Quarterback Brock Vandagriff’s commitment to play football at Oklahoma sent shock waves across the college football landscape on Thursday.
Just one day earlier, the 6-foot-3, 198-pounder from Bogart (Georgia) Prince Avenue Christian School was rated as the nation’s top overall player in the 2021 recruiting class by Rivals. Now he says he’s headed to OU, which boasts back-to-back Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks and just signed Spencer Rattler, 2019’s top quarterback.
How good are things at OU? SoonerScoop’s Josh McCuistion, who has covered OU recruiting for nearly two decades, made a strong statement.
“With the exception of Adrian Peterson, I can’t think of any recruiting win that clearly was any bigger than this one,” McCuistion said.
It’s not just nabbing the nation’s top recruit. It’s going deep into SEC country and getting a player who lives just 20 minutes from the University of Georgia campus.
“This isn’t a Texas kid where Oklahoma has a huge presence,” McCuistion said. “This is in Georgia where there are kids who have camped with him and who have played with him … all of a sudden, Oklahoma becomes a more realistic thing, where it’s more than just ‘Oh, they’re a good program.’ It’s ‘Oh. They’ve got Brock.’
“I just don’t think you can overstate that stuff when you add in (OU 2019 wide receiver) Jadon Haselwood. I mean, that’s two big-time guys in a couple of years from Georgia, and it gives you some real presence in the fourth-most talent-rich state in the country.”
Last season, Vandagriff had 3,190 passing yards and 28 touchdowns against seven interceptions while playing for his father, Greg Vandagriff. He will be a junior in 2019.
The father-son combination isn’t lost in this recruiting equation.
“You hate to fall into the cliche, but when you watch him, you see a coach’s kid. He is so incredibly confident in what he’s doing,” said McCuistion, who has evaluated the quarterback in person. “All the mechanics are like you want it to be. His feet are good. He stands very tall in the pocket. All the technical stuff you love, it’s all there.
“What sticks out is how quick his release is. When Brock makes up his mind, the ball has gone extremely quickly. He carries it high. It’s out of his hand fast, and he’s got plenty of velocity. But the thing I like is how calm he is when things start to break down. … He’ll just buy time and slide to his left or slide to his right. When he has space, he’ll find it and then he’ll deliver a strike down the field.”
If history is any indication, Vandagriff could be a magnet for some key offensive recruits.
The last two times an elite quarterback committed to Oklahoma early, several important wide receivers followed, McCuistion said.
When Chris Roberson gave a pledge, CeeDee Lamb, Charleston Rambo and Marquise Brown signed with the Sooners. When Rattler committed to OU, he brought three five-star receivers in Haselwood, Theo Wease and Trejan Bridges into the 2019 class.
“And it’s not just about receivers, but (Vandagriff) gives you that guy that you can tell other players, ‘Look, this is the most important position on the field, and we have this guy who people think is as good as there is in the country. He’s already bought in. He’s going to be working with Lincoln Riley, who most people think is probably the best offensive mind in college football,’” McCuistion said.
“What’s not to like about what they have to sell, especially on the offensive side of the ball? Lincoln Riley can walk into any living room in the country that he wants to. But Brock Vandagriff is like the platinum card he can lay down and say ‘This is the guy you want to play with.”