Bedlam has massive implications across the Big 12 landscape, as well as the College Football Playoff landscape. But on a more granular level, this game also has a big impact on recruiting — specifically within the state of Oklahoma and in the region.
It’s no secret that OSU has struggled mightily to win in this series under Mike Gundy. Keeping it close isn’t the same as taking the W, which fans and recruits alike can both agree on. So Saturday is a big deal for OSU, which will host a number of its top commits and prospects in town for visits. And it could sway those athletes’ minds when it comes to where they choose to spend the next four years.
Here are the six players that could be impacted most by the game in some form or fashion.
The big fella out of Bixby committed to Oklahoma State and, specifically, Josh Henson early in the process. He picked the Pokes despite an offer from OU and heralded OL coach Bill Bedenbaugh, and likely with the hopes that OSU would be competitive in the series.
The Midwest City defensive end is one of, if not the most, athletic player in the state. He’s a raw talent who just picked up football two years ago, and as Adam Kemp from The Oklahoman said earlier this week, he might be the best prospect in the 2018 class among those committed to OU. He still holds an offer from OSU, and based off what I’ve heard he’s still locked in with OU. But momentum can change a lot, and an OSU win could certainly put a second thought into his head about the in-state school he sticks with.
The four-star QB out of Denton is OSU’s second-highest rated commitment in the Class of 2018, and one of the best QB’s in the region. He committed to OSU early last year specifically to play in Mike Yurcich’s system, despite a chance to commit to OU. And while OU has a commitment in Tanner Mordecai for 2018, the Sooners still might have an extra scholarship to replace Chris Robison, who was dismissed from the program this year. It’s obviously a stretch, and Sanders himself has said he’s 100% committed to OSU, but a bludgeoning in favor of the Sooners would be bad optics. Especially if the Pokes don’t air it out and let it hang.
Millwood High School’s stud 2019 wide receiver Demariyon Houston is already a top-10 prospect in the state with offers from OSU, Iowa State, Ole Miss and SMU, among others. A win for the Pokes could help inch closer to sealing the deal and convincing him to join his teammate Israel Antwine among OSU’s commitments. A loss might be motivation for him to wait on an OU offer down the line.
Another 2019 prospect, Wichita standout Marcus Hicks is the centerpiece of a recruiting battle being waged between OU and OSU. Both schools have offered, both are recruiting him hard, and both have a chance to make a big impression Friday. He’ll be on hand to watch as an unofficial visitor with his father.
In my opinion, OU is the frontrunner for Collin Clay, an OKC-area 2019 defensive end from Putnam City. However the Pokes have offered, and OU hasn’t, despite multiple trips to Norman this season as a visitor. A win for OSU could leave a favorable impression on him about where he chooses to attend college if he wants to stay in-state, and I’m operating under the assumption that it’s only a matter of time before the Sooners jump in the mix for him.