Spring football notebook: Top QB recruit coming back to Norman

By Jake Trotter, Brandon Chatmon and Wire Reports Published: April 6, 2011
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Gunner Kiel, arguably the No. 1 quarterback recruit for the Class of 2012, will be flying to Norman today to visit OU's practice.

Speculation has been that Notre Dame is the favorite to land the 6-foot-4, 215-pound native of Columbus, Ind. Kiel's uncle, Blair Kiel, played QB at Notre Dame. Kiel also grew up rooting for the Irish.

But this is the second time in two months that Kiel has visited OU.

Wednesday, MaxPreps/CBS Sports recruiting guru Tom Lemming named Kiel the No. 2 overall prospect in the country, and No. 1 quarterback.

Lemming's No. 1 overall recruit, Springfield, Mo., wideout Dorial Green-Beckham, is also considering the Sooners.

SOONER OFFENSE ‘GAINING STRIDES'

One of the major deficiencies of the Oklahoma offense last season was goal-line production.

Despite being one of the top scoring teams in the nation, the Sooners ranked No. 63 in red-zone offense. That deficiency was accentuated in the loss at Texas A&M, when the Aggies turned OU back on three different goal line possessions.

But so far this spring, the Sooners have shown improvement at the goal line, notably during last Saturday's spring scrimmage.

“Last year we struggled on the goal line and I think we went 5-for-5 the other day punching it in on the goal line, which was really good,” said backup quarterback Drew Allen.

Said offensive line coach James Patton: “It was a good scrimmage Saturday. Had another good goal line set in practice (this week), which was good.

“It's been an emphasis. And it's been better.”

BLACKMON CONFIDENT RANDLE AND SMITH CAN FILL THE VOID

The development of a running game could be the key to Justin Blackmon's success for Oklahoma State this season as the Biletnikoff Award winner attempts to match his numbers from 2010.

Sophomore running backs Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith are slated to fill the void left by Doak Walker Award finalist Kendall Hunter this fall.

And Blackmon is confident the youthful duo can become playmakers for the Cowboys.

“I feel real confident with Jeremy and Randle back there,” Blackmon said. “They're not Kendalls yet but they are getting there.”

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