The first mess of Brent Venables era went as almost all of them have gone into Mike Gundy Regine, with Oklahoma jumping early on Oklahoma State and clinging to a 28-13 win at Norman last Saturday night.
Venables and the Sooners achieved bowl eligibility in the process, ahead of a strong group of recruits who made their way to campus for the experience.
Defender of the Cathedral of Los Angeles (California). Ashton Sanders made his official visit to Oklahoma and left after signing up for Venables and his associates, contributing to a streak ranked 7th nationally by the 247Sports Composite. Sanders had a great senior season with 82 tackles, 22 stops for loss, 10 sacks and 56 quarterback rushes. Venables is looking for more disruptive players as he seeks to quickly reverse a defense that’s ranked 112th nationally.
Katy (Texas) Paetow Five Star Defense Attorney David Hicks also took his official visit. It doesn’t get much bigger. The Texas A&M commit and the nation’s No. 1 defender also gives the Sooners and Oregon a strong look late in his trial and would obviously be a massive commitment for anyone he ultimately papers for Dec. 21, if College prospects can ink with the school of their choice.
“It was really good,” said Hicks father David. “It’s always very good. We had a really good time and it’s always good when they win.”
Oklahoma has had momentum recruiting Hicks before. He also visited Oregon this past weekend and will return to Texas A&M the weekend of December 16th.
“It’s still just Coach V’s holistic approach on and off the field to discipline and culture in the building and really taking an approach to building young men rather than just football players,” explained the elder Hicks. “Right now he’s still stuck at A&M. You always want to be safe. They were always right there. He’s still A&M at the moment.”
Many of Oklahoma’s commitments returned and the Sooners also hosted several other 2023 goals that they would like to add, including five-star safety Peyton Bowen, a longtime Notre Dame conscript who has spent more time at OU than in South Bend this fall. They also had JUCO defensive back Kendle Dolby and Nolensville (Tenn.) High Ridge Taylor wine.
“Man I loved it, the setting rocked it!” said Dolby. “You can tell these fans love this team no matter what type of season they are in. What strikes me the most is really this coaching team, who you can tell goes deeper than football for them. They really care about building a relationship with their players and recruits.”
Some of the top 2024 prospects in America also visited Oklahoma for this one.
“Man it was crazy I had the best time ever,” IMG Academy 247Sports Composite five-star David Stone said. “The defense was great last night and the support from the fans made everything even better.”
“The environment for the game was loud and crowded as always and I enjoyed seeing the save ball the way they did and seeing them get the hang of it even though it’s late in the season, that they figure things out.” Melissa (Texas) High Top247 Defenseman Nigel Smith II said.
“The environment was electric, especially in the first quarter,” Logan (Iowa) said of Magnolia’s 247Sports composite four-star offense give brix said. “I’ve never been to a Sooner football game before and really enjoyed it. I was able to interact with a great group of recruits and had a lot of one on one chats with the coaching staff. I also had great pre-game discussions with Coach Venables at the 50 yard line.”
There were also several elite prospects for 2025.
“The environment at Norman was a family environment,” said five-star cornerback Katy (Texas) Paetow Deyjhon Pettaway said. “The entire staff is loving and united. The fans were also proud of Oklahoma for their achievements so far. What stands out is definitely their fans and the way the staff are bought into the players.”
“I definitely felt the energy of a rivalry game,” said La Verne (California) Bonita Top247 linebacker Noah Mikhail said. “The fans were cheered until the end. The defense was strong. I definitely notice the culture and energy of the coaches and staff.”
“The atmosphere at OU is special,” San Juan Hills (California), Top247 linebacker Weston Harbour said. “It’s unlike any other school I’ve been to. What struck me is how much I connected with the entire staff. It was great talking to Coach Venables because it’s so obvious what a great guy he is. One of the most important things I look for in a school is how well I connect with the coaches, and in Oklahoma I feel like I’ve clicked with everyone.