The Oklahoma Sooners’ secondary was the biggest problem on defense this season and the 2012 recruiting class was focused on improving that area specifically.
However, the departure of secondary coach Willie Martinez and defensive coordinator Brent Venables has led to two of the Sooners’ top secondary commitments to rescind those commitments.
First, DeVante Harris, the No. 3 rated cornerback according to Rivals and No. 144 on the ESPNU 150 list, switched his commitment to Texas A&M. Harris had an impressive showing in the Under Armour All-America game the week before he decided to decommit, so OU fans were stunned and very disappointed when he tweeted he was longer going to be attending the University of Oklahoma.
Then, yesterday, Kevin Peterson, the state defensive player of the year as awarded by The Oklahoman, switched his commitment from Oklahoma to in-state rival Oklahoma State. Peterson had committed to the Sooners on December 18, but took a visit to Stillwater this past weekend.
So now, the Sooners are left with one committed cornerback in their 2012 class. Junior college cornerback Kass Everett is already on campus and taking classes at OU. He switched his commitment from Texas Tech to come to Norman. The Sooners are also pursuing cornerback Brandon Beaver of Compton, Calif.
The Sooners have quite a few defensive backs on the roster already, but they are young and inexperienced once you get past the starters. Demontre Hurst, Tony Jefferson, and Aaron Colvin will form the nucleus of the unit in 2012.
Safety Javon Harris, the target of much of the Sooners’ problems last season, also returns and will most likely be a starter once again. A quintet of young cornerbacks, Gabe Lynn, Julian Wilson, James Haynes, Quentin Hayes, and Bennett Okotcha, also return.
All of those players are talented, but their youth is certainly a scary factor. Gabe Lynn filled in for an injured Jamell Fleming against Texas Tech this past season and was torched time after time in the Sooners’ stunning home loss.
If Oklahoma can snag a commitment from Beaver, things will be a lot better. With Mike Stoops now in charge of the secondary, there is no doubt that talent will be developed. Stoops had only two players drafted in the NFL during his first stint in Norman, but still fielded a top 10 defense from 2000-2004. That’s a definite testament to his ability to mold and develop talented players into stars.
However, overall, the Sooners have only four defensive commitments in a class of 18, including junior college transfers. That number has to change in the future. No matter how good the Oklahoma offense becomes, it does no good to have a defense that gives up 30 points a game.
The main concern for Oklahoma is defense, and it needs to be addressed.