NORMAN — No matter what transpires for Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff, the 2019 season is going to be a transitional period.
No definitive announcements were made, but the Sooners could bid farewell to quarterback Kyler Murray, leading receiver Marquise Brown and four of their five starting offensive linemen.
Good thing coach Lincoln Riley makes stockpiling offensive talent look easier than selling sno-cones in the middle of a desert.
The Sooners ended the first day of the early signing period with the No. 7 class in the 247Sports Composite Ranking. Riley and his staff signed 22 players from 11 states.
They filled gaping holes in the secondary and defensive line. But the stars of the 2019 class belong to the offense. The Sooners had those coveted commitments locked up by the spring.
“This class was special from the beginning,” Riley said Wednesday. “It started with some great players that decided to jump on early. Like a lot of great classes, this class continued to help us recruit. It’s been a very unselfish class. We’ve had a lot of great players that see that, yes, I can go accomplish individual things I want to at Oklahoma, but these great players wanted to play together. They wanted to win. They wanted to win championships and continue to build on the legacy that so many people have worked hard to set here before.”
The Sooners landed their first five-star quarterback in 15 years with the signing No. 1-ranked Spencer Rattler. That helped bring in five-star receivers Theo Wease (the No. 3 player in the Rivals.com Top 100) and Trejan Bridges (No. 17 overall in the 2019 class, per Rivals).
Adding tight end Austin Stogner, No. 72 overall in the 247Sports Composite, was icing on the cake.
“Getting some more receiving threats. With the guys we lost the last few years and some of the guys we’re getting ready to lose, that was important,” Riley said. “We’ve been able to produce at all those different positions. I think they’re certainly gonna have a chance. We’re gonna throw them in the fire early.”
The Sooners’ reputation on offense is an easy sell on the recruiting trail these days. Since Riley became offensive coordinator before the 2015 season, the Sooners have added two Heisman Trophy winners, the program’s first Biletnikoff Award winner and its first Mackey Award winner. OU has produced three All-America offensive linemen and the unit earned the Joe Moore Award for the first time this season.
No one seems worried about the depth chart.
“To do it at a place like this, you gotta believe in yourself 100 percent. If there are any cracks in that, then it’s going to be tough to accomplish what you want to accomplish at an elite level like this,” Riley said. “So for us, it goes back to honesty. We let our guy know where we’re at. What our situations are in each position room, and I think all of our guys are very aware and all very comfortable.”
The Sooners have more scholarships to offer. There’s a chance five-star wide receiver Jadon Haselwood — the No. 1 receiver in the 2019 class and No. 6 overall player in the 247Sport Composite — could join the class in January.