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Sooners hoping to sign the top remaining player in the 2022 recruiting class.
Oklahoma University has been at the forefront of embracing the Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) era of college athletics.
They utilized this partnership to create OU Exchange, which allows businesses and student-athletes to communicate directly.
The Sooner athletics department has been innovative in its support for helping student-athletes gain NIL opportunities.
Now it’s time to flex that NIL muscle even harder!
Insert 5-Star Defensive Linemen Lebbeus Overton. The 6’4, 265 lb. monster from Alpharetta, GA.
He announced his reclassification to the 2022 class in early February. The Sooners are in his top-5, and he plans to visit Norman in April.
Overton possesses the program-changing talent that Coach Brent Venables needs to build the “physical, punishing, relentless, suffocating defense” he spoke about in his introductory press conference.
Currently, recruiting services have Texas A&M as the predicted favorite to land Overton.
It’s no secret that the rumor out of College Station is the Aggie booster’s committed $30 million to NIL deals for its record-setting 2022 signing class.
Eye-opening if true. And it means one thing for stakeholders surrounding Sooner nation: IT’S TIME TO BUCK UP.
Or, in the words of Rod Tidwell, “Show me the money!”
To be clear, I’m not advocating for the Sooner program to do anything illegal or violate the NCAA rules.
Venables has made it clear where he stands on the topic of utilizing NIL in recruiting.
“I believe you need to use (NIL) to your advantage in every way you possibly can within the rules,” Venables said. “But that shouldn’t be the focus of your program. We want to attract players and families that are looking for all of it. The holistic piece.”
Overton and his family fit the bill for a player and family looking for the “holistic piece.” Both of Overton’s parents were Division I athletes. His mother, Ms. Eunice Thomas, played volleyball at Kentucky.
His father, Mr. Milton Overton, was a Sooner football player from 1991 to 1994.
Mr. Overton then worked in OU’s academic department for a year before embarking on a career in athletic administration. Currently, he is the Athletic Director at Kennesaw State University.
If anyone understands how to help Lebbeus weigh the advantages of NIL opportunities with the other elements of college recruiting (academics, development, coaches, scheme fit, campus life, etc.), it’s his parents.
Oklahoma is a ‘Blue Blood’ program with a defensive-minded head coach. There’s an opportunity on defense to play immediately. And Overton is impressed with Coach Venables.
He told Steve Wiltfong of 247sports, “Coach Venables going [to OU] you can tell they’re trying to switch the program to more a defensive one. [Venables] played a main role of [OU] being in my top five.”
That sounds great, but is it enough?
Texas A&M may be the favorite, but Georgia, Oregon and Ohio State aren’t going to go away quietly (or cheaply).
If there were ever a time to go the extra mile to make a young man feel wanted, it’s now.
As I said, I’m not advocating for OU to cheat.
I’m simply stating that if the Sooners want to land this kid, it may require a strong push from the NIL entities supporting the program.
As we know, the folks down in College Station aren’t messing around.
Lebbeus Overton At-A-Glance:
- 6’4½ , 265 Defensive Linemen
- 5-Star rating by every major recruiting service
- Top-20 overall recruit (per composite rankings)
- Reclassified to Class of 2022 in early February
- Plans to visit Norman in April per Steve Wiltfong
- He’s projected as a NFL 1st round talent by 247 sports
- Played three years of varsity football (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior)
- Two-sport athlete (football and basketball)
- Both parents were NCAA D-I athletes
- His father, Milton Overton, played offensive line for the Sooners from 1991-1994
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