Oklahoma’s 2018 recruiting class ranked 9th nationally (Per 247Sports), which was the second highest ranking in the Big 12. Thirteen of OU’s twenty-two signees were ranked 4-stars or higher. More importantly, ten members of the class enrolled early and were on campus for spring ball.
There are multiple members of the 2018 class that are expected to not only see the field this fall but to make a significant impact, perhaps none more than Brendan Radley-Hiles.
|2018 Oklahoma Football Recruiting Class|
|(*) Indicates junior college transfer|
A five-star prospect coming out of IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL), Brendan Radley-Hiles certainly lived up to the hype through spring ball.
“He’s everything that I thought he would be. He’s not polished right now, but he’s very instinctive and athletic,” Oklahoma defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks said of Radley-Hiles this spring. “The kid can play nickel, you can bounce him out to cornerback. The kid is just a football player. He has a high football IQ. You saw that, but you never what you’re actually gonna get until you see it. It’s good that he’s everything we thought he would.”
Radley-Hiles worked out at three different positions (corner, nickle, safety) in spring practice, but nickle back is his most likely landing spot. His ability to play multiple positions in the secondary not only gives him high-impact value to the defense, but also earned him immediate respect from his teammates.
“He takes this game serious,” cornerback Tre Norwood said during the spring. “He’s playing like he’s a veteran, you wouldn’t think he was a freshman if you came out here and watched him. He takes the game to the next level.”
Oklahoma’s star in the making had such a terrific spring that ESPN’s Jake Trotter tabbed him as the Sooners’ Spring Breakout Player.
“The true freshman known as Bookie worked his way into a starting role in the Sooners’ secondary in just one spring on campus. The ESPN 300 early enrollee owns the versatility to play corner, nickelback or safety. And he should bring a playmaking element that has been sorely missing from the Oklahoma defensive backfield in recent years.” – Jake Trotter
“He’s got that energy that is contagious,” safety Kahlil Haughton said. “You just want to play better with him.”
Obviously the hope is that Bookie’s spring momentum will be able to transition to the fall. That factor alone will determine the significance of his impact. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops is all in on that impact being huge.
“He makes the game look easy. For a young player of this magnitude, at this level, you don’t see it very often. He’s beyond his years in a lot of different ways.” – Mike Stoops
Brendan Radley-Hiles (@Bookie_44) was all over the place in the Red-White game. He doesn't play like a freshman. Despite it being a spring game, you can tell he's going to be a player for the #Sooners. pic.twitter.com/DjOxGzMDdd
— Dylan Buckingham (@DylanBuckingham) April 15, 2018
Other 2018 Signees That Could Make An Immediate Impact
Two junior college transfers joined the class of 2018. Both are on the offensive line and both will have an opportunity to immediately compete for playing time. Tramonda Moore has a strong chance to move into the starting right tackle spot, and you can’t ignore the size of David Swaby (6-9/315).
Brendan Radley-Hiles wasn’t the only freshman defensive back to produce a strong showing in the spring. Patrick Fields has a shot at filling the void left by Steven Parker at strong safety.
Defensive ends Ron Tatum and Jalen Redmond could both make their way on the field in 2018. Both are in the mix for a spot in the defensive rotation. Tatum is still working his way on campus (finishing up a summer class) but Redmond has been in Norman since the spring semester started and got a long look at outside linebacker.