image via hoosierhuddle.com
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Let’s talk running backs! As of right now, it looks like the Sooners will be taking two running backs in this class given the high probability that Perine will be leaving for the draft and potentially Mixon as well. Alex Ross and Daniel Brooks will both graduate, leaving only Rodney Anderson and Abdul Adams as your core of backs. It was believed that the Sooners were in the lead, or at least in the running for four-star running back, J.K. Dobbins, who recently committed to Ohio State. To my understanding and speaking with Ohio State fans, we are by no means out of the running for Dobbins, but for the moment let’s assume he stays committed to Ohio State. Here’s a breakdown of some current offers and a couple non-offers that I like in this class.
JUCO 3-Star, Marcelias Sutton (commit) – This came out of nowhere, but in someways should have been expected as he was recruited by Riley during his time at ECU. He’s also from Lackawanna C.C, the JUCO where the Sooners picked up three commitments in the 2016 class. Sutton stand 5’10 about 190 lbs, he’s pretty tough and gritty runner, especially when running up the middle. If you watch his HUDL film below you’ll notice he more times than not is not brought down by the first guy and gains a lot of yards after contact. In many ways he reminds me a lot of Keith Ford, a shifty, tough inside runner that can hurt you up the middle or bounce it outside. What’s actually interesting is he is labeled as an athlete at the moment, so at the moment, he does not count against the running back numbers.
4- star, Chuba Hubbard (offer) – If you’re a fan of long runs and elite speed, Chuba Hubbard is your guy. He’s got straight line speed for days, in fact, he’s a pretty accomplished track star in Canada as well, posting a 10.55 second, 100m dash. Before you assume he’s strictly an edge runner, Hubbard has some nice lateral quickness that helps him get past the first level and uses his explosive speed to cut through the secondary.
4 – star, Anthony McFarland (offer) – Sorry if this one sounds fan-boyish but it’s hard not to be excited after watching his film because he’s very much Jamaal Charles-esque and would be an amazing fit in Lincoln Riley’s system. I know he’s not the top rated running back in 2017, not sure who that is but he’s committed to Bama and I’m sure ESPN will remind me of this over and over, but he’s at the top or near it on MY list. Initially, there was some mutual interest between McFarland and the Sooners but that seems to have tapered off a bit and it remains to be seen if the staff can regain that interest. If they do, this guy could be very special for Sooners. He’s not a big back (listed at 5’9), but wow does this guy bring it all to the table. He runs so well between the tackles and drives his feet right through contact. Runs so fluidly on the outside. Can play in the slot. I think you get the point, he’s good and would be great at Oklahoma.
4 – star, Kennedy Brooks (offer) -Unlike two guys listed above, Brooks is a power back. His running style is pretty old-school and someone mentioned to me that it reminiscent of Adrian Peterson. I’m not going to make that comparison as Peterson is one of the all-time greatest backs for Oklahoma but I will say he is very comparable to Chris Brown, both in size and style. Not too many flashy moves but put up big numbers (if you’ll remember Brown was a 1000+ rusher in 2008).
4-Star, Trey Sermon (offer) – Just announced by Brandon Drumm from TFB:
— Brandon Drumm (@BrandonTFB) March 22, 2016
Sermon (6’1, 217 lbs) is another do-it-all running back with an impressive mix of size, power, and speed. He’s a threat out of the backfield, split out wide, in the wildcat, and as returner. What I like most about him is his balance between power and speed. The duality of his running game is something Oklahoma is seeing from Mixon right now and in that he’s got the power to run through you and he’s agile enough to make you miss, which keeps defenders on their toes. Being from Georgia and the heart of SEC country, you have to wonder a bit about the odds on this one but getting a visit this early can only help Oklahoma’s chances.
4 – star, Adarius Lemons (no offer) – Lemons is a beast. While the Sooners feel pretty confident with the offers they’ve already sent out, I’d love it if they took a chance with Lemons. He’s from Florida which hasn’t been the most kind to Oklahoma recruiting (although they have a current commitment from Floridian, Trajan Bandy) but I’d go for it anyways. At 6’0, 195 lbs he’s already got the size to play immediately. He’s got great speed and vision. You can play him out in the slot, much like they do with Mixon currently, and he can return punts (most OU fans probably haven’t seen one of those in awhile). Sticking with the theme of making comparisons to 2008 players, I can see so much of DeMarco Murray in his game. He even does that nifty thing that Murray did so well in his time at Oklahoma where he hits the defender and rolls out of contact.
3 – star, Casey Perkins (no offer) – I’ve been watching quite a bit of film but this one stood out to me from much of the rest. Perkins is around 5’11 and is already over 200 lbs. A pretty trim 200 lbs, by the way. That tells me this guy hits the weights seriously (doesn’t skip leg day) and it shows in his game. At 5’11 he still maintains a low center of gravity much like Perine. Has good balance and footwork which allows him to make through traffic and if he can’t juke his way through, he powers through and does a good job keeping his feet moving. I think he’s got a little more shake to his game but much like Perine, arm tackles aren’t going to be enough. Not sure how he hasn’t gotten more attention but it wouldn’t surprise me a lot more offers get thrown his way.
What are your thoughts on the 2017 class? Who do you have at the top of your list? Have guy going under-the-radar, let’s get his name out there! Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!