There are options. There are always options and you can bet Lincoln Riley will explore them until none remain. Yes, losing the recruiting battle for Camar Wheaton was a blow to Oklahoma’s 2021 recruiting class but it was far from a crushing blow. Even without Wheaton OU still has the top recruiting class in the Big 12 and rank #9 nationally.
The Sooners have to add a running back though. It just isn’t feasible to go an entire recruiting cycle without landing a running back so that brings us back around to those options. At this point it may be more beneficial for Oklahoma to go the JUCO route, there are a few really good options there, but there’s also one outstanding prep prospect who has yet to sign anywhere.
Cypress, Texas running back LJ Johnson is the top prep running back left unsigned. Rated by 247Sports as the #3 running back for 2021, and the #5 overall prospect from the state of Texas, Johnson is thought to have narrowed his 40 scholarship offers down between Texas and Texas A&M. Oklahoma and LSU are among the teams that have offered and are still very much involved though.
Texas has already signed running back Jonathon Brooks (Hallettsville, TX) and A&M has signed Amari Daniels (Miami, FL). For that matter LSU has inked two running backs for 2021, leaving Oklahoma the only school, who Johnson is warm on, that can offer him the opportunity to be THE running back of the 2021 class.
If Johnson goes with either the Longhorns or the Aggies then expect DeMarco Murray to go looking in the JUCO ranks. If that becomes the case then I would imagine Garden City Community College running back Jordan Ford would be one of his first calls.
The speedster currently holds just two scholarship offers, Akron and Tennessee, but the word on him is that he’s looking for something bigger. With the #2 JUCO running back ranking, by 247Sports, I would imagine those bigger offers are going to start coming his way pretty quickly now. Especially from schools that have been left high and dry by prep prospects at the running back position.
Like Jordan Ford, Jeremiah Johnson is looking to upgrade from his lone offer to San Jose State. The 6-1/205 American River Community College running back is ranked just behind Ford as the #3 JUCO back in the nation and shows the ability to be a bruising type runner who can really lean on a defense.
House ran for 1,463 yards and 11 touchdowns in two seasons at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and may end up being the sleeper among the JUCO running backs. The 5-9/190 back is ranked as the #4 JUCO running back for 2021 and decomitted from Arkansas State two weeks ago.
No Shame In The JUCO Game
Oklahoma has hit homeruns from the junior college market in the past. Rhamondre Stevenson (Cerritos College) is the most recent JUCO player to become a star for the Sooners but let’s not forget about guys like Marquise Brown (College of the Canyons) who also rose from the JUCO ranks to find success wearing the crimson and cream.
If junior college is the option that Oklahoma takes to fill the running back spot then so be it. The main point here is that missing out on a prospect doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a worse case scenario coming. We’re almost at the one year anniversary of 5-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff decommitting. Is there anyone left in Sooner Nation who is still upset about that? I didn’t think so.
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