By Michael Kinney
After years and years of talking about it, the NCAA finally created an early signing day period for college football. The new addition to the recruiting wars was supposed to take coaches a little time to get the hang of it.
However, that was not the case for Oklahoma. Head coach, Lincoln Riley hauled in a top-10 recruiting class in his first ever signing day as a head coach.
“It’s a really strong group,” Riley said Wednesday. “I would say that everybody we expected to sign has. A lot of guys in this group have stuck with us for a long time after committing early, even through the coaching change last summer.”
Oklahoma pulled out all the stops to showcase the newest Sooner on signing day. From cereal boxes and baseball cards with the players faces on them to having Oklahoma alums like Adrian Peterson and Kenny Stills participate in video announcements.
Overall, the Sooners signed 17 players to its 2018 incoming class. They included several four-star and three-star players from around the country. There were no five stars players this year for Oklahoma.
“It’s a great foundation of players from all over the country,” Riley said. “We signed some very strong players out of our home state, which we’re very proud of. Texas was again, and always will be, a big target for us. And we got several other guys from across the country.”
Being able to keep a large group of Oklahoma kids at home was important, according to Riley.
They are Jalen Redmond (Midwest City), Ron Tatum (Putnam City), Patrick Fields (Union), Tramonda Moore (Independence C.C), Brey Walker (Westmoore) and Jordan Kelly (Union).
According to Rivals, Walker is the highest ranked player of the Sooner’s early signees. At 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, he is the No. 1 player in the state and third-ranked tackle in the nation.
Tailback TJ Pledger is right behind Walker. The Florida native is the fifth- ranked runningback in the country.
The Sooners recruiting class is ranked eighth overall, according to Rivals.com. Georgia, who Oklahoma is playing in the Rose Bowl, earned the No. 1 spot as far as the early signing period.
However, Riley said OU is not done yet. They still plan to sign a few more athletes with National Signing Day rolls around Feb. 4.
We’ll definitely sign some more guys in this class,” Riley. said “When the dust settles here after this first signing period, there will be a reevaluation process in terms of who we’ve signed, who other schools have signed, who’s still out there; just trying to find the best ones to fill the remaining spots. It will still be active and busy here in the next couple days, and certainly up through February.”
For the second straight year Oklahoma will have a large contingent of early enrollees, those who will be on campus in the spring. They include Starrland Baldwin, Jaqualyn Crawford, Miguel Edwards, Fields, Moore, Ronnie Perkins, T.J. Pledger, defensive end Redmond and Delarrin Turner-Yell.
“Great class,” Riley said. “We hit a lot of the targets and needs that we had, and we’re excited to get a lot of these guys in here mid-term.”
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com