Sooner Intel: News and nuggets, Pt. I

OU target Will Sunderland

Catching up on wild week that was for OU on the recruiting trail.

The Sooner Intel is an inside look into Oklahoma football and basketball recruiting and is solely for Sooners Illustrated subscribers. It is a sneak peek into what's happening with OU recruiting and is not to be distributed anywhere else.

Race for Sunderland heats up

Any other week the biggest headline in the state would be about Midwest City (Okla.) High safety Will Sunderland because it has certainly been an interesting seven days for the Scout 300 prospect.

Sunderland took the ACT on Saturday morning and headed straight to Norman for OU's spring game. OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops made sure he went straight to Sunderland on the sideline and shake his hand and give him a hug.

Unfortunately for OU fans, Sunderland left early because he had to get ready for prom so no quality one-on-one time with the coaches this time. There was something that stood out, though.

"I love the support from all the fans," Sunderland said. "It was so great. I've been to a lot of visits to OU in the last year, but there was something about this one. The fans were yelling my name, asking for my autograph. It was great."

He also got to reconnect with a couple of OU signees. Michiah Quick and Joe Mixon were both on official visits to OU in October when Sunderland was on one of his unofficial visits. The trio spent a lot more time together this last weekend.

Mixon, in particular, had some words for Sunderland.

"He was telling me how he was in the same boat as me at this time," Sunderland said. "He said don't make the choice right now. Think it through, do what you got to do and then don't question your decision."

That decision got a little harder to make when the Ohio State offer came Tuesday morning. Sunderland has developed a strong rapport with the Buckeyes coaching staff since February.

The plan has been for Sunderland to make the trip to Columbus this summer, but it still remains to be seen if that will be possible.

The offer, it seems, was pushed up a week. Midwest City defensive coordinator Jason Sexton said Ohio State was supposed to visit Midwest City next week, and that's when the expected offer was going to occur.

Perhaps based off Sunderland's incredible camp circuit, Buckeyes figured it was best not to wait. Sunderland said OU has a slight advantage on the rest of the field, but it's a wide open field.

One thing some have wondered is why hasn't Sunderland accumulated the offers somebody of his stature you think would get? Sexton has a brutally honest answer.

"Tons of coaches have said that he is obviously offered if they have a chance at all," Sexton said. "I'm honest with them. When your first offer is OU, then they are aware there is very little chance outside Oklahoma State, Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Florida State, Ohio State (who are all actively pursuing him).

"He and I have been honest as to not waste coaches or colleges' time and money when they point-blank asked that question to us. I want them to know they will get a straight answer from me from now until forever in recruiting other kids even if it's not what they want to hear."

The plan remains to visit Arkansas next weekend for the Razorbacks spring game. At one point a commitment looked imminent to OU. It might still be the Sooners, but it's going to take some time.

Haughton receives words of wisdom

Some recruits went to the spring game to relax and have a good time. It was a bit of a mission for Waco (Texas) Midway four-star safety Kahlil Haughton.

Haughton received his OU offer in person at the first junior day in February, and it's obvious the Sooners have struck the right note with him right now.

It wasn't planned, but Haughton had a chance to talk with OU signee Jordan Thomas about the recruiting process. Thomas might have been the best choice to talk with considering his circumstances.

"I talked a lot with him and about his decision after being committed to Northwestern for so long and what he likes about it," Haughton said.

Thomas was committed to Northwestern for more than a year before flipping to the Sooners in January following an official visit.

The combination of the length of his commitment and to what school is what stood out. One thing Haughton's mother is trying to make sure is that her son gets the best education possible.

"My mom definitely thinks it's a great school, but it's not as prestigious as some of the others," Haughton said.

An example would be a school like Northwestern, known as much for its academics as its football. Haughton isn't ready to pull the trigger by any means. But if it was OU right now, he could live with that.

"It's something I have thought about," Haughton said. "If I picked OU, I wouldn't regret it, but I'm evaluating all the schools right now."

Patterson returns to Norman

It just doesn't compute on the surface. There was absolutely no reason for Lawton (Okla.) High defensive back Darreyl Patterson to make the trip to OU this last weekend.

But it was just something he had to do, he said.

Patterson, along with teammate and OU offer Jalin Barnett, started their Saturday by taking the ACT. It felt like that would eliminate any chance of them showing up because of the length of the test combined with the drive to Norman.

But they made it work, heading straight to OU from the test, and Patterson said they arrived there essentially as the game started.

"I had to go," Patterson said. "I wanted to see how it was. I liked it a lot. The fans were so great. I had a lot of fun."

Patterson enjoyed signing autographs for the kids, but he said him and Barnett had to leave before they had any quality conversations with the coaches.

He said he liked the style of play for the defense and believes he would fit right in. Will that happen? Remains to be seen, and the first part of Saturday will go a long way toward determining that.

"Yea, I am feeling pretty confident (about the ACT)," Patterson said. "I thought I did well. I'm hoping I did well."

Patterson said he is visiting Tulsa this weekend and hopes to make it back to Kansas State. Both the Golden Hurricane and the Wildcats have already offered the rising in-state prospect. Patterson picked up an Arkansas State offer earlier this week.

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