“I like linebackers. I collect ’em. You can’t have too many good ones.” – Bill Parcells

The State of Oklahoma officially re-opens today and apparently so does recruiting. Sooners started the day off with a commitment from 5-Star WR, Mario Williams; they’re continuing as 4-Star OLB, Clayton Smith out of Texarkana, TX (Texas High) just announce his commitment:

According to 247Sports Composite rankings, Smith ranks 107th in nation overall and 8th at his position. Comparatively, Rivals has Smith ranked at 211th overall and 14th at his position. Clayton becomes the 7th member of Oklahoma’s 2021 recruiting class and a likely foundation to build off for Alex Grinch. With his commitment, the Sooners now rise up to 24th in the national rankings and 3rd in the Big 12.

Evaluation:

The hiring of Jamar Cain could not have come with quicker results. It wasn’t but a couple weeks ago many considered Smith to be a Texas lean, if not a foregone conclusion (myself included). At some point, Oklahoma completely flipped the script enough to not just even the playing field, but come away with a commitment in a short amount of time. If this is a sign of things to come, Oklahoma’s defensive talent pool should be just fine under Alex Grinch.

As for Smith himself, he is what you expect an OLB/EDGE guy to be in Alex Grinch’s defense. A rangy 6’4″ frame and 220 lbs, he can fit a couple rolls, but most likely going to have his highest ceiling at the EDGE position. Smith’s size doesn’t come without impressive speed and athleticism, simply put: guys that size aren’t supposed to move that well. Some of that athleticism can be attributed to Smith being a multi-sport athlete, as well as playing some receiver for Texas High.

Smith does a great job of using his length to squeeze passing lanes along the line of scrimmage which aligns with what Alex Grinch is looking to build. His speed is his biggest asset right now, but as he works within a college-level S&C program, Smith can combine his speed with more power making him challenge for opposing tackles. Oklahoma has a lot to like at both LB and at EDGE right now, but as far as ceilings go, it’s hard not to look at Smith’s tape and see what could be a truly elite player.