2014 in-state class is talented, deep

Not since the vaunted Class of 2006 has the state been so loaded with talent

Updated: February 18, 2013, 2:04 PM ET
By Jake Trotter | SoonerNation

NORMAN, Okla. -- In 2006, the state of Oklahoma produced five future all-conference performers, four All-Americans, three first-round draft picks and a Heisman Trophy winner.

Not since has the state generated a crop of recruits anywhere close to that.

Until perhaps now.

[+] EnlargeDeondre Clark
Bob Przybylo/ESPN.comDefensive end Deondre Clark could be the top-ranked prospect in a talented Oklahoma class.
With six prospects in the ESPN Watch List, 2014 could be a banner year for recruiting in the state of Oklahoma. And in return, a banner one for the Sooners, too.

"I think it's just exciting, doing the preliminary work the last few months on the juniors coming up," said Jay Norvell, OU's co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach.

It will be difficult for any in-state class to measure up to the one of 2006. That year, the state produced defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma City Southeast), tight end Jermaine Gresham (Ardmore), quarterback Sam Bradford (Oklahoma City Putnam City North) and cornerback Dominique Franks (Tulsa Union), four players who fueled OU's run to the 2008 national championship game.

Running back Mossis Madu (Norman) and offensive lineman Brian Lepak (Claremore), who transferred to OU from Colorado State, developed into contributing offensive pieces for the Sooners.

All told, the Sooners signed nine Oklahomans in the class, including Chase Beeler (Jenks), who transferred to Stanford, where he would become an All-American center snapping the ball to Andrew Luck.

OU hadn't signed that many Oklahomans since 2000, and hasn't signed that many since. In part because the talent level was better elsewhere. That likely won't be the case in 2014. Plenty of talent resides in OU's backyard this time around. And that bodes well for the Sooners' next signing class.

"It appears that there's gonna be a good crop of kids both in the state and in Texas," Norvell said. "That's exciting for us because we've already got a very good start on a lot of those kids."

Do they ever.

Of the roughly 75 offers the Sooners have extended to the class of 2014, more than half are to players from Texas or Oklahoma.

"We see a lot of great players around, definitely," Bob Stoops said of the class.

Topping the in-state list is Edmond Santa Fe's Justice Hansen, who is currently the Sooners' lone quarterback offer and top quarterback target. Hansen, recently named one of 25 recruits to watch in 2014 by ESPN.com, figures to be one of the most highly touted quarterbacks in the nation. Hansen already holds offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Missouri and Texas A&M. Florida State has shown interest, too.

Hansen, however, isn't the only Oklahoma quarterback whose recruitment has gone national.

Norman North's David Cornwell has offers from the likes of Oklahoma State, Miami (Fla.) and Virginia Tech. Washington State coach Mike Leach, who knows a thing or two about quarterbacks, has also offered.

Broken Arrow's Coleman Key didn't quite have the junior season Hansen or Cornwell did, but at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, his upside is tremendous, as well. Arkansas State and Toledo are his only offers at the moment.

The state isn't just strong at quarterback.

The Sooners have tried to corner the in-state market early with offers already out to Jenks safety Steven Parker, Broken Arrow linebacker Gyasi Akem, Oklahoma City Douglass defensive end Deondre Clark and Tulsa Union receiver Jeffery Mead.

Wagoner running back Lawrence Evitt, Moore Southmoore wide receiver Jalen Adams, Tulsa Memorial tight end Mike 'Quan Deane, Midwest City Carl Albert tight end Trenton Ball and Guthrie athlete Kai Callins are prospects the Sooners could circle back to before signing day, as well, and at the least will garner FBS attention elsewhere.

The state also includes Watch List running back Devon Thomas of Broken Arrow, who committed to the Sooners then switched to Oklahoma State, as well as Edmond North running back Michael Farmer, who has already given his verbal to Arizona State.

"We always want to do a great job in our own state," Stoops said. "Fortunately through the years, we have. We're always diligent in that the first players we evaluate and continue to evaluate are always in-state players."

The Sooners built their team around the in-state Class of 2006. They could do just the same with this Sooner State class.