Recruiting Update: 2017 Defensive Backs

image via 247Sports.com

We’re just about 40 days away from National Signing Day. With that, Oklahoma is still looking to finish recruiting their secondary. The Sooners already have an impressive group with talented in-state duo of Tre Brown and Justin Broiles. They also sport one of the top safety prospects in the nation in Robert Barnes. Oklahoma has one, maybe two spots left in their 2017 class. Who might they fill it with? Let’s break it down.


Cornerback, Jaylon Johnson

Utah commit, Jaylon Johnson is name that has come up again and again though out the fall. The California product is one of the most talented prospects in the country coming in 78th overall. He possesses all the physical attributes to make him a play maker at the next level. He is beyond his year’s in terms of his technique. Johnson shows off exception footwork in coverage, hardly taking a bad step. As far as how would I describe Johnson’s game? Fast, marauding, and instinctual. Jaylon is easily on another level than the rest of his competition.

What are the chances of Oklahoma flipping the highly touted Fresno product? The Sooners are definitely in the running. Johnson’s commitment to Utah seems to be wavering as evidenced by his recent official visit to Norman. The Sooners aren’t the only looking to flip Johnson. USC is a very real player here and have the advantage of being an in-state school. It will take a big late push by the Oklahoma staff, but landing Johnson is not out of the picture.


Safety, Evan Fields

The state of Oklahoma has produced a lot of D1 talent for the 2017 class. One name on the rise is Midwest City native, Evan Fields. Fields has the prototypical size for a safety at 6’2″. That kind of size combined with his level of athleticism have caught the eyes of programs around the nation including Mississippi State, UCLA, Oregon, and Notre Dame. Fields shows a great nose for the ball both in coverage and in the run game. His film shows great closing speed and he doesn’t shy away from contact. He’s not a guy who throws his body into the ball carrier. He makes smart tackles, wrapping up low and preventing the runner from gaining additional yards after contact. In coverage, I see a lot of what Oklahoma has with Steven Parker. A guy who’s size and length forces opposing QB’s to throw into tight windows.

Fields has yet to receive an offer from the Sooners, but that may change very soon. If it does, expect Kerry Cooks and Cale Gundy to make a big push to land Fields before signing day. The only question is, did they wait too late?


Safety, Kamren Curl

Sticking with the in-state guys, Kamren Curl is another Oklahoma native that has seen his recruitment take off over the past couple months. Since November, Curl has received offers from Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Texas. Like the above mentioned Fields, Curl possesses the prototypical size for a safety at the college level at 6’2″. Curl is a fast and aggressive safety who excels in coverage. It isn’t that he’s able to go up and get those 50/50 jump balls, or his ability to go stride for stride with receivers, it’s his ability to read the quarterback that stands out to me most. If you watch the film, Curl often puts himself into position to make a play by following the quarterback’s eyes. This allows him to break on the ball right as it is leaving the QB’s hand. That isn’t just talent, that is time spent understanding the game.

Curl is very aggressive at attacking the ball. He comes downhill fast and isn’t afraid putting a big hit on the runner. That said, he’ll need to clean up his form some at the next level. Oklahoma is in contention for Curl, however it is hard to say who has the lead at the moment. Other schools vying for Curl’s signature include: TCU, Texas Tech, Nebraska, and Arkansas.


DB, Brad Stewart

A name you may or may not be familiar with is Brad Stewart out of New Orleans, Louisiana. As you probably know, it is difficult to pull recruits out of The Boot. It is not only SEC territory, but more importantly, LSU territory. However, with the level of talent it continually produces, who can blame Oklahoma for taking their chances? Stewart is one of the most impressive corners in the 2017 class. He ranks 18th at the position, but that may be too low.

What makes Stewart so special? He is tenacious. He is physical. He has a great feel for the game. Stewart shows what above average athleticism can do with the right mentality. There are times when you’re watching and it seems Stewart is one step ahead of everyone else on the field. Stewart has good size at 6’0″ and at 194 lbs, that shows he takes the weight room seriously.

Stewart isn’t perfect, but shows a high upside that programs just can’t ignore. There are rumors that Stewart may plan to visit Oklahoma in January, but at this point nothing has been set. A visit alone would be huge, but may not be enough to make ground on Florida. Still, expect Oklahoma to take a chance here as the pay off would be huge.


Cornerback, Latavious Brini

Florida prospect, Latavious Brini is a guy that the Sooners have actually made an inroads on. Brini actually took an official visit to Norman in November and came away impressed. In case you haven’t caught onto the theme here, Brini has excellent size for a cornerback at 6’2″. Oklahoma has made it a point to improve the physicality in the secondary, and Brini could certainly provide that. He’s a bit raw in coverage, but that will change given some time and coaching.

 

Overall, Brini has high upside, but it will take some time to develop. Oklahoma is returning Jordan Thomas, and true freshman Parrish Cobb and Jordan Parker. Brini would have a chance to develop for a year before he competes for a starting job. As mentioned before, Oklahoma has gotten an official visit out of Brini, but they’re still chasing down Miami for his signature.

Written by Stephen Brown
Founder/Editor of RufWriters.com

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