OU football: How has Lincoln Riley's departure to USC impacted the Sooners' recruiting?

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Dominoes continue to fall in Norman.

The departure of OU head coach Lincoln Riley and numerous members of his staff to USC has started to take a toll on the future of the Sooners' football program.

Here are updates on OU commits following the wave of coaching changes:

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Players who have decommitted

2022 linebacker Kobie McKinzie: He joined the wave of recruits to decommit from OU on Nov. 28. McKinzie is a 6-foot-3, 225-pound linebacker from Lubbock, Texas, who is a consensus Top 100 prospect in the Class of 2022. The four-star prospect held offers from Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and other notable programs before committing to OU on Jan. 15, 2020. McKinzie is now open to recruitment following the recent coaching changes in Norman.

"First of all, I would like to thank the University of Oklahoma for recruiting me and allowing me to pursue my dreams at the next level," McKinzie said via Twitter. "With all of the coaching changes and not being sure of who the next head coach is going to be, I am going to decommit from the University of Oklahoma.

"This doesn't change how I feel about OU & Norman. They are both amazing. I want to specifically say thanks to Coach (Brian) Odom for recruiting me and wanting to coach me. My recruitment is open."

McKinzie announced his commitment to Texas on Sunday.

2022 center Demetrius Hunter: OU's 2022 class lost a key piece on Nov. 28 with the decommitment of Hunter. The 6-2, 285-pound center is a consensus four-star prospect from Orange, Texas. 247 Sports ranks Hunter as the best player at his position in the country. Hunter chose OU over a dozen offers, which included Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Arizona State last March. After being recruited by Sooners offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh, who is expected to join Riley in the move to USC, Hunter has decided to weigh his options.

"With everything going on at Oklahoma, I have to consider my options and do what's in my best interest," Hunter said via Twitter. "I love the University of Oklahoma and I'm forever grateful for the opportunity that they gave me!! With that being said, I have decided to decommit from the University of Oklahoma.

"Thank you, Sooner Nation. #Godsplan."

2022 defensive lineman Derrick Moore: He was the third OU Class of 2022 decommit on Nov 29. The 6-4, 250-pound defensive end from Baltimore, Maryland, is a consensus four-star prospect and the nation's third-best player at his position, according to ESPN. Moore chose OU over offers from Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame in July.

"First, I would like to say thank you to the University of Oklahoma and Norman for the love and support y'all have shown me during my recruiting process and making (me) feel (at) home," Moore said via Twitter. "I would like to say thank you to Coach (Jamar) Cain and Will (Johnson) for recruiting me and wanting me to be a part of Sooner Nation.

"But with all (that) being said, I will be decommitting from the University of Oklahoma and open up my recruitment to all schools."

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2022 running back Raleek Brown: After having an in-home visit with Riley and former Sooners assistant coach Dennis Simmons on Nov. 29, Brown announced his decommitment from OU on Wednesday. He is a 5-foot-8, 185-pound running back from Santa Ana, California, who is rated by 247 Sports as a five-star prospect. Brown chose OU over programs such as Alabama, Michigan, Cal and Arizona State on Feb. 5, 2021.

"First and foremost, I want to thank Coach Lincoln, Simmons and the entire coaching staff at OU for giving me the opportunity to play at the next level," Brown said via Twitter. "It is something that I have always dreamed of. But after a long talk with my father and family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to recommit from the University of Oklahoma.

"Making this decision will allow me to open my recruitment back up. I wish nothing but the best for the University of Oklahoma."

Brown announced his commitment to USC on Thursday. He is the second OU commit to follow Riley to the Trojans.

In an abbreviated spring season in 2020-21, Malachi Nelson threw for 1,513 yards and 23 touchdowns with just four interceptions.
In an abbreviated spring season in 2020-21, Malachi Nelson threw for 1,513 yards and 23 touchdowns with just four interceptions.

2022 defensive lineman Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy: The biggest hit to the defensive side of OU's Class of 2022 came on Monday when Brownlow-Dindy decommitted. He is a 6-foot-3, 280-pound defensive tackle and a consensus five-star star prospect. Brown originally chose the Sooners on Oct. 12, 2021, but he flipped to Texas A&M following Riley's departure.

2023 quarterback Malachi Nelson: The biggest hit to OU's future came on Nov. 28 with the decommitment of Nelson. The 6-3, 175-pound quarterback from Los Alamitos, California, is a consensus five-star prospect and the second-best player at his position in the country. Nelson originally chose OU over USC, Notre Dame, LSU, Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State on July 18, 2021.

"I want to start by thanking all the coaches and staff at OU for seeing enough in me and recruiting me to be a part of Sooner Nation," Nelson said via Twitter. "One of the things that attracted me most to OU, other than the rich history and amazing fans, was the stability in the coaching staff and their ability to develop the QB position."

"In light of the recent events and changes, my family and I believe it's best if I decommit from OU at this time. I want to thank all the Sooner fans for the relentless love and support they've shown."

After decommitting on Sunday, Nelson announced his commitment to USC on Tuesday. He becomes Riley's first recruit to commit to the Trojans.

2023 wide receiver Brandon Inniss: OU lost another five-star prospect on Nov. 28 with the decommitment of Inniss. The 6-foot, 190-pound wide receiver is rated by 247 Sports as the top player at his position in the country for the Class of 2023. Inniss chose OU over Alabama, Florida, Miami and Ohio State on March 6, 2020. After being recruited by OU outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons, who joined Riley in the move to USC, Innis opened his recruitment once again.

"I'm grateful for all that God has blessed me with," Inniss said via Twitter. "After a long talk with my family, I have decided to decommit from the University of Oklahoma and open up my recruitment to all schools!"

2023 running back Treyaun Webb: He announced his decision to decommit from OU on Nov. 28. Webb is a 6-foot, 190-pound running back from Jacksonville, Florida, who originally committed to the Sooners on July 17, 2021. The four-star prospect chose OU over Ohio State and Georgia at the time but is now open to recruitment once again.

"First off, I would like to thank the University of Oklahoma and the coaching staff for believing in me and welcoming me with open arms," Webb said in a tweet. "It has been a wild recruiting process for me to say the least, but at the end of the day, I have to do what's best for me.

"With that being said, due to the recent changes, my family and I have decided it is in my best interest to (de)commit from the University of Oklahoma. I am open to all schools."

2023 wide receiver Makai Lemon: OU lost a second California commit on Tuesday when Lemon announced his decision to decommit. Webb is a 5-foot-11, 180-pound wide receiver who is teammates with Nelson at Los Alamitos High School. The five-star prospect chose the Sooners over USC, Georgia, Michigan, Florida, Texas and Alabama on Aug. 7, 2021. Similar to Nelson, who committed to USC Tuesday, Lemon says he is not re-opening his recruitment.

"From the moment I received my offer from the University of Oklahoma, I have felt nothing but love and support from the entire OU staff, which I will forever be grateful," Lemon said in a tweet. "Due to the recent events and after careful consideration, I have decided to decommit from the University of Oklahoma. I will not be re-opening my recruitment.

"Thank you, OU, for giving me a chance at an amazing opportunity. Thank you, Sooner Nation, for all the love. It never went unnoticed. Thank you to everyone else who has supported me up to this point."

Lemon committed to USC on Friday. He is the third OU commit to follow Riley to the Trojans.

2023 tight end Luke Hasz: OU lost an in-state commit on Saturday when Hasz announced his decision to decommit from the program. He is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound tight end from Bixby and a consensus four-star prospect. Hasz chose the Sooners over numerous programs such as Oklahoma State, Alabama and LSU on Aug. 6, 2021. He is now open to recruitment once again.

"After talking with my family, I believe it’s in my best interest to decommit from OU at this time and reopen my recruitment," Hasz said in a tweet. "Thank you Sooner Nation for your continued support in this process!"

Players who have confirmed their commitment

2022 tight end Kaden Helms: Amid the wave of coaching changes and decommitments in Norman, Helms asserted his allegiance to OU via Twitter on Nov. 29. Helms is a 6-5, 220-pound tight end from Bellevue, Nebraska, who committed to the Sooners on Jan. 25, 2021. Helms is a three-star recruit who chose OU over Miami, Arizona State and North Carolina. Helms cited OU tight end/halfback coach Joe Jon Finley as someone who influenced his decision not to decommit.

"Trusting whatever God's plan may be for me through the thick of the storm," Helms said in a tweet that included a photo of him in an OU jersey. "Praying Joe Jon Finley can be a part of it, though!"

2022 defensive lineman Cedric Roberts: Roberts confirmed his commitment to OU on Tuesday. He is a 6-foot-3, 275-pound defensive lineman. The three-star prospect chose the Sooners over programs such as Baylor, SMU and UTSA on July 28, 2021. Roberts shared a photo of him and OU defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux doing the "horns down" gesture on Tuesday.

"Look who came down to see me," Roberts said the tweet. "#OUDNA #OU #BoomerSooner."

2022 offensive tackle Jacob Sexton: Sexton confirmed his commitment to OU on Nov. 29 via Twitter. He is a 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive tackle from Deer Creek High School, and he's a consensus four-star prospect. Sexton chose the Sooners over Texas, Alabama, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State in July.

"I know that this 22' class and the current players are capable of big things for the Sooners leading into the SEC," Sexton said via Twitter. "There’s just something special amongst this group and I believe it’s time us recruits get active on Twitter! What do y’all think Sooner Nation?? #PutOutTheFire."

2022 offensive tackle Jake Taylor: Taylor also confirmed his commitment to OU on Friday. He is a 6-foot-6, 290-pound offensive tackle who chose the Sooners on July 7, 2021. The four-star prospect cited OU running backs coach DeMarco Murray as someone who influenced his decision not to decommit.

“Just wanted to say thank you for all of the birthday wishes yesterday,” Taylor said in a tweet that included a photo of him and Murray. “It ended with a great night with DeMarco Murray. I told him that I am still and always will be 100% committed to The University of Oklahoma. #ChampU22.”

2022 running back Gavin Sawchuk: Sawchuk reaffirmed his commitment to OU on Sunday. He is a 5-foot-11, 185-pound running back and a consensus four-star prospect. Sawchuk chose the Sooners over USC, Notre Dame and a number of other notable programs on June 22, 2021. He confirmed his commitment by posting a clip from the movie The Wolf of Wall Street in which Leonardo DiCaprio's character repeatedly says the phrase "I'm not leaving."

2022 tight end Jason Llewellyn: He confirmed his commitment to OU on Monday. Llewellyn is a 6-foot-5, 240-pound tight end from Aledo, Texas. He is a four-star prospect who chose the Sooners over Auburn, Michigan, Texas and Yale on Feb. 19, 2021, and took to Twitter this week to reaffirm his decision.

"After a lot of prayer and taking everything in, there is no school I’d rather play for than the University of Oklahoma," Llewellyn said in a tweet. "The fans, the culture and the family that is OU is something special and something I want to be a part of for the rest of my life. BOOMER SOONER."

2023 running back Deandre Moore Jr.: Despite being a teammate of Nelson at Los Alamitos High School, Moore Jr. confirmed his commitment to OU on Sunday. Moore is a 5-11, 190-pound wide receiver who is a consensus four-star prospect. He chose the Sooners over USC, Alabama, Florida State and Oregon in September. Moore cited Murray as someone who influenced his decision not to decommit.

"I'm still with DeMarco Murray and #SoonerNation," Moore said in a tweet that included a photo of him in an OU jersey. "#BoomerSooner."

This article will be updated with further information.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU football recruiting decommitments after Lincoln Riley move to USC

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