Oklahoma Sooners 2011 Recruiting Class: The Best of the Rest
Last week, we looked at the top recruits in the Oklahoma Sooners' 2011 recruiting class. These players are sure to make an immediate impact as soon as they set foot on the practice fields in Norman, whether that be a starting role or simply pushing older players for those positions.
Now we turn our attention to the rest of the recruiting class. These are all great players, don't get me wrong, but the fact of the matter is that they aren't quite on the same level as the other players in this class. This group of players will need some time to develop and will probably see some redshirts, or even some greyshirts, according to some rumblings around the program.
However, these players are instrumental in the continued building of a successful program at the University of Oklahoma, and they will play a key role when their time comes two or three years down the road. It's a fact of life that college football teams often have more great players than they need at a particular time.
But these players will be ready and will work hard in preparation for when their names are called.
Kameel Jackson, Wide Receiver
Rivals Rating: 4-star, #30 WR
ESPN Rating: 4-star, #38 WR
Jackson is a tough wide receiver that gets into routes very well and can catch the ball in a crowd. While not the fastest or biggest player on the field, Jackson makes up for that with his shiftiness and elusiveness. He is a hard runner and has a long stride that lulls defenders into a false sense of security, allowing him to stay a step ahead of them.
The knock against Jackson is that he doesn't have a second gear of speed. He isn't the explosive speed demon type of a player that will kick it up a notch and leave defenders in the dust. He makes up for that in other phases of his game, but that lack of speed will probably keep him from being an elite wide receiver at the next level.
Max Stevenson, Tight End
Rivals Rating: 4-star, #12 TE
ESPN Rating: 3-star, #17 TE
Stevenson is the high school teammate of fellow Oklahoma recruit Nathan Hughes, both of Klein Oak High School. At 6'6", Stevenson is a great target in red zone situations and for passes down the seam. Not a flashy player, Stevenson has shown good ability to catch the ball with his hands and is a fairly decent blocker. He is also an excellent route runner and is most dangerous while catching the ball on a full run.
The big drawback for Stevenson is that he is not a big guy. Checking in at 230 pounds, he needs to add some serious bulk in order to be an effective tight end at the next level. This will help him be stronger in the passing game and also a better blocker. He has the frame to fill out to a bigger size, so this shouldn't be a problem over the next several years.
Dan Tapko, Tight End
Rivals Rating: 4-star, #12 TE
ESPN Rating: 3-star, #24 TE
Tapko is a versatile player, playing defensive end in high school in addition to his role as a tight end. Some scouts think that he could play defensive end in college as well. However, many feel he would be better suited as a tight end. Tapko is more of a blocking tight end and has a good skill set for doing that. He also has good, but not great, pass-catching ability, using his hands most of the time to make catches.
Tapko also needs to fill out his frame a bit more to be a really effective college player. He is a tough guy, but still needs to work on technique in blocking, primarily in the area of going after defensive players and initiating the block. Also, he could work on his ability as a receiver. It's not his greatest strength.
Kendal Thompson, Quarterback
Rivals Rating: 3-star, #14 QB
ESPN Rating: 3-star, #22 QB
Thompson is drawing comparisons to LSU's Russell Shephard in terms of his athleticism and versatility to be a wide receiver or safety at the next level. Thompson is definitely a quality quarterback though, with a good arm and great ability to throw on the run and move around in the pocket. A throw-first quarterback, Thompson has great touch on deep passes and knows how to vary speed on his passes based on the tightness of the coverage.
Thompson doesn't have the greatest mechanics in the world, and he will probably need to get those fixed in order to succeed as a quarterback at the next level. Time with Josh Heupal will take care of those issues fairly quickly. It is unknown if Oklahoma plans to use him as a quarterback or move him to receiver, where he will see the field more and make a bigger and more immediate impact.
Archie Bradley, Quarterback
Rivals Rating: 3-star, #24 QB
ESPN Rating: 3-star, #19 QB
Bradley has a huge arm and is also a pitcher when he plays baseball. He has the ability to make all sorts of throws all over the field. He has great size for a quarterback, and can go under center or in shotgun with ease. Solid mechanics help him make great throws to the outside and touch passes down the field and over the middle.
Bradley can develop into a solid football player if he chooses to focus solely on football. Right now, he is planning on playing both sports at Oklahoma. He has a slight windup in his throwing motion with the football that could be a baseball-related thing, but this really isn't much of an issue.
Cooper Washington, Defensive End
Rivals Rating: 3-star, #14 DE
ESPN Rating: 3-star, #43 DE
Washington's biggest strength is his hands, which he uses to the maximum in maintaining separation with offensive linemen, batting down passes and keeping a good pad level. He's an aggressive player and a solid tackler. He also has good speed coming off the edge and knows how to take advantage of every mistake made by opposing linemen.
Washington needs to fill out his frame a bit more and also become a more sure tackler. He has a tendency to make arm tackles. Also, he isn't a speed rusher from his end position, so developing his full repertoire of skills is important for him to be effective at the next level.
Franklin Shannon, Safety/Outside Linebacker
Rivals Rating: 3-star, #33 OLB
ESPN Rating: 3-star, #48 S
A product of the Division I factory Dallas Skyline High School, Shannon has the size to play both safety and outside linebacker at the next level. Shannon has good speed and runs through the tackle really well. His speed also helps him cover receivers and tight ends. He is also a very hard hitter and comes out of his breaks nicely.
Shannon needs to work on his reads from the linebacker position, and also needs to play lower and more fluidly. He has been known to play a bit rigid and stiff at times. A bit more mass for the linebacker position wouldn't hurt either.
Derek Farniok, Offensive Tackle
Rivals Rating: 3-star, #77 tackle
ESPN Rating: 3-star, #56 tackle
Farniok is an absolute monster, checking in at 6'9" and 320 pounds. Obviously, he has the size to be a dominating force along the offensive line in the future for the Sooners. He has great feet, both fast and quick, and can get out of his stance nicely and move with his blocks as well. He uses his arms to his advantage and can become a phenomenal pass blocker because of that. He also does a good job of staying in front of rushers and doesn't buckle under a power rush.
His size is a hindrance at time, causing him to play too high, but overall, he does a good job of compensating for that. He could fill out his frame a bit more and then, with time, become a really excellent lineman.