December 5, 2012

Rewind: Shepard Has a Hurdle to Clear

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    Though it didn't necessarily come over the weekend the biggest news in recent days was undoubtedly the Sooners truly making a run at former Rivals100 cornerback Tee Shepard. The class of 2012 Notre Dame signee made his way to South Bend last spring as an early enrollee but before spring practice began Shepard had already left campus.

    It was the latest in a chapter of strange sequences for Shepard who spent time at three different high schools prior to graduating from Fresno (Calif.) Washington Union in December. Due to the many moves Shepard was ineligible to play as a senior.

    Since the time that he left South Bend Shepard has, apparently, spent his time working toward a qualifying ACT score in hopes of being approved by the NCAA clearinghouse. The question of how, or perhaps why, he was on campus in South Bend without such clearance remains a bit of an unknown but regardless the Sooners have been reportedly showing him interest for some time.

    Though Tuesday afternoon was the first time he had confirmed any such chatter.

    "It's true, I'm planning to enroll at Oklahoma in January," Shepard said via text.

    The 6-foot-1, 180-pound prospect was ranked as the No. 76 overall player in the country and the No. 4 cornerback and though there is a light at the end of his tunnel, he knows there is still work to do before everything can come together.

    "I have been coming (to Oklahoma), I just had to get myself cleared first," he said.

    So has that clearance come?

    "Not yet," he later clarified.

    Shepard is planning to both host and visit Oklahoma in the upcoming weeks as he tries to get things finalized before spring semester enrollment must be completed.

    Rivals100 ReSolution?

    For the first time since Bob Stoops's first recruiting class in Norman - 1999 - the Sooners class of 2013 could be looking at a class without a Rivals100 member. However, there are still potential candidates who could change that possibility, most notably four-star defensive tackle Justin Manning who will be making his decision at his high school auditorium on Thursday afternoon.

    Manning, the nation's No. 90 overall prospect and No. 7 defensive tackle, has been long known to Sooner fans, first as the little brother of former Sooner Demarcus Granger, and next as a player that has long seemed a sure lock for the Sooners - but has that all changed?

    Manning has admitted over the past few months that he had planned to commit to Oklahoma early on in the process but after collecting several offers prior to the Sooners he decided to take a longer look at many of his suitors. And though his decision is coming down to a final three of TCU, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma it seems the real debate is between the Aggies and Sooners.

    While history says Oklahoma would be the choice here it's impossible to deny that incredible momentum that Texas A&M has built up and it leaves a lot of people guessing just what will play out on Thursday. Fortunately SoonerScoop.com will be in attendance with their SCOOPHD cameras and bring you all the news from the event.

    NOTES:

    *The Sooners have already been by to see Manning and have plans to see Shepard next week but have also put together a growing list of in-home visits and have already been to see several prospects including standout defensive tackle offers Maquedius Bain, Ben Bradley, and Toby Johnson.

    *Alief (Texas) Taylor three-star defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo had told SoonerScoop.com during a SCOOPHD interview that he was down to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State but seemed to turn against that this week by sneaking into Columbia, Mo. to check out the Tigers.

    *Finally in last week's lone meeting of Oklahoma commitments, at the Oklahoma 6A state championship game, it was a rough night for Norman North's Jordan Evans who did what he could but simply saw a Jenks squad that had too much for his Timberwolves in a crushing 55-20 defeat. Though not good news for Evans, good news for Sooners fans was the performance of Evans' future teammate, Jordan Smallwood who managed four catches for 50-yards and a pair of touchdowns (27, 11). This weekend SCOOPHD will again be on hand as two future Sooners match-up, this time the battle ground is at Rice university as Katy's Matt Dimon and Cy-Ranch's Keith Ford go head to head. For the rest of the Sooner commitments and how they've fared, take a look at this free article.

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