Oklahoma recruiting: Lack of depth underscores importance of linebacker in next class

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Stay up to date with Oklahoma football recruiting with the latest news and notes and analysis in the daily edition of DieHards’ Wagon Wheels. In this edition we look at the growing importance of linebackers in the 2018 class.

Linebackers become focus

On the surface, Lincoln Riley’s announcement that junior linebacker Curtis Bolton suffered a season-ending ankle injury shouldn’t affect recruiting much.

But take another look. This is Bolton’s fourth year in the program. He’ll be one of five linebackers expected to return for next season.

It doesn’t matter what defensive scheme the Sooners employ, they need to at least start a season with a 3-deep depth chart. History says there will be attrition because of injuries and other issues. Bolton, sophomore Ricky DeBerry, sophomore Caleb Kelly, redshirt freshman Jon Michael Terry, freshman Kenneth Murray, who is starting, and freshman Levi Draper, who is redshirting after having season-ending surgery in August, are it.

The Sooners list sophomore Mark Jackson and freshman Addison Gumbs as defensive ends. That could change in the future because the depth is so thin that position moves could be necessary.

It makes the 2018 class a pivotal one in for the linebacker positions.

Players that move immediately into the starting lineup like Murray are rare. An injury to Terry in the preseason  helped create Murray’s ascension.

Expect the Sooners to sell that to linebacker prospects in the final months before the December signing period. They have 3-star Brian Asamoah committed and certainly have 3-star DaShaun White’s — a Texas A&M commit — interest. By all accounts, 4-star Merlin Robertson’s official visit three weeks ago went well.

But the Sooners have something to offer that most blue blood programs can’t offer a coveted linebacker recruit; that’s a thin depth chart heading into next season and the potential for immediate playing time.

Trejan Bridges hunts for a roommate

Class of 2019 4-star receiver Trejan Bridges committed to Oklahoma on Sept. 5. Apparently, Bridges doesn’t want to wait until he gets to campus to find who will be his roommate will be.

The Oklahoma pledge is actively pursuing 5-star 2019 recruit Theo Wease Jr. to fill the room.

Wease is the No. 21 player in the 2019 class, per 247Sports composite ranking, and he’s from Allen, Texas. The Sooners roster is a comfortable place for former Allen High School Eagles. Backup quarterback Kyler Murray, who is likely Oklahoma’s starter in 2018, is an alum. Right tackle Bobby Evans and backup tight end Lee Morris are also graduates.

Oklahoma sends out a 2018 offer

Apparently, Oklahoma has jumped in the mix for Arizona Western College tight end Dominick Anderson. The tight end reported the offer on Monday.

Anderson committed to Texas in August. Members of Oklahoma’s coach staff were in Arizona last weekend to watch recruits. That trip also included a visit to see Anderson in person.

Miss a previous edition of Wagon Wheels? Get caught up here.

The post Oklahoma recruiting: Lack of depth underscores importance of linebacker in next class appeared first on Diehards.

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