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October 23, 2012

Around the Southwest: OU's big weekend

MORE: Rivals250 | RB getting interest at LB

Each Tuesday throughout the fall, Rivals.com is breaking down the Southwest Region recruiting scene with news, notes and analysis. Here is the latest from Rivals.com Southwest analyst Jason Howell.

News and Notes

Last week it was Texas A&M opening the doors to welcome several of their top targets. This weekend it is Oklahoma. As the Sooners host Notre Dame they are also welcoming Rivals250 Fresno (Calif.) Central East defensive back Hatari Byrd, Rivals250 DE Greg Gilmore, Rivals250 defensive back Cole Luke and Florida State commitments E.J. Levenberry Jr. and Adrian Baker. Then they also have Arkansas commitment Dominique Alexander, who received an offer from OU last week, coming in on an unofficial visit, several Oklahoma 2013 commits and multiple 2014 targets with offers. It's going to be a big weekend in Norman.

Texas A&M's weekend did not yield any commitments but it certainly planted the seed. The Aggies saw their three top uncommitted targets for 2013 -- Ricky Seals-Jones, Mike Mitchell and Justin Manning -- all come into town and soak in the big game atmosphere at Kyle Field this weekend. The Aggies may have lost on the field, but some big impressions were made. In addition to the in-state standouts above, Texas A&M also hosted Rivals100 cornerback Mackensie Alexander.

When Seals-Jones went down with a knee injury against Houston St. Pius X it appeared as if he was done for the year. That is not the case and this week, as the Sealy Tigers take on the Columbus Cardinals in a district matchup, Seals-Jones will make his return to the gridiron.

While Seals-Jones is making his return, one Texas standout has been lost for the year. Rivals100 Cy Woods linebacker and Texas commit Deoundrei Davis suffered a torn ACL and will not be able to suit up the rest of the season.

Oklahoma has extended a few new offers recently, targeting a couple of offensive linemen with Missouri connections. Stilwell (Kan.) Blue Valley offensive tackle Clay Rhodes picked up an offer and, while he says he is committed to Missouri, he has expressed an interest in visiting Oklahoma. The Sooners also offered 2014 St. Louis (Mo.) DeSmet offensive lineman Andy Bauer, who is committed to Missouri, but is looking into all of his options. He has plenty of them with over 30 offers now on his plate.

Katy (Texas) Seven Lakes offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch says he is down to a final four of Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor and UCLA. He plans to hold off on a decision until after the season and plans to take official visits to Baylor and UCLA after the season. He does not have a date set for UCLA, but mentioned visiting the weekend the Bruins host Stanford (November 16) or USC (November 23). Alabama is also still in the mix and could receive a visit.

Clarksville, Texas receiver Gary Moore is one of the more interesting prospects in Texas. He stands tall at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds and plays both ways at Clarksville. He currently holds offers from Arkansas State, UTSA, Tulsa and was most recently offered by the Missouri Tigers. TCU has also shown significant interest and projections range from wide receiver to tight end to defensive end. Moore is also a standout on the basketball court.

Dallas (Texas) Jesuit wide receiver and four-star Texas commitment Jake Oliver set a state record for career receptions Friday night. He now sits at 274 career receptions, passing Jordan Shipley who held the record with 264 while at Rotan and Burnet. Oliver finished the night with 15 receptions for 174 yards, but his Jesuit Rangers fell to Lake Highlands 20-17

Underclassmen watch

Here are some top underclassmen to keep an eye on from around the region:

QB David Cornwell, Jones, Okla. (2014)

At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, Cornwell is a big presence in the pocket for Jones. He stands tall, has a big arm and can really snap it off and fire a bullet when he needs to do so. Cornwell may be a pocket guy but he is mobile and shows great awareness in the pocket. When he does scramble he can throw on the run or he can get down field. Since receiving an Indiana offer this summer he has seen the interest pour in from the likes of Alabama, Michigan, Auburn, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

RB Lawrence Evitt, Wagoner, Okla. (2014)

Speed, speed, speed, throw in some wiggle and then some more speed. It's good Evitt has the speed and is slippery with his ability to start and stop and reverse, because at 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds he is shy on size. Evitt has great vision and explosion, and has some surprising strength in his lower body. He has been putting up big numbers as a junior and recently saw Oklahoma stop by to take a look.

WR Jalen Adams, Moore (Okla.) Southmoore (2014)

Like Evitt, Adams is not a giant, but he has shown himself to be a deep threat against all who stand in his way. If defensive backs give him a cushion, he is quick to eat it up and keep them uncomfortable. Colleges are quickly taking notice of the Southmoore standout. Tulsa recently offered and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are keeping a close eye on him.

What I'm thinking

Kevin Sumlin has the recruiting train rolling strong in College Station right now, and he has a chance to close with a big bang.

Over the weekend, Texas A&M hosted Rivals100 prospects Mike Mitchell, Ricky Seals-Jones and Justin Manning, and all three have the Aggies high on their lists. Now chances are all three will not end up in College Station, but Texas A&M is the only program all three are considering at this time.

Manning, Mitchell and Seals-Jones are the top three uncommitted prospects in Texas and Sumlin showed he could close the deal last year when he added DeVante Harris and Thomas Johnson.

The trio would also give the Aggies four Rivals100 members from Texas and help build valuable recruiting momentum.

Considering Texas is losing steam and A&M is building steam, 2014 may be the class the Longhorns find themselves in some real fights early on for some top recruits. Arlington Martin defensive end Myles Garrett is one who immediately jumps to mind.

Watching football over the weekend I got to thinking if the play of LSU's offense and Texas' defense will ever have an impact on future recruits.

Both of these units feature some big time players. Players the NFL likes and thinks or at least thought highly of. Guys such as Alex Okafor, Steve Edmond, Carrington Byndom, Odell Beckham, Kenny Hilliard, Jarvis Landry but both units are just so hard to watch at times.

I don't think either will see much of an impact on the recruiting front, but as I watch these two units I wonder where the playmakers are. To LSU's credit, the run game is nice, but how about a forward pass every once and a while? And I don't even know where to begin with Texas. I know the Longhorns have played three high-powered offenses but many thought the defense would be one of the best in the country. Right now it's ranked No. 107 out of 120.

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