January 19, 2012

Does Venables Departure Mean More Change for Commits?

After nearly a week of rumor and innuendo Brent Venables has decided to take the vacant defensive coordinator position at Clemson. The long-time Sooner assistant has always been one of the aces in Bob Stoops' hand when it came to recruiting to Norman.

However in the class of 2012 due to a numbers crunch and various issues the Sooners hold two new players currently on campus in cornerback Kasseim Everett and defensive end Chaz Nelson along with three currently committed high school prospects.

In fact, it may be the first time that three defensive commitments could be seen as positive news for the Sooner staff as there may be less damage to clear up for the remaining Sooner assistants.

The three current prep stars committed to Oklahoma are Charles Tapper, Eric Striker, and Kevin Peterson. While Tapper seems to probably be less bothered by this than the other two it is always interesting to see how changes like these effect players from greater distances.

Meanwhile both Striker and Peterson would seem to have some reason for a bit of trepidation.

In the case of Peterson he made his commitment to Oklahoma after spending much of official visit weekend (Dec. 16) with Martinez.

"My decision (to commit to Oklahoma) was a collection of everything really. Talking to coach Martinez through the day, what he had to say - it really stood out to me," Peterson said on Dec. 18 after he committed.

"He told me that he always wanted to offer me, but coach (Bob) Stoops had not seen my film before and when we were at dinner he talked how they would use me."

Not surprisingly the news of last week's resignation by Martinez came as something of a jolt to Peterson however talking to those around Wagoner, Okla. it was a storm he was prepared to weather even with a full-court press still being applied by Oklahoma State. But it would seem that this might be a chance for him to say he'd like to take a trip to Stillwater and see just what the Cowboys have to offer.

On the bright side, his first BCS offer was from the Arizona Wildcats, and then-head coach Mike Stoops, so there is a relationship there.

Though Peterson isn't without a cause for a concern most think he is likely to stick with the Sooners, on the other hand long-time commitment Striker has some concerned as he was the one closest to Venables of Oklahoma's trio of prep standouts.

Striker was the one commit we've been able to confirm spoke to Venables in the middle of his choice between the Sooners and Clemson - and in that conversation Striker says he was told that Venables would be returning. Now that he is gone, it's a bit unclear what Striker may think as the news of Venables' departure broke at nearly midnight Eastern Standard Time.

One thing that is worth noting is that since committing to Oklahoma after working out at the Sooners Summer camp with Venables on June 4 there have been zero rumors of Striker looking around or having a wandering eye. And perhaps an in-home visit from the brothers Stoops on Wednesday night went a long way to stemming the tide before too many programs started knocking on the door of the nation's No. 243 overall prospect.

Another interesting aspect is that since the realization that Oklahoma would be bringing back Mike Stoops and parting ways with Willie Martinez it had been Venables carrying the torch for much of Oklahoma's defensive recruiting as they try and plug a few late holes in the class of 2012.

While in Florida it seems that the Stoops brothers did more than simply visit Striker but also made their way by to see recent offer Gary Simon of St. Petersburg Gibbs.

"It was great, I had fun talking to them. I felt good about how the visit went," Simon said.

And according to the Fort-Worth Star Telegram Oklahoma is also now in the mix with Baylor commitment Zack Sanchez, who has admitted to SoonerScoop.com before of being a big Sooner fan. According to the Star Telegram Sanchez was visited by Mike Stoops last week for a fairly lengthy visit.

As one era of Sooner football ends, another begins, an era that oddly enough in a few weeks may be adding as many defenders as had been reeled in during the previous 11 and a half months. Whether that's a good problem or a bad one, remains to be seen.



 

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