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OU has had chances for the first top 5 class since 2010

Recruiting is something the Oklahoma Sooners have done very well since Lincoln Riley took over from Bob Stoops in 2017. In the five recruiting cycles that Riley has been head coach, the Sooners have had four top-10 classes with an average 247Sports composite score of 270.77.

After taking the 2022 class back to eighth in the country following Riley’s departure, Brent Venables is on track to give the Sooners their first top-five recruiting class since 2010.

That class had 30 commits, the highest being safety Tony Jefferson, who is currently with the Baltimore Ravens. Wide receiver Kenny Stills was also in this class.

Bob Stoops had a full year.

As Oklahoma Football reasserts itself on the recruiting landscape, let’s take a look back at the past five recruiting cycles. All rankings are from 247Sports.com.

2021

Dec 29, 2021; San Antonio, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Caleb Williams (13) throws a pass against the Oregon Ducks at the Alamodome in the first half of the 2021 Alamo Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

National Ranking 10
Top Rated Recruit Caleb Williams, QB

Other notable recruits:

Mario Williams, WR Ethan Downs, EDGE Jalil Farooq, WR Danny Stutsman, LB

The last recruiting class of Lincoln Riley’s Oklahoma tenure. The obvious headliner is quarterback Caleb Williams. Williams will be a Heisman finalist and possibly winner during his remaining time in college football.

2020

10/20/2018; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners CO offensive coordinator Bill Bedenbaugh during the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

National Ranking 13.
Top Rated Recruit Nate Anderson, OG

Other notable recruits:

Marvin Mims, WR Anton Harrison, OT Perrion Winfrey, DT

That’s a little interesting. The top two recruits in that class were both offensive lineman; not exactly common during the Riley era.

Perrion Winfrey was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 2022 NFL Draft.

2019

10/16/2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jadon Haselwood (11) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the second half against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

National Ranking 6.
Top Rated Recruit Jadon Haselwood, WR

Other notable recruits:

Spencer Rattler, QB Theo Wease, WR Austin Stogner, TE

Notable Transmission:

Jalen Hurts, QB (Alabama)

The player who made the most impact in a Sooners uniform wasn’t a high school recruit, he was a transfer. Jalen Hurts was the biggest name on the transfer portal and a huge asset for the Sooners.

Hurts rehabilitated his NFL draft inventory, and the Sooners got their ideal bridge QB while Spencer Rattler held a clipboard.

Rattler and his Oklahoma teammate Austin Stogner will both play for South Carolina this season.

2018

Oklahoma offensive lineman Brey Walker (70) warms up prior to an NCAA vs. TCU college football game Saturday, October 24, 2020, in Fort Worth, Texas. Oklahoma won 33-14. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

National Ranking 9.
Top Rated Recruit BreyWalker, OT

Other notable recruits;

Ronnie Perkins, DE DaShaun White, OLB Nik Bonitto, OLB Brian Asamoah, OLB Delarrin Turner-Yell, S. Gabe Brkic, K

That’s a lot of players who made it to the NFL. SMU QB Tanner Mordecai was also signed by the Sooners in this class.

2017

09/18/2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners defenseman Justin Broiles (25) and Oklahoma Sooners cornerback DJ Graham (9) react during the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

National Ranking 8th
Top Rated Recruit Justin Broiles, CB

Other notable recruits:

Tyrese Robinson, OG Tre Brown, CB Charleston Rambo, WR Kennedy Brooks, RB Trey Sermon, RB Isaiah Thomas, DL Creed Humphrey, C

Another class that boasts its share of NFL talent. Creed Humphrey was Pro Football Focus’ top-rated center in 2021 and will guard NFL face Patrick Mahomes for years to come.

Conclusion

April 23, 2022; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Brent Venables reacts during the spring game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Lincoln Riley did a lot of things right during his time in Oklahoma, and recruiting is something he and his staff have done very, very well. For a school not known for their defensive prowess, there are quite a few players on the defensive side of the ball who have ended up in the NFL.

For some reason, there never seemed to be enough talent on this one side of the ball to win a national championship.

Venables is off to a good start with likely back-to-back recruiting leagues in the top ten, but can he muster the extra talent to propel the Sooners over the college football playoff hump?

Early returns look promising.

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