Class of 2024 exit survey: What distinguished OU on the recruiting trail?

Class of 2024 exit survey: What distinguished OU on the recruiting trail?

I polled five members of the Sooners’ 2024 signing class on their recruiting experiences with Oklahoma, the programs that stayed in contact and what they expect playing alongside Jackson Arnold.

Eli Lederman

By Eli Lederman

| Dec 22, 2023, 6:00am CST

Eli Lederman

By Eli Lederman

Dec 22, 2023, 6:00am CST

NORMAN — Oklahoma closed out its third consecutive top 10 signing class on Wednesday.

Before moving on to the class of 2025, let’s take a second to reflect. 

The Sooners’ 2024 recruiting class finished ranked eighth nationally, per 247Sports, a group headlined by five-star defensive tackle David Stone, No. 1 running back Taylor Tatum and four-star recruits Zion Kearney and Nigel Smith II.

With Brent Venables’ third signing class wrapped, let’s hear from some of those future Sooners. I polled five members of the 2024 class about their recruiting experience at OU, the other programs that kept in touch, the coaches who swayed them to Norman and more. 

Here’s who I polled:

  • Taylor Tatum, running back, Longview, Texas
  • Davon Mitchell, tight end, Los Alamitos, California
  • Zion Ragins, wide receiver, Macon, Georgia
  • Bergin Kysar, defensive end, Edmond, a preferred walk-on
  • Ivan Carreon, wide receiver, Odessa, Texas

Here’s what they had to say:

During your recruitment, what distinguished OU from the other programs you were in contact with?

Taylor Tatum: “(Running backs coach) DeMarco Murray. Just being able to ask him any question ever. He’s literally been to every single thing. Been to the NFL. Been through college. Been through recruiting. Being around him every day is a good asset. And they’re big on family. All the coach’s families are always around. I kind of want my family to be in an environment like that.”

Bergin Kysar: “The energy of the coaches and the staff and the time they took to talk with you. They make you feel special. They gave you the time of day. They didn’t act like they were too big-time for you which is something that really stood out to me.”

Davon Mitchell: “Coach Schmidty. (Strength and conditioning coach) Jerry Schmidt is a hard coach. That’s something I’m into. I want to be coached hard.”

Zion Ragins: “It was probably me and coach Emmett Jones — our connection. My mom and my dad really love coach Venables. He showed love and support like they really wanted me there.”

Ivan Carreon: “It was just the environment. I felt it as soon as I got there. Like all the positive energy; everybody was hype. Everybody was just happy to be there.”

What’s the memory that stands out from your initial visit to OU?

Ragins: “I was there for a Junior Day. It was amazing. I’ve never seen a place like that or a setup like that before. I was shocked.”

Kysar: “You go through the little lobby and you look at all the trophies. I thought those were pretty cool. I got to take some pictures. I loved talking to the coaches and hearing their philosophies on the weight room and then what practice is like.”

Mitchell: “The spring game. It was my first visit. It was super packed and everything. I love it.”

Carreon: “When I went up there and started talking to coach Venables. Our first conversation — it really stuck with me after I got there.”

Tatum: “My first visit was a camp. Just seeing how competitive it is. That was my first time meeting coach Murray. I got to see how competitive he is.”

What was the top OU game you attended this fall?

Kysar: “I went to almost every home game they had. I don’t think I had a favorite but they were all stinking good. Recruits get treated pretty good.”

Carreon: “Probably the game against SMU. The energy in there was crazy.”

Tatum: “Probably the first night game I went to. It was SMU. It was a night game, too. It was one of my first night games. Getting to see the phone lights was pretty cool. I also remember it was super hot — I was sweating my butt off.”

Mitchell: “I went to the Iowa State game. That game was live. But the Texas and OU game on TV — that was a crazy one.”

How often were you being contacted by other programs following your commitment?

Ragins: “It went down a little bit. Auburn is the only school that really texts me like that.”

Tatum: “It died down. I never really showed any other interest. Some recruits ask to go on a couple more visits. After I committed, I haven’t been nowhere. A couple of schools asked me to come up there and still contact me. I text them back just because you build a relationship up with some of these coaches. It can be a lifelong relationship. I think all the coaches know I’m set on OU. I kind of made that clear. I went to every home game but one.”

Carreon: “There’s still been other schools trying to recruit me, seeing what I was going to do. But I was just telling them that I was already 100% committed. I wasn’t interested in going anywhere else.”

Mitchell: “Teams are still trying to get me right now (prior to signing day) even though I was committed. It never slowed down for me.”

Which member of the 2024 class are you most excited to play with? 

Kysar: “I’ve trained with David Stone. But I just want to see him in person with pads on. I’m just kind of curious.”

Tatum: “Xavier Robinson. I’d probably say … I looked at his film. He’s another running back. Just looking at his build — for his size — this guy is legit. He can catch the ball. He has moves. He can truck somebody. Everybody probably says David because of what he does, too.”

Mitchell: “It’s definitely Mike Hawkins. Him or Zion (Kearney). We got a little group chat or whatever so everybody is getting to know each other. The whole ’24 class is coming in and we’re all tight now. I’m excited to play with all of them.”

Ragins: “Zion Kearney. Him and Michael Hawkins. He’s smooth. I talk to him every day. We’ve got a group chat on Snapchat and keep up with each other.”

Carreon: “It’d probably be Mikey (Hawkins). I’ve seen him in high school and all his highlights and everything.”

Outside of the position coach who recruited you, who are you closest with in the program right now?

Carreon: “I’d probably say coach Venables. He’s always talking to me, texting, making sure I’m good. He keeps in touch with me and my parents and everybody.”

Ragins: “(Defensive ends coach) Miguel Chavis.”

Mitchell: “Coach BV and coach Chavis. I got a great relationship with all of them.”

Kysar: “Either (defensive end) Trace Ford or (offensive lineman) Jacob Sexton. I’ve talked to Trace here and there because he was a Santa Fe alum and he played defensive end. It’s kind of cool getting to talk to him because he’s been in the college world for a while.”

How do you feel about the opportunity to play with Sooners QB Jackson Arnold? 

Kysar: “It’s pretty cool watching him from the sidelines this year knowing I’m going to be his teammate next year. It’s pretty exciting. I think he’ll do great.”

Carreon: “Just watching him —  he looks like he’s pretty good. I like how he plays the game and stuff.”

Tatum: “Just that he can do everything. I got to see him in high school. He can truck people. He can throw the ball 70 yards. He’s fast as heck. It’s good to see him in person doing his thing. We’ve chopped it up a couple of times. I’ll be looking forward to hanging with him in person.”

Who are you planning to room with in Norman?

Ragins: “Mykell Patterson-McDonald”

Mitchell: “Michael Hawkins.”

Carreon: “Zion (Kearney) — just with another wide receiver. That way, if we have any questions or stuff we can ask each other.

Kysar: “So Ace Hodges and I have talked about this. I think we’re probably going to try to get together. Couple of meatheads in the same room.” 

Oklahoma signing class of 2024

Name, position, hometown, high school

Josh Aisosa, OL, Edmond, Santa Fe*

Daniel Akinkunmi, OL, East London, U.K., NFL Academy*

Isaiah Autry, OL, Fulton, Mississippi, Itawamba Agricultural*

Michael Boganowski, DB, Junction City, Kansas, Junction City*

Eli Bowen, DB, Denton, Texas, Guyer*

Eugene Brooks, OL, Las Vegas, Sierra Canyon (California)*

Ivan Carreon, WR, Odessa, Texas, Odessa*

KJ Daniels, WR, Franklinton, Louisiana, Bowling Green School

Wyatt Gilmore, DE, Rogers, Minnesota, Rogers*

Jaydan Hardy, DB, Lewisville, Texas, Lewisville*

Michael Hawkins Jr., QB, Dallas, Emerson*

Jayden Jackson, DL, Indianapolis, IMG Academy*

Devon Jordan, DB, Tulsa, Union

Zion Kearney, WR, Fresno, Texas, Hightower*

Davon Mitchell, TE, York, Alabama, Los Alamitos (California)*

James Nesta, LB, Huntersville, North Carolina, William Amos Hough*

Jeremiah Newcombe, DB, Gilbert, Arizona, Casteel

Danny Okoye, DE, Tulsa, NOAH Homeschool*

Mykel Patterson-McDonald, DB, Moore, Westmoore

-Eddy Pierre-Louis, OL, Tampa, Florida, Tampa Catholic

Reggie Powers III, DB, Centerville, Ohio, Centerville*

Zion Ragins, WR, Macon, Georgia, Jones County

Xavier Robinson, RB, Yukon, Carl Albert*

Nigel Smith II, DL, Melissa, Texas, Melissa*

David Stone, DL, Del City, IMG Academy*

RB Taylor Tatum, RB, Longview, Texas, Longview

QB Brendan Zurbrugg, QB, Alliance, Ohio, Alliance*

*Expected to enroll mid-year

 

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Eli Lederman reports on the University of Oklahoma for Sellout Crowd. He began his professional career covering the University of Missouri with the Columbia Missourian and later worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before two years writing on the Sooners and Cowboys at the Tulsa World. Born and raised in Mamaroneck, New York, Lederman grew up a rabid consumer of the New York sports pages and an avid fan of the New York Mets. He entered sportswriting at 14 years old and later graduated from the University of Missouri. Away from the keyboard, he can usually be found exploring the Oklahoma City food scene or watching/playing fútbol (read: soccer). He can be reached at [email protected].

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