Brett Deering/Getty Images
Oklahoma seeks defensive players who can play multiple positions.

Oklahoma recruiting: Sooners seeking defensive versatility

Stay up to date with Oklahoma football recruiting with the latest news and notes and analysis in the daily edition of DieHards’ Wagon Wheels. In this edition, we look at Oklahoma’s philosophy for recruiting defensive players.

Oklahoma seeks versatility across its defense

The recent commitment from 3-star defensive end Kori Roberson extends a recent trend for the Sooners. Roberson (6-foot-3, 260 pounds) is another player who could potentially play defensive end or tackle in a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme.

Roberson told Rivals.com that was a selling point in the recruiting process.

“They run a hybrid defense, coach Thibs [Oklahoma defensive ends coach Calvin Thibodeaux] said he knows I’m an elite defensive line player so I can play the whole line,” Roberson said. “So we can play in a 4-3 and switch to a 3-4 and I won’t have to come off the field because I can play multiple positions.”

The Sooners signed five defensive linemen in the 2018 class. Ends Ronnie Perkins and Ron Tatum are similar in that regard. Both have the ability to play inside and outside.

Oklahoma is eyeing defensive players who bring many options to the table. Outside of true defensive tackles like Michael Thompson and Jordan Kelley in the 2018 class or 2019 3-star commit Derek Green, the rest of the players bring options.

Brendan Radley-Hiles is an elite cornerback, but he could easily move to the nickel safety spot. That’s the spot that more often than not covers an offense’s best slot receiver.

More often than not, the linebackers Oklahoma recruits are outside linebackers in high school. Those players tend to have more range. Defensive ends to get draw the Sooners’ attention over defensive tackles.

Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley uses the word “versatility” over and over when describing what he and the rest staff or looking on the recruiting trail. On defense, that means coming up with players that can handle a spread offense one week and an offense that uses fullbacks and tight ends the next.

Getting some multi-faceted defensive linemen should help.

LSU 4-star RB commit Tyrion Davis will visit Oklahoma

The Sooners are going to take two running backs in the 2019 class. They have a commitment from 4-star Isaiah Spiller and offers out to seven more.

Despite committing to LSU prior to his junior high school season, 4-star prospect Tyrion Davis wants to take an official visit to Norman.

“I really want to get out there to Oklahoma and see what it is like. They have produced some great backs that have done very well in their offense. They have put running backs into the NFL after three years and that is impressive,” Davis told Rivals.com. “I really like running backs coach [Jay] Boulware; he is a family guy and I like that. I have been talking to Coach Lincoln Riley a lot, too, and I like his offense and he is a good guy and coach.”

Depth grows at tight end with Dane Saltarelli commitment

In late January, Oklahoma had one returning tight end — sophomore Grant Calcaterra — on the roster. The Sooners added 3-star tight end Brayden Willis on National Signing Day and another option on Wednesday.

Two-star prospect Dane Saltarelli (IMG Academy) announced he will attend Oklahoma as a preferred walk-on.

The Sooners can thank new tight ends coach Shane Beamer for this one. He scouted Saltarelli when he was at Georgia. Adding another tight end helps with a position that is growing in importance.

The Sooners hold a commitment from the No. 1 tight end in the 2019 class, 4-star prospect Austin Stogner. Oklahoma might add another to class. They’ve offered six tight ends and seem open to signing two in this cycle.

Miss a previous edition of Wagon Wheels? Get caught up here.