sooner State doesn't always seem to get the amount of respect it should, probably because it's right next to some of the most prime recruiting territory in the nation with Texas. However, quite a few schools have found Oklahoma to be happy hunting ground and this year will go down as one of the better years for talent in Oklahoma in quite some time.
Players like four-star receiver Jameel Owens and four-star defensive tackle Stacey McGee of Muskogee, Okla., highlight the Rivals.com Oklahoma top 20, but if you dig deeper into the list you'll find there's some really good talent scattered throughout.
But as with every list, you must start at the top and at the top is Owens, the dynamic prospect that ranks among the best pass-catchers in the nation. Owens had an average of 18.3 yards a catch in 2006, and he's gotten even bigger and stronger and expects to cause even more damage on both sides of the ball in 2007.
"I've had several college coaches tell me he's as good a receiver as they have seen at his age," Muskogee coach Matt Hennesy said. "The things he can do on the football field are well, amazing. He's also such a great kid off the field, too. He's a winner."
Owens is the most highly regarded wide receiver to come out of Oklahoma since former Booker T. Washington star and recent first-round draft choice Robert Meachem. Owens' teammate, McGee, isn't too shabby either. At 6-foot-5 and 280-pounds, McGee plays both defensive end and defensive tackle in high school, but he'll be inside on the next level.
McGee, the No. 2 player in Oklahoma, had 87 tackles in 2006 and already has racked up scholarship offers from teams like Arkansas, Kansas State, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and many others.
"As refined as Jameel is, Stacy has about as big of an upside as anybody I've coached," Hennesy said.
The state's other four-star players come in at No. 3 and No. 4 on the list.
The third-best player in Oklahoma is Guthrie athlete Kye Staley. The 6-foot, 200-pounder threw for more than 1,000 yards and also rushed for 1,400 yards as a junior. He's been offered by a who's who that recruits in Oklahoma, including Arkansas, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Texas Tech. Right behind him at No. 4 is Texas Tech pledge Harrison Jeffers. The 5-9, 195-pound running back had 1,812 yards rushing and 16 scores in 2006.
Behind that group is a solid core of players that demonstrates how deep the class is this season.
Jenks, Okla., defensive tackle Tony Gillespie is at No. 5 on the list, and he's got scholarship offers from programs like Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State and is also getting serious looks from Florida and Tennessee. K.J. Williams of Norman North comes in at No. 6, and he's blew up this past spring and has impressed every camp he's attended. Kansas State looks to have landed a real gem with tight end Cooper Bassett at No. 7. The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder just clocked a 4.66 time in the 40-yard dash at K-State's camp.
Teresita (Okla.) Sequoyah-Tahlequah quarterback Nathan Stanley has also impressed everywhere he's gone this summer, including stops at Michigan and EA Sports Elite 11 Regional in Las Vegas. The 6-foot-5, 185-pounder is the No. 8 player on the list. The final three-star prospect in Oklahoma is Lawton, Okla., athlete Cornelius Douglas at No. 9. Douglas could play cornerback or slot receiver in college.