Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy is so similar to the most recent five-star defensive linemen that have come through Norman it’s kind of scary. The comparisons look the part on the field and off. For any long-time recruiting enthusiasts like myself, the Oklahoma Sooners closing on Brownlow-Dindy is a feat that’s been quite rare in Norman for the last decade or so. Just looking at 247Sports recruiting rankings history, Brownlow-Dindy is the first five-star defensive linemen since 2006.
Gerald McCoy, a legendary Sooner and the last five-star defensive tackle the Sooners landed, is the most natural comparison for him. Tommie Harris, another former five-star, also fits as a comparison. Both had stellar Oklahoma careers before being first-round NFL draft picks. And both grew up with families heavily involved in the church.
It remains to be seen what Brownlow-Dindy will do as a collegiate player, but the Sooners will be anxious to find out. They won’t have to wait long as Brownlow-Dindy plans to enroll early. His senior season was cut short after a torn ligament in his hand during a game.
The impact of landing Brownlow-Dindy is immense for Oklahoma’s defensive recruiting efforts. Yes, the Sooners had a leg up as Brownlow-Dindy is the son of Sooners alumni. However, their efforts should not be downplayed. They had to fight tooth and nail for his services while in a state dominated by SEC and ACC powerhouses.
The Sooners will have to land more defensive linemen of his caliber as they make their move to the SEC, where games are won and lost in large part due to the seismic gap in talent in the trenches.
Will the Sooners land every five-star defensive line prospect? No, but they need to show the ability to snag one when given the opportunity, and the same goes for getting close with other top 100 defensive line recruits. Brownlow-Dindy is a top 20 player across most recruiting rankings, including the USA TODAY High School Sports Composite Player Rankings, which averages the grades from the three biggest recruiting services: 247Sports, ESPN, and Rivals. Closing on Brownlow-Dindy was Oklahoma’s announcement to the college football world that they are legitimate competition for elite defensive talent.
Furthermore, this commitment may signal a significant development in the caliber of assistants on Oklahoma’s roster. Calvin Thibodeaux, defensive line coach at Oklahoma, has been the subject of a lot of chatter with his previous inability to bring in top 100 talent on the interior since he’s been at OU.
It reached such a point that people began to speculate if head coach Lincoln Riley would eventually let him go in favor of someone capable of landing four and five-star talent. After his two-year recruiting efforts on Brownlow-Dindy, culminating in a recruiting win over Texas A&M, it’s probably safe to assume unless a better opportunity comes knocking, Thibodeaux will not be leaving Oklahoma.
In the immediate future, Brownlow-Dindy looks to be a day one contributor for Oklahoma next year, with the likelihood of at least three Sooners on the defensive line heading to the NFL in the spring. Brownlow-Dindy has 4.7 speed, and his background as a state champ in the discus while training using mixed martial arts all but likely point to him being a perfect fit as a defensive end with the ability and versatility to slot inside ala Isaiah Thomas and Jalen Redmond. He and Kelvin Gilliam are the foundational pieces of this defensive line for years to come.