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Where OSU Might Turn After Missing on Top Linebacker Target DaShaun White



Four-star outside linebacker DaShaun White of Richland Hills, Texas, committed to Texas A&M on Sunday over Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and others, leaving the Cowboys on the wrong end of yet another recruiting battle with the Aggies. OSU lost Brian Johnson to Kevin Sumlin earlier in the cycle.

Although White was long-considered to be choosing between OU and Texas A&M, OSU — lurking in the shadows — lured him to town for visits, but couldn’t ultimately pull him from staying in his home state. Now it leaves OSU again on the hunt to fill what will likely be the final spot at outside/star linebacker for the 2018 class.

So where might OSU turn? At this point, most of its top targets — Byron Hobbs, White, and the aforementioned Johnson — have all pledged to Texas schools. But there is plenty of time to formulate a plan to fill the spot. Here’s a look at who OSU might target next.


Recruiting from Euless Trinity is never a bad idea, and that goes double when it comes to 2018 recruit Izaih Filikitonga.

At 6-2 and 237-pounds, Filikitonga is a work-in-progress who may not be an instant contributor, but he’s got long-term upside that’s undeniable and a frame he’d have time to grow into during his time in Stillwater. I like his game as he can play both as an outside linebacker as a rusher or in the down position coming off the edge.

OSU was one of his many offers in the spring he’s now sifting through, and the Pokes are competing with OU, TCU, Arizona State and others for his services.

I think the focus at this point is mainly at outside linebacker, but a player of Bailey’s caliber is almost a must-take. The inside linebacker from Missouri City committed to the Tigers last month over the likes of Ole Miss, Texas Tech, Kansas and others, but never gained traction with OSU.

Bailey did visit OSU for junior day back in February, and I believe there is a relationship between the coaching staff that could be rekindled if OSU is interested in flipping him. First, though, I believe that would require an offer on OSU’s part. And those normally come during a visit.

Although Ogunbanjo is a Baylor pledge, that hasn’t stopped OSU in the past from pursuing top targets. And Ogunbanjo would almost certainly fall in that category of players worthy of such a pursuit.

Not only is he a long, athletic pass-rusher, he’s agile enough to play off the edge as a defensive end or an outside linebacker. So he could be a dual-threat weapon for OSU that grows into a defensive end at some point in his college career. Right now he seems to be solid with Baylor after pledging over other opportunities from Texas Tech, Indiana, ASU and others.

If OSU wants to unearth a diamond in the rough, Simpson could be the route the staff takes. With eight offers from Louisville, Houston, McNeese State and others, Simpson remains an under-the-radar talent from the talent-rich state of Texas.

Furthermore, he’s still uncommitted and on the board. An offer to the first-team all-district player could be all he’s waiting for to pull the trigger. But will OSU?

I hate to pick on SMU here, but OSU has already flipped one of its commitments — running back Jahmyl Jeter — so flipping another is entirely on the table. As it so happens, Tre Allison doubles as a running back and an outside linebacker.

In my opinion, he’s a project at outside linebacker. But if it’s one thing we know, it’s that OSU loves athletes at the star linebacker position. And Allison, the John Tyler product, certainly fits that mold.

We all know Texas Tech isn’t exactly an NFL talent-producing machine when it comes to the defensive side of the ball. That’s a pitch OSU could likely sell to Red Raiders pledge Xavier Benson, who committed just recently.

Benson is a somewhat under-the-radar recruit despite 20-plus offers from the likes of small schools like Wyoming, SMU, Memphis, Rice, etc. And he’s a recruit OSU has typically targeted midway through the cycle in some cases, similar to Thabo Mwaniki in the 2017 cycle.

If OSU wants to target an outside linebacker from John Tyler, it could go with the aforementioned Allison, or his teammate, Dekalen Goodson, a Houston commit.

Goodson is a more natural fit at the position with his 6-2 frame and freakish athleticism, and he only recently committed to the Cougars after his recruitment plateaued. Should OSU show interest, he’d likely reciprocate.

At this point, it could come down to how well OSU can cherry-pick other schools. And Houston isn’t a bad school to cherry-pick, given the area both schools recruit.

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