We are exactly two weeks away from the first day of the early signing period. Though a only added to the calendar in recent years, it's provided another element of excitement and intrigue to the recruiting process.
Oklahoma, as it stands, owns the No. 7 ranked class in the nation. They are headlined by consensus five-star QB Jackson Arnold, who has blown everyone away with his senior season. He and his Denton Guyer team look for a state title at Texas' highest classification.
While Oklahoma sits inside the top 10, there is room to move up, and Brent Venables and Co. are road-tripping across the country to improve the class.
Oklahoma has several high-profile targets in its sights and they're well within reach. However, recruiting is about closing. It's never how you start but how you finish.
Here are five lingering questions about the Sooners' 2023 recruiting class as we sprint to the finish line for this recruiting cycle.
Who wins the Peyton Bowen sweepstakes?
Oklahoma and Notre Dame share pretty historic backgrounds across the landscape of college football. Two of the biggest brands with some serious drawing power So naturally, the two schools are very much an option for five-star safety Peyton Bowen.
Bowen is a teammate of Jackson Arnold, and that helps give the Sooners some more help in attempting to lure the five-star safety to Norman.
However, Bowen has been committed to Notre Dame for a significant time, and despite Oklahoma's best efforts, has yet to flip. That doesn't mean he won't, but Oklahoma is still fighting to get that flip.
Adding Bowen gives Oklahoma a blue-chip prospect at a position where they could desperately use it. Billy Bowman looks like an early candidate for an All-Big 12 team next year if healthy, and Bowen gives OU an understudy for him and competition for Key Lawrence and Robert Spears-Jennings. With Bowen's ball-hawking ability, he could see the field next year with Bowman.
This recruitment is a big deal.
What'a going on with David Hicks?
Oklahoma continues to fight for five-star David Hicks who spurned them for the Aggies of Texas A&M in September. It stung but the Sooners didn't get down on themselves and continued to recruit him.
The Aggies had an even worse season than Oklahoma, and it didn't go over well with recruits or the locker room. A&M has one of the highest rates of transfer portal entries this season. They've also lost a few recruits in the process. Yet, Hicks remains committed.
He visited for Bedlam and saw Oklahoma's best defensive performance of the year with his friend and teammate Daymion Sanford, a four-star linebacker also committed to Texas A&M.
Oklahoma is looking to capitalize on the Aggies' misfortunes and flip Hicks and Sanford. A Hicks signing takes this class from really good to great. Oklahoma has to win battles like these for elite defensive linemen if they want to compete in the upper echelon of the SEC.
What other names are the Sooners after?
While David Hicks and Peyton Bowen represent the biggest targets to know, there are some other highly coveted talents that OU is pursuing.
Tausili Akana, a four-star prospect from Utah, is a versatile defensive player whom Brent Venables has been recruiting himself. Texas is a threat here.
Four-star Cincinnati commit Daeh McCullough has received considerable predictions in OU's favor. That could come with the addition of Daeh's brother Dasan, an edge transfer from Indiana.
The younger of the two is a safety prospect. Daeh's inclusion has no impact on Bowman's recruitment either. Both McCullough brothers will be in Norman for official visits this weekend.
Elsewhere, with the loss of Anthony Evans to UGA, the Sooners are searching for another receiver to replace him. Enter Micah Tease, an Arkansas commit who has strong ties to Oklahoma. His brother was a Sooner, and he's from the state of Oklahoma.
These are just a few of the names to know as we head to the finish line for this recruiting cycle.
Who will sign early?
With the early signing day two weeks away, it's only right to wonder who will be signing in the early period.
As it stands right now, Oklahoma looks well-positioned to get all of its current commitments signed early. No prospect is a real threat to flip late, but crazier things have happened. Oklahoma could sign their entire 22-man class come December 21. Getting paperwork in for some of them is paramount as guys like Arnold and Joshua Bates, and many others intend to enroll at the mid-year point.
Will there be surprises?
College football recruiting is notorious for giving us jaw-dropping decisions on signing days. Guys flip, and guys commit to schools no one saw coming at the last minute.
Just look at Jackson State. They signed a consensus top-three recruit on signing day due to the power of their Hall of Fame coach Deion Sanders. Make no mistake, the possibility for Coach Prime or one of the other heavy hitters to pull a last-minute flip will follow the Sooners until their targets sign.
Brent Venables and the Sooners could themselves pull off a few last minute surprises that pushes their recruiting class into historic territory.
Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire