December is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the unofficial conclusion of another recruiting cycle. Though not every prospect in the class of 2021 will sign a letter of intent on Dec. 16, national signing day is generally when the waters become clear and recruiting classes begin to materialize.
With that in mind, let's examine where the Sooners stand. Oklahoma already has 15 verbal pledges from top 2021 recruits, including No. 1 overall prospect Caleb Williams and top slot receiver Mario Williams. However, several of the Sooners' top targets remain uncommitted, which means that signing day could bring another boon on the trail for Lincoln Riley and company.
Oklahoma's 37-year-old head coach is certainly hoping for a gift or two in the recruiting game this Christmas, and while the Sooners certainly won't reel in all of the 2021 prospects that they covet, they're in prime position to score at least a few.
Here are the top seven players on Riley's wish list this holiday season.
1. Camar Wheaton (RB, No. 9 overall in SI99)
To be clear, this list starts and stops with the man that would represent Oklahoma's highest-ranked running back commit since Joe Mixon in 2014. Wheaton, from Lakeview Centennial High in Garland, Texas, would likely be an immediate contributor in the Oklahoma backfield assuming Rhamondre Stevenson and Kennedy Brooks jump to the NFL in 2021. The Sooners have long been considered the favorite to land Wheaton, but he's also considering Alabama and LSU. However, he attended Sooner Summit in August, and though he's been covert about his intentions, there's optimism behind the scenes that Norman is the destination for SI All-American's No. 2 running back in the class.
2. Emeka Egbuka (WR, No. 10 overall in SI99)
Quite frankly, this one looked like a pipe dream for a long time. Then, out of the blue, we learned that Egbuka will be in Norman with Caleb Williams this Saturday to watch the Sooners take on Baylor. Why would SI All-American's No. 1 wideout make a trip from Washington state to Oklahoma — two weeks before national signing day — unless he was very much still considering the Sooners? Similar to the early stages of Billy Bowman's flip, the context clues portray an intriguing narrative here. Egbuka would be the cherry on top of a phenomenal class of Sooner wideouts that already includes Mario Williams, Cody Jackson, Jalil Farooq and Bowman. Don't count OU out in the race for Egbuka's pledge.
3. Tristan Leigh (OL, No. 61 overall in SI99)
Leigh is a guy that Caleb Williams wants, and wants badly. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound offensive tackle is widely regarded as one of the most college-ready linemen in this class, and Williams has repeatedly expressed that he'd love to have Leigh protecting his blind side. Oklahoma has also offered Leigh's younger brother Aidan, a class of 2023 offensive lineman. LSU and Clemson appeared to be the favorites to land Leigh for most of the summer and fall, but Sooner Summit seems to have given Oklahoma new life in the hulking Virginian's recruitment.
4. Bryce Foster (OL, No. 30 overall in SI99)
Foster is a behemoth, an Olympic-caliber shotputter whose strength is his biggest asset. He's been smitten with the Sooners for quite a while now, and it seems apparent that the 330-pound guard will choose Oklahoma, Texas or Texas A&M. He's announced that he will make his collegiate decision two days after national signing day, so come Dec. 18, Sooner Nation will know for sure whether "The Mountain" will don the crimson and cream next fall. Should he sign with Oklahoma, he's got the size and skills to potentially start as a true freshman.
5. Savion Byrd (OL, SI1000)
If Oklahoma could land Leigh and Foster, a commitment from Byrd would round out a fantastic quartet of 2021 offensive linemen for the Sooners (Cullen Montgomery is already committed). The 6-foot-5, 295-pound Duncanville product is no slam dunk to choose the Sooners, as SMU is also a strong consideration. However, like Leigh, Byrd left Sooner Summit with a strikingly positive impression and a great camaraderie with the other Oklahoma targets in attendance. It'll more than likely be either the Sooners or the Mustangs for Byrd, but if he wants a chance to compete for a national championship, Caleb Williams and company would love to have him along for the ride.
6. David Abiara (DE, SI1000)
Abiara has had an eventful fall, as he was arrested and charged for misdemeanor trespassing in October and decommitted from Notre Dame a month later. For what it's worth, Abiara's high school coach is Chris Melson, a former quarterback at Oklahoma. Back in May, Melson told SI Sooners, "I wanted [Abiara] to go to OU. I’ve never had a player go to Oklahoma. I’ve had some great players and they’ve never chosen OU." Melson added that he would never use "any undue influence" on his players, but also stated that Alex Grinch and Calvin Thibodeaux "spent a lot of effort" to recruit Abiara. Now that the athletic defensive end prospect is back on the market, Oklahoma figures to ramp up that effort once again. Down the line, Abiara, Ethan Downs and Nathan Rawlins-Kibonge could be a fearsome edge rush trio for the Sooners.
7. Laith Marjan (K, unranked)
It's strange to think that Oklahoma is already having to prepare for life after Gabe Brkic, but with the redshirt sophomore firmly entrenched as one of the nation's top kickers, it stands to reason that he'll be draft-bound no later than 2022. Marjan just received an offer from Oklahoma last week, his first Power 5 scholarship. The North Carolina native is cut from the same cloth as Brkic: he's a stout 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, can handle punts and placekicks, and boasts sound mechanics and a big leg. With Brkic likely off to the NFL before long and Stephen Johnson set to graduate, Marjan could be next in the Sooners' outstanding line of kicking specialists.
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