image via Burnt Orange Nation
The Lincoln Riley era is starting off strong with big commitment from former 4-star defensive end and former Texas commit, Ron Tatum. Hard to think of a better way to start your career off as a head coach stealing a big-time prospect away from your rival.
I’m coming back home……‼️⭕️???????? pic.twitter.com/7F4YmfVsAL
— Ron Tatum III‼️???? (@rontatum3_) June 12, 2017
Tatum ranks 4th at his position and 85th overall per 247 Sports Composite. He becomes the 8th commitment in Oklahoma’s 2018 class once Dillion Faamatau reclassifies over the summer. The Sooners move up one spot in the national rankings to 17, one spot behind Oklahoma State.
This is a tone setter. Before Stoops retirement, momentum was shaky and schools like Texas and Ohio State getting who they want out of the state of Oklahoma. Not anymore. Lincoln Riley has taken a more aggressive approach to recruiting and it starts by locking down Oklahoma.
Moving onto Tatum, he is the complete package as far as what you’re looking for in a defensive end. Size, speed, power, and a lot of nasty.
At 6’4.5″, 270 pounds, Tatum has the size to play anywhere between the 4i and 6 techniques. Whether Oklahoma is in a 4-3 or 3-4, Tatum is a guy versatile enough to shift around the line. With his wide frame, Tatum should be able to reach up-to 285 without losing any mobility or speed.
For his size, Tatum moves remarkably well. Simply put, you don’t see a guy that can speed rush at his size come around every day. A self-reported 40 time of 4.61 (expect a laser-timed 40 at The Opening) is impressive to say the least. However, that is just straight-line speed. What stands out is Tatum’s lateral movement and just how quickly he accelerates after contact. It something that truly tests the athleticism and awareness of the offensive tackle.
You don’t see it as often, but when he’s not beating the tackle on the edge, Tatum is a fairly effective bull-rusher. It is an aspect of his game that still looks raw, but can certainly be developed into something special. The biggest thing here is he’s not afraid to get nasty in the trenches, something Oklahoma has been looking for.
This new era of Oklahoma football and recruiting has been about being aggressive, and Tatum embodies that. He’s the #4 ranked SDE in the nation for a reason and for Oklahoma to convince him to stay in-state is a big win for the program. Look for the Sooners to use this momentum to close on other top-targets on their list.