The Sooners may be underwhelming on the field this season but they’re definitely in the thick of some key recruiting battles as December 21st and the early signing period approaches. Despite holding a 5-5 record, with two games remaining on the season, Brent Venables has put together a 2023 recruiting class that currently ranks #7 nationally and is highlighted by a pair of 5-star prospects in quarterback Jackson Arnold and edge rusher PJ Adebawore.
Arnold will be on campus, along with running back commit Kalib Hicks, for Bedlam as a part of Oklahoma’s final big recruiting push involving a home game. Arnold and Hicks are both key figures in the 2023 class and Venables is hoping that they’ll have some influence over a couple of 5-star prospects that will be in attendance despite being committed elsewhere. It’s not only impressive that the Sooners are still getting top talent to consider being a part of the 2023 class, it’s also important that they land some of them. These are guys that are not only some of the top talent in the nation, they’re also guys that could have an immediate impact on Oklahoma’s roster.
5-Star DL David Hicks
Even after all of the theatrics of his Midnight Hour commitment to Texas A&M, OU still has another shot at the #9 player in the entire 2023 recruiting class. Hicks is ranked, by 247Sports, as the top defensive line recruit in the class and the top overall player from the state of Texas. He was long rumored to be in the fold for Oklahoma’s 2023 class which is what made his sudden commitment to the Aggies that much more shocking.
Regardless of the drama surrounding his recruitment, there’s a lot to love about Hicks as a player. His 6-4/270 frame is ready to be involved in a plug-and-play situation. He’s strong at the point of attack and plays with a high motor. He’s a three-sport athlete which rounds out his versatility on the football field and is a primary reason why he’s going to finish his prep career with nearly 40 scholarship offers.
4-Star S Peyton Bowen
It’s long been rumored that Bowen is shopping around despite being committed to Notre Dame. It makes sense that Oklahoma could be a landing point for Bowen because he is teammates with Jackson Arnold. While noting is guaranteed you can expect Arnold to take the lead on selling the 5-star on the dream of being a star for the crimson and cream.
Bowen (6-0/185) has 32 scholarship offers and seems to very much be in play. He’s freakishly athletic and could land at any position in the defensive secondary and find success. He was a Texas District 5-6A first-team selection as a junior last year and should be on track to repeat again in 2022. I can’t stress how important his relationship to Arnold is going to be for this weekend.
4-Star LB Daymion Sanford
Surprise! David Hicks isn’t the only Texas A&M commit to be in Norman this weekend. Sanford has been committed to the Aggies since June 27th but was offered by Oklahoma earlier this month and will be in attendance for the Bedlam game. Also a multi-sport athlete, Sanford is ranked as the #39 edge rusher in the class and the #62 overall prospect from the state of Texas. He currently has 26 scholarship offers and seems to be a threat to flip on the Aggies if he finds the right suiter. This is the kid that could easily replace Colton Vasek in the class as Oklahoma’s pass rusher.
Snagging commitments from all three of these guys would put Oklahoma back in the Top 5 of the recruiting rankings and give OU some much needed good news on the heels of what has been a borderline agonizing season. However, any one of these players has the capability to expedite Oklahoma’s turnaround from year one to year two of the Venables era and that’s what makes this a very important weekend for Coach V. and the Sooners beyond what happens on the field.
Follow us on Twitter: @SportsHeartland