June 9, 2011

Sooners Final One-Day Camp is a Huge Boom

NORMAN, Okla. - Undoubtedly Oklahoma had been hoping for one monstrous collection of talent to descend onto their campus during the school's final one-day camp. The massive amount of talent on hand makes it almost impossible to know where to start but the most glaring gathering of prospects was on an area of Oklahoma's practice field that had been lacking for elite names. The trenches for days had seen a few quality linemen here and there but so far had not lived up to camps of years gone by.

Leading the way were high profile Texas tackles Jake Raulerson of Celina and Trey Keenan of Argyle.

Raulerson, a 2013 prospect, has gone from little known to one of the hottest junior offensive lineman in the Big 12 region and after a stellar performance picked up a Sooner offer on Wednesday afternoon. Raulerson isn't currently the biggest offensive tackle at roughly 6-foot-5, and 250-pounds but has great feet and the long arms to keep defensive ends within reach. Throughout the day he was clearly the offensive line position's top performer and even showed off some ability along the defensive line to be a difference maker as a pass-rushing defensive end.

If Raulerson wants for anything it's size, which is something that figures to happen naturally as his long and lean frame will just continue to fill out as he gets older and develops as another star from the historic Bobcats program.

As a matter of fact he was one of the few defensive ends who managed to give Keenan a solid fight. Keenan, a sturdy 6-foot-5 and 285-pounds, got off to a slow start in the morning session but in the afternoon workout looked much better in his battles with Raulerson and a pair of defensive ends that showed flashes of real talent moving forward. Keenan has offers from coast to coast and it's not hard to figure why as he looks like the prototypical future right tackle who can anchor at the point of attack and only figures to improve as he gets bigger and continued to physically develop.

Among more well known names for Sooner fans Cayman Bundage of Oklahoma City Douglass was his typical impressive self showing off great footwork and overall understanding of his role along the offensive line. Bundage is well versed in camp situations and not surprisingly looked impressive. Similarly Oklahoma City Putnam City North's Daniel Burton showed off great feet but a light base that is the one remaining question that exists for many college coaches who have been by to see the big Panther.

Raulerson's senior teammate, Jordan Roos, was another of the offensive line's real pleasant surprises. He showed up from start to finish and has the look of a high-end Big 12 offensive guard. To date Roos only has a single offer and watching his work on Wednesday, it's inexplicable. He showed off good feet, good use of his hands and one of the nastiest streaks you'll ever see in a camp with no pads below the shoulder.

Honestly, in normal scholarship years for Oklahoma Roos would almost certainly be an offer. His performance was one of the best of any player at any position on the day.

As with any good story, there were two sides to the battle in the trenches and this one was no different as the defensive line showed up with plenty of ammunition of their own.

Leading the talented group was undoubtedly Euless (Texas) Trinity defensive end Polo Manukainiu . The massive 6-foot-5, 265-pound pass-rusher might be expected to show heavy feet and struggle with the basic moves of pass-rushing but it was clear early on watching him through agility and position drills that he would have no such struggle. Manukainiu went through several one on one situations and for the most part was more than Keenan could handle in the times SoonerScoop.com saw him go through.

For every bit that Manukainiu lived up to billing, Michael Onuoha exceeded expectations. The problem with that reality is that Onuoha came in as unknown but as soon as other campers started to arrive it was almost impossible to ignore the 6-foot-5, 225-pound edge rusher that looks like the type of prospect NFL guys are evaluating and a guy college coaches would be almost embarrassed to admit they have the ability to bring in.

Onuoha's story is not an unusual one, for much of his high school career he has fancied himself as a basketball player but as he enters his senior season at Santa Fe he is starting to realize that what is an every day frame in basketball can be a truly special one in football.

Onuoha is long and lean but unlike many former basketball players, physicality was no problem for him as he mixed it up with more than one offensive tackle and even gave the equally athletic Raulerson a good fight on several occasions. As he continues to learn expect him to blow up this summer and fall if the Santa Fe coaches can continue to show him that a free education is some hard work and a football season away.

The two defensive ends certainly made their names more widely known but one defensive tackle that showed flashes of being someone special was Tulsa Memorial's Novis Cullom. The 6-foot-3, 285-pound prospect has work to do to become the type of player his ability says he can be but big guys with great feet don't fall off trees and Cullom is learning the game each and every day. If he puts in the work to trim up and get stronger this summer, there is no telling how far his name may grow in recruiting circles.

Receivers Running Wild

If the trenches were the most interesting due to quality talent on both sides the receivers on Wednesday certainly took home the title of the most talented singular position with any number of future division one prospects catching passes on Oklahoma's intramural fields.

Without a doubt the player that caught everyone's eye from the minute he arrived was Rosenberg (Texas) Terry superstar receiver Derrick Griffin. Standing over 6-foot-5, and roughly 210-pounds Griffin is a long and lean receiver that is still growing into his body but is great at creating space for his quarterbacks to find him and unlike so many big receivers who use their body to shield he doesn't simply get in the way and put his body in front of the ball, he plucks passes and does a good job of going to the ball. Surprisingly he needs to improve a bit on his adjustments to underthrown ball but some of that is a matter of filling out his frame and the further coordination that will almost certainly come with it.

Two names that have become well known on the camp circuit through the last few years are Owasso, Okla. standout Keon Hatcher and Jeffrey Thomas of Duncanville, Texas.

Hatcher, who took home WR MVP of the TCU NIKE camp, is a big and physical receiver who simply bullies corners who simply aren't capable of dealing with his jumbo frame. It's not unlike watching Cowboys star Miles Austin use a running back's build to overwhelm smaller corners.

Thomas meanwhile is 6-foot-4, and 180-pounds and like Griffin does a great job of shielding defenders from the ball, he'll need to add a lot of weight to his frame before he is truly ready for the college game but it doesn't change that he is a future difference maker in college.

While 2012 was represented 2013 stole the day at wide receiver not only with Griffin but Dallas Jesuit's statistical snowball Jake Oliver and Dallas Kimball's acrobat Prentavious Moorhead.

Oliver is a receiver that put up massive stats game after game for the Rangers as a junior and, not surprisingly, has picked up a boatload of offers for a player yet to play a snap of junior football. Oliver is a quality deep threat that is somewhat reminiscent physically of former Sooner signing Eric Huggins.

While Oliver's game is refined and incredibly calculated there is something of a organized chaos to the way that Moorhead gets the job done. Watching him for much of Wednesday he looked the part of simply another athlete but after making a few highlight reel catches including a one-handed grab that he seemed to drop twice before finally securing with his left hand while at full stretch, it's pretty clear that he is another one to watch for the Knights.

Of course any collection of good receivers needs quality quartberacks to deliver them passes and without a doubt two truly stood out on Wednesday, Chris Johnson of Bryan, Texas and Houston St. Pius X star Kohl Stewart.

Chris Johnson is a big and physically imposing quarterback cut out of the Vince Young, Terrelle Pryor mold. However unlike both he showed off a nice knack for spinning the ball and through an incredibly pretty ball. Look out for him to really grab attention moving forward in a 2013 Texas class that has several interesting dual-threat quarterback types.

Stewart, while a good athlete, simply doesn't wow you physically with his make-up like Johnson. However to watch him warm up after arriving with former Sooner quarterback Joey Halzle it's not hard to figure out what all the fuss is about. When Stewart releases a pass it is definitely one you almost feel you can hear moving through the air. Stewart isn't statuesque but not unlike 2013 Oklahoma countepart Brayden Scott he simply does everything to a degree that makes one forget he might not be on the right side of 6-foot-3.

Not surprisingly there were several cornerbacks who answered the bell against the talented group of pass-catchers and as we started with Griffin it seems only fair to start with the one corner who actually came out with more wins than losses against the massive receiver, Wagoner's Kevin Peterson.

From start to finish he was under Willie Martinez's microscope and seemed to answer the bell like so many future Sooner defensive backs have done through the years in a similar scenario. Peterson looked good in press coverage and even on the rare occasion when he did give up a completion you could see him improving from one snap to the next. From time to time Peterson will play a little high and can sometimes forget fundamentals but when he is on and zeroed in he is clearly Oklahoma's top defensive back.

Joining him as standouts were Wagoner teammate Kerwin Thomas, Irving (Texas) MacArthur's Taion Sells, and Tarean Gipson of Dallas Kimball. Thomas is still learning the ropes but though he is skinny he was willing to mix it up with the big boys and may even be a touch more fluid than his highly thought of teammate.

Sells and Gipson aren't the world's biggest guys but they both love to be physical as both rode more than one receiver completely out of bounds or worse, to the ground. Sells figures as a safety in the college game while Gipson really does look like a promising young corner that undoubtedly had the eye of Martinez as soon as he finished his workouts with the running backs on Wednesday.

NOTES:

*Justin Manning was undoubtedly a player that everyone wanted to hear about and have a look at on Wednesday but due to a serious cast on his right hand he wasn't able to take part in many drills. That being said SoonerScoop.com did catch up with him off campus for a video interview which can be expected in the near future.

*For the first time all week Cale Gundy had a running back that was turning heads with Cedar Hill, Texas star Laquivionte Gonzalez. The diminutive back has great feet and is a natural receiver out of the backfield. To top off his abilities some expect him to be the program's most dominant player since William Cole led the program to it's first state title in 2006.

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