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Friday, January 3, 2014
Recruit and return: Oklahoma Sooners

By Damon Sayles

Oklahoma did what many thought couldn’t be done -- it shocked two-time defending BCS champion Alabama and ended its 2013 season with a 45-31 victory in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Sooners, a two-touchdown underdog entering the game, finished the year with an 11-2 record and left the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with one of the biggest wins in the program’s history.

Recruiting season has now hit Norman, and the Sooners hope to build off this win to find stars in the 2014 class. There are a couple of voids to fill from this year’s squad.

Key losses: CB Aaron Colvin, WR Jalen Saunders, OL Gabe Ikard, FB Trey Millard, S Gabe Lynn

Instant impact freshman: One glance at ESPN 300 wide receiver Dallis Todd (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada), and it’s clear he has that “it” factor. At 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, Todd has the length, speed and big-play ability to be a serious problem for defensive backs in the Big 12. With Saunders and Lacoltan Bester gone, the Sooners will need a main target opposite Sterling Shepard. Todd can be that player, particularly in the red zone. With his measurables, Todd can be a reason why a lot of Sooners fans are smiling at the end of football games.

Top 2014 recruits: Counting Todd, Oklahoma has five ESPN 300 players and an ESPN Junior College 50 player in its 2014 class. Dual-threat quarterback Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) headlines a talented class, and running back Samaje Perine (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) is a power back with good speed. Oklahoma may have something special with its tight end trio of Carson Meier (Tulsa, Okla./Union), Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) and Isaac Ijalana (Mount Holly, N.J./Pierce College). Four-star receiver Jeffery Mead (Tulsa, Okla./Union), like Todd, has great size at 6-5 and could be a reliable red-zone threat. Keep an eye on the defensive commits, as three-star linebacker Tay Evans (Allen, Texas/Allen) and three-star safety Vontre McQuinnie (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) are hard-hitting playmakers.

Questions for signing day: Recruiting has never been a problem for the Sooners. Recruiting West Coast players has actually been a positive experience. Will Oklahoma land some names by the end of the weekend? Running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) and linebacker Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra), two ESPN 300 players, are U.S. Army All-Americans who will announce their college decisions during the bowl game Saturday. While the Sooners now have the No. 25 class in the nation, expect a spike in the RecruitingNation Class Rankings if the Sooners can land at least one of these players.