- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
The competition at offensive tackle just went up another level at Oklahoma.
Offensive tackle Josiah St. John (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley Community College) committed to the Sooners on Wednesday, throwing his name into the competition to replace Lane Johnson in OU’s starting lineup in 2013. St. John picked the Sooners over Kansas and had offers from Texas A&M, Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and others. The No. 6-ranked recruit in the ESPN JC 100, St. John is a four-star prospect with a 83 rating from ESPN.com recruiting analysts.
St. John steps on campus with the ability to start and should create a more competitive atmosphere among the tackles with Daryl Williams and Tyrus Thompson returning next season. It would have been easy to slot Williams and Thompson in as OU’s starting tackles if the Sooners hadn’t landed St. John but his decision will give the Sooners coaching staff options while forcing Williams and Thompson to compete for their spot in the rotation. The Sooners generally prefer to rotate their offensive linemen so St. John will undoubtedly have an immediate impact even if he doesn’t secure a starting role.
Williams was one of the Sooners best offensive lineman this season but struggles to play left tackle so is likely to remain the starter at right tackle. St. John should battle Thompson for the starting spot on the left side with redshirt freshman Derek Farniok also providing quality depth. Therefore, the Sooners could have four quality tackles heading into 2013, lessening concerns if the injury bug hits.
St. John’s decision also allows tackles coach Bruce Kittle to focus on finding some quality high school tackles to sign in February without an urgency to find someone who could play right away. Kittle’s work on the recruiting trail is far from finished as Farniok is the lone underclassmen among the top four projected tackles on the roster.
While OU received outstanding news with St. John’s commitment on Wednesday, the Sooners badly need to add young tackles with upside to develop over the next two years so they’ll experience a smooth transition when Williams, Thompson and St. John complete their eligibility in Norman.