Sooners Defensive End Recruiting Surging

by:Josh McCuistion05/03/23


Following a 2023 class that saw the Oklahoma Sooners land one of the nation’s elite pass rushers, P.J. Adebawore, Oklahoma defensive ends coach Miguel Chavis, along with Brent Venables and co. is hoping to rebuild a defensive end room that has struggled to stack elite talent for quite some time.

There’s a considerable amount of talent that has been on campus this spring with the Sooners in a strong position for many of them.

Oklahoma Sooners Focuses at DE?

Among the highest rated prospects in the country, and one that the Sooners are seen near the top of the list for, is the nation’s No. 6 player and No. 1 defensive lineman in the country, Williams Nwaneri. Nwaneri, at 6-foot-6 and 260-pounds brings versatility to the defensive line and could play a number of roles but the Sooners seem to be targetting him as a defensive end in the mold of former Clemson standout, and first round draft pick, Clelin Farrell.

Nwaneri has been to Oklahoma numerous times since being offered last summer and continues to be a focal point of their recruiting efforts.

Another defensive end that has emerged for the Sooners after two repeat visits to Norman in the last few months is Conroe (Texas) Oak Ridge star Joseph Jonah-Ajonye, the nation’s No. 38 overall player according to On3.

Jonah-Ajonye was flying a bit under the radar from a national recruiting perspective but is picking up massive attention in recent weeks. Included in the growing notoriety is a recent offer from two-time defending national champion Georgia. However, Jonah-Ajonye tells that the Sooners are his current leader thanks to his relationship with the staff and comfort in Norman.

While Nwaneri shared a roster at Lee’s Summit (Mo.) North with 2023 Oklahoma Sooners signee Cayden Green, Jonah-Ajonye hails from a state that is the lifeblood of Oklahoma’s recruiting.

Some New Homes for OU Targets

Meanwhile two players who hit Norman repeatedly the past few months are a pair of players a bit off the beaten path for the Sooners.

It’s hard to get more out of Oklahoma’s recruiting comfort zone than the state of Minnesota but Oklahoma has worked plenty to impress Minnesota’s No. 9 prospect, Wyatt Gilmore. Gilmore was at Oklahoma again for the Red-White game on April 22 after first seeing Norman in early March.

Dorial Green-Beckham, in the 2012 class, is the last time the Oklahoma Sooners made an offer in Springfield, Mo. but they are also in hot pursuit of Glendale high school’s Kellen Lindstrom. Lindstrom is a player that, like Nwaneri, may be a battle between OU and former Oklahoma Sooners great Josh Heupel and the Tennessee Volunteers.

More Targets Out There

Still there are more Oklahoma targets at the position with names like Jayshawn Ross, Caleb Redd, Loghan Thomas, Zina Umeozulu, Dakyus Brinkley, and Tyclean Luman have all been in Norman, at least once, in the last year.

Redd is expected in Norman for an official visit on June 9 while Thomas was another who visited the Sooners for the Red-White game last month.

Meanwhile Brinkley and Ross were both on campus earlier this year but seem like longer shots at this point in time.

What’s the Target for the Sooners?

Oklahoma’s 2023 class saw them land one of the nation’s elite prospects along with with one of the premier late risers in the class, Taylor Wein. The Sooners are in line to build even more depth with some of the nation’s premier pass rushers serious about Oklahoma. It’s a position where the Sooners figure to be flexible on the numbers as it’s a position in need of rejuvenation.

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