In the immediate aftermath of losing their best recruit for the 2022 class, what’s next for Oklahoma’s roster?

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  • Brent Venables
    Brent Venables
    American football player and coach

It’s going to be alright. That’s the first thing any Oklahoma Sooner fan should be telling themselves after the last 10 days. It’s going to be alright.

A head coach pulled a very heavy rug from under the whole program which led to a head coaching search that somehow led to a rumor that included Dabo Swinney. It was chaotic but the Sooners found their guy and they brought him back home to Norman, Oklahoma where he first became a star.

Brent Venables is the new Sooners head coach and after a warm, warm welcome he’s immediately put his Jordans on and has gone straight to work recruiting the 2022 class.

Here’s the thing: The 2022 class is looking extremely frail right now. In the week between Lincoln Riley’s departure through yesterday evening, the Sooners lost 9 commitments combined between their 2022 and 2023 classes. We’ve got a running thread for the 2022 recruits that have left the class and are going elsewhere right here.

The biggest gut-punch the Sooners have to get up from is the one that came when their most decorated, and most highly touted recruit, Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy flipped from Oklahoma to Texas A&M Monday evening.

That’s a tough pill to swallow and it may feel like swallowing a rock when you also consider that Gentry Williams was visiting Arkansas recently as well. At this point, all bets are off.

Any recruits that haven’t publicly reaffirmed their commitments could very well be candidates to get flipped as Early Signing Day looms. Maybe, they flip some of these recruits back. Maybe they don’t.

And again, that’s okay Sooners fans.

While it sucks, this happens at almost every school when they experience changes at head coach. It’s only exacerbated by the fact that the Sooners lost their coach and gained a new one less than a month before a signing day.

So now what? Well, it’s time to realize the 2022 recruiting class is going to be a combination of the remaining kids that didn’t de-commit, a surprise commit or two (possibly current Clemson commits), and a whole lot of transfers.

Yes, a lot of transfers.

Oklahoma is going to see a lot of new faces next year with guys leaving for the NFL, the guys that have transferred or are planning to transfer, and then there’s graduation.

Someone get Venables and his staff memberships to any store that sells in bulk.

There will be quite a bit of portal shopping over the next two months for Oklahoma. That’s okay. It will allow the Sooners to remain competitive while not completely giving up on a season. The stability that comes from those more seasoned players will allow the Sooners to hit a hard reset on the 2023 class and recruit for 2023 and beyond the way Venables wants.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Will the Sooners be signing a few more three-stars than they’d like to admit? Probably. Between those and the number of transfers that will enter the portal, they’ll be able to at least patch up the holes created by players they will lose over the next month or two.

Part of this equation that should be considered is who does Venables get to fill out his staff? There’s currently no offensive coordinator and not a single staff member on the defensive side of the ball is likely to be retained. Once that picture becomes more clear, it can really give us better insight into how Oklahoma puts together a scholarship roster as they head into spring ball.

Breathe.

You’ve got your guy and he made it loud and clear he plans to carry this team at least a decade-plus into the SEC. He embraces the challenges that come with coaching at one of the premiere programs in college football. Given his pedigree and the success he’s had at Clemson and in his previous stint at Oklahoma, all you can do is trust the process.

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