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A Few Surprises in Oklahoma’s Top 5 Preseason Rankings

As everyone knows Covid turned the world of high school sports upside down in 2020. Now that (hopefully) we’ve turned the corner, the top of the Oklahoma high school rankings has seen a changing of the guard as our resident football recruiting guru Jeremy Crabtree breaks down the Sooner State preseason rankings for 2021.

After winning the state title in 2019, Bill Blankenship’s Owasso Rams looked to be on track to win it all again in 2020, but they were upset in the state semifinals by eventual champion Jenks.

That’s something the Rams are using as a motivating factor this offseason, and they have plenty of talent to make another deep run. That’s why they’re ranked No. 5 in our list of top teams in Oklahoma.

Owasso has the No. 2 player in the senior class with defensive lineman Chris McClellan, who is picking from more than 35 offers but most people believe it’s Ohio State or Oklahoma for him. He’s an instant impact player for the Rams after transferring from Tulsa Edison prior to his senior season.

The Rams also have playmakers with sophomore quarterback Austin Havens, DeShawn Kinnard at running back, and Cole Adams and Kelan Carney at receiver. Havens threw for 2,000 yards in 2020.

They also have some of Tulsa’s best defensive players joining McClellan with D-lineman Michael Jamerson, linebacker Jake Clifton and defensive back Brandon Ramsey Jr. Clifton is a three-star that recently committed to Kansas State.

It’s hard to put Union anywhere but in the top two, but here they are at No. 4 after a 2020 season that saw them finish with a semifinal loss to Edmond Santa Fe.

But that doesn’t erase that Union turned things around after an 0-4 start to make a deep run in the playoffs, and they have plenty of skill on both sides of the ball to make a deep run again in 2021.

Union’s led by OU four-star commitment Jayden Rowe. Rowe can do it all and is ranked as a cornerback, but the Union coaches would often isolate him on the opposing team’s top player, and he would lock him up.

Union also has another do-it-all type player with Antonio Smith. Smith played on both sides of the ball last season. On offense, he had 51 rushes for 396 yards and seven TDs. As a safety, Smith had 50 tackles with two interceptions.

Also keep an eye on senior running back Rovaughn Banks, who rushed for 639 yards after being moved from quarterback midseason, and junior defensive tackle De’Marion Thomas already has offers from Baylor and Iowa State.

The Wolves were upset in the Class 6A Division I championship game by Jenks, but we’re putting Edmond Santa Fe at No. 3 on this list by a smidgeon over the others because they have two talented playmakers on the offensive side of the ball.

Four-star receiver Talyn Shettron made headlines in June when he flipped his commitment from Oklahoma to Oklahoma State – something that grabbed the attention of national observers. Shettron had 61 receptions for 1,152 yards and 14 touchdowns a junior, and he’s expected to have an even bigger senior season.

That’s especially true because he has quarterback Scott Pfieffer returning. As a junior, he threw for 2,374 yards and 29 touchdowns, but he did struggle in that state title game, so he will be playing 2021 with a chip on his shoulder.

The defense will be solid, too, led by linebacker Chris Fitzpatrick, who had 89 tackles in 2020.

Much like Union, ranking Jenks outside of the top spot is unfamiliar territory for me, but Jenks is coming off a 12-1 season that saw them rout Santa Fe 41-14 in the state championship game.

While Jenks doesn’t have a lot of names that will highlight a recruiting list, they are deep along the line, have outstanding coaching and kids that buy into the program.

They also have a new weapon to work with this season – running back Jaiden Carroll.

Carroll joins the Trojans after playing his first two high school seasons at Booker T. Washington. In 2020, had 156 rushes for 873 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Carroll scored four TDs against Putnam West and had 129 rushing yards against Ponca City. As a freshman, he rushed for 748 yards and 10 TDs. He also scored four TDs against Ponca City and Sapulpa.

Along the line, Jenks does have two reliable returners in Milton White and A.J. Brown, and Cade Stacy is a name to watch at both receiver and defensive back.

After covering high school football for more than 25 years, I know it’s shocking to not see somebody other than Jenks or Union at the No. 1 spot, but there’s been a changing of the guard over the past five or so seasons and Bixby is our No. 1 in Oklahoma after winning three-straight state titles and having the weapons to repeat again in 2021.

Yes, the Spartans must replace all-everything quarterback Mason Williams, but they do return four-star running back and Oklahoma State commitment Braylin Presley. The 5-7, 155-pound Pressley might not be big in size, but he’s big on making impact plays. As a junior, Presley was the team’s leading rusher and leading receiver with more than 2,700 all-purpose yards.

The Spartans also have the top-ranked overall player in Oklahoma’s junior class in tight end Luke Hasz. Hasz had nine touchdown grabs as a sophomore and already has scholarship offers from 30 schools, including Alabama, but most believe he’s going to stay at home to play for OU.

The offensive line is also solid with Levi Dunsmore and Cody Paschall returning and some good young players on the defensive side has Loren Montgomery primed to lead the Spartans to a seventh 6A Division II title in eight seasons.

Stay in the Loop

To get the latest recruiting buzz, listen to the Over the Middle weekly podcast featuring high school football recruiting analyst Jeremy Crabtree, available on iTunesStitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.