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Sooners 2023 early enrollees class has arrived in Norman #Sooners #early #enrollees #class #arrived #Norman #englishheadline


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There are going to be a lot of ways Oklahoma attempts to bounce back from its first losing season since 1998.

Entering the second year of the Brent Venables era, one clear thing is Venables and staff trying to bring in as many of their guys as quick as possible.

OU is well into the double-digits for its 2023 class as mid-year enrollees. With classes beginning Tuesday, well, it’s as official as it’s going to get.

Junior college cornerback Kendel Dolby was announced by OU as one of the mid-year guys, but as of Monday evening, he was still not enrolled in the OU database.

A look at who OU is bringing in to get ready for winter conditioning and spring football.

(Alphabetical order and enrollment confirmed)

The story: A round of applause for evaluations because nobody really knew what Adebawore was about to do during his senior season. He was sensational and is starting to become that guy Venables and Miguel Chavis were so excited about back when Adebawore committed. Don’t worry about his final recruiting ranking, just worry about how quickly he can become a factor in 2023.

The story: If it’s been said once, it’s been said a thousand times, but it’s still true. The face, the foundation of the class. Arnold was the one who let recruits know OU’s offensive recruiting is going to be a-OK under Venables, and he did a tremendous job of keeping the class strong during the 6-7 roller coaster. Worst-case scenario? Arnold learns under Dillon Gabriel and is ready for 2024. Anything more is just gravy at this point.

The story: Bates has been called the original or the last man standing multiple times as he’ll forever be known as the last commitment from Lincoln Riley to make it to OU. He’s more than that, though. It can be hard for centers to stand out, sometimes, but Bates was so dominant on the field that he bumped his ranking up to being a four-star by season’s end.

The story: Forget the drama of Notre Dame, Oregon or OU and just embrace what the Sooners are about to have with Bowen at safety. He needs to get a little stronger, but there were very few recruits who affected their respective games more than Bowen. He was a tour de force on all three sides of the ball. His recruitment story will forever be known, but now it’s time for him to show why he was worth all the long days and nights.

The story: You can go through each position and circle someone as that’s going to be the guy. For offensive line and Bill Bedenbaugh, Green is the one. He had been talked about for a while and lived up to expectations during the last two seasons, punctuating his high school career with a dominant outing during the Under Armour All-America Game.

The story: There’s a youth movement at the running back room, and OU is bringing in two more this spring. Hicks didn’t dazzle people, but he put up some numbers and seems like he’ll have a role carved out in the offense. Hicks was one of four signees that traveled to Orlando and practiced with OU in getting the Sooners ready for the Cheez-It Bowl.

The story: LeBlanc was another one of those four. You could tell, physically, there is so much for the Sooners to work with when it comes to LeBlanc. Like most freshmen in the trenches, it’s going to be about how quickly he takes to the strength and conditioning room and how quickly his body can adjust to what’s being asked. LeBlanc was another one of the very vocal pro-OU recruits during their struggles.

The story: It wasn’t the storybook ending to his high school career McCarty wanted, but he still had some games that illustrated exactly why Venables and staff quickly corrected the error of not offering him earlier. McCarty wowed at running back, but his future is going to be on the defensive side of the ball. He feels like a safety in the making and hasn’t been afraid to be physical in that spot.

The story: Going from Pennsylvania high school competition to IMG Academy was supposed to be a wake-up call for Picciotti. Instead, all he did was show just how much he belonged at that type of level. Venables and staff were pretty quick to pinpoint Picciotti as someone they wanted in the first linebacker class. The lack of depth should mean plenty of reps in the spring.

The story: OU isn’t going to win big until it can start landing those difference makers on the defensive line, and OU hopes it has found one of them in Sanders. Not an elite recruit heading into his senior season, Sanders turned a lot of heads in his final year. Sanders also got a taste of college life as one of the signees in Florida for bowl practice.

The story: There is some mystery here. Smothers was denied a chance to play his senior season because of a ruling made by the North Carolina high school governing body. He’s got a massive chip on his shoulder, and he felt like a highlight in the making as a junior. How quickly he can eliminate the rust and get up to college speed will let us know what to realistically expect from Smothers in 2023

The story: We end with a couple of defensive back victories that it’s hard to know if OU would have pulled off in years past. Vickers was a borderline top-100 prospect his entire career, and it was a massive victory for OU to beat out Alabama. Vickers let everybody know what he’s all about during the All-American Bowl week in San Antonio two weeks ago.

The story: Wagoner is going to be questioned about his size, nothing new there. But whenever Wagoner gets a chance to show what he can do, he delivers. And despite that size, he’s incredibly physical at the point of attack. At first glance, you feel like Wagoner could move into that nickelback position, but we’ll see how everything evolves.

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