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Softball Recruiting Report and 2020-21 Update
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OUBeliever56
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 Posted: Tue Nov 5th, 2019 10:35 pm

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In a week the recruiting class of 2020-21 for the Oklahoma Sooner Softball program will be announced the 13th of November with quite a bit of fanfare. The class of 20-21 is perhaps the most prestigious class ever for Sooner softball. It is probably a direct reflection of the outstanding success that the Sooners have had since their 2013 National Championship. In the six years since that championship the program has added two additional national championships (2016 & 2017) and 1 runner-up trophy (2019). Two other years they were in the World Series (2014 & 2018) while in 2015 their season ended in the Super Regionals. In the world of D1 softball, that record is beyond outstanding and apparently the young softball players in the country have taken notice.

In some publications, the Sooners have recruited players that were the #1 rated-player in the country at some point during the recruiting process in the 2018-19 class and the 2019-20 classes. Those players were Brooke Vestal (RHP) and Kinzie Hansen (C-1B) who are now playing for the Sooners. The class before that included Jocelyn Alo (OF) which has been as impressive as any player in the country after her two years at OU.

This year the 2020-21 recruiting class that will be announced shortly will include at least 5 Sooner-committed softball players that will be as highly regarded as any class at Oklahoma. All five of the recruits have at one-time been rated as high as the #26 player in the country and four have been in the Top 10 players at one time or another. There is highly recognized talent in each one of the players.

Leading the way is Jayda Coleman from Texas. She is a left-handed fielder and hitter that has played primarily SS for years. This summer in the U-19 World Championships playing for the USA she primarily played CF and a little at first base. Even though she was one of the youngest players on the team, she was one of the integral contributors for the team as they won the Gold Medal. She has been the #1-rated player in the country almost unanimously for at least 2 years. She has great speed, power and instincts in all phases of the game. She will be a player that has the chance to be an outstanding D1 softball for four years. For the Sooners she will probably not play SS, but she will be in the starting lineup every time ‘Boomer Sooner’ is being played with the OU softball team on the field. Most predict she will play CF, some say 1B, some say 2B, and even some still say SS. She could bat anywhere from leadoff to cleanup depending on what is needed. The Sooner faithful fans will enjoy watching this young lady play every game.

Not far behind Coleman is Tiare Jennings from California. She is a right-handed fielder and batter that has played primarily SS. She has been rated as high as the #2 recruit and as low as the #17 recruit in the country the last few years. Her rating has been increasing during the last year with it always in the Top 6. She is an excellent fielder with an excellent arm and a powerful bat that will should hit for a high average also. She is another player that should be an outstanding player for Oklahoma. Some observers say Jennings will take the SS job from Grace Lyons. Others think that Jennings will play 3B or 2B. She will definitely play every day. She will likely bat in the heart of the lineup (#2 thru #6) her entire career. If Lyons and Jennings play the left side of the infield, the Sooners should be great defensively on the left side.

Nicole May is equal-to if not ahead of Jennings. She is also from California and has played with Jennings on the Batbusters for a couple of years. She is an outstanding RHP and an equally good hitter (RH - I think) playing mostly 3B when she is not pitching. May is a legitimate two way player. She has been rated as high as the #4 player but not lower than the #9 player for the last couple of years. Most observers say that she seems to enjoy a challenge and likes to step up against the best talent. May could be projected as the #1 pitcher on the Sooner staff as a freshman by the spring of 2021. Most do not think she will play as a fielder for the Sooners but she is thought to swing a bat as a DP/DH during her career for the Sooners. She has put up lofty 0.400 plus batting averages with power at all levels of play. She will be the third player in this class that can play (or hit) every day for four years for the Sooners.

Zaida Puni is the 4th highly regarded player in this class. She is a right-handed hitter and fielder that is from California and plays for the Batbusters. She has been rated as high as the #4 in the country and has usually been no lower than the #16 rated player. Recently she was rated as the #26 player by one publication. She has been described as a player with unparalleled power who may not hit for a high average. She may not hit 0.400 but she will definitely hit the softball a very long ways regularly. She has played mostly at 3B, a little 2B and some 1B. If Lyons and Jennings play the left side, maybe Puni plays on the right side for the Sooners or she can DP/DH, if needed. The Sooners do have an abundance of talent that can or will play, 3B, SS and 2B in the future. Puni probably bats between the #5 and the #7 spot in the lineup for the Sooners. Puni could very well be the 4th freshman in the everyday lineup for the Sooners in 2020-21.

The fifth and last ‘known’ recruit for the Sooners is Paige Knight. She is an Oklahoman from Owasso. I recently read where she was playing SS for the Owasso in the state high school playoffs. She played with Rylie Boone who is a freshman at Oklahoma this year. I have seen her rated as high as #26 and usually no lower than the #50’s range. Recently one publication had her as the #98 recruit. She is a infielder with some power who plays the game at a high level. She will likely be a utility player at Oklahoma who will challenge somewhere for starting time. She is another excellent athlete that has great fielding skills and a good college level bat that will be playing for the Sooners.

I have read that recently the Sooners lost a committed player in Destinee Noury who was a smart MIF with great fielding skills and speed. I can understand why a player would reconsider trying to compete against the infield talent that is currently at Oklahoma and who will be coming to the program.

Since Noury will not be coming to OU, perhaps a recruiting spot is open in this class, I wonder if there is a surprise recruit that may be announced next week. Perhaps a pitcher, even a lefty, could round out this recruiting class very well.

As it is often quoted about Coach Gasso and the Sooners, “They just re-load every year with more talented players.” This class defines that in every way.

Food for thought, a possible batting order for the Sooners in the spring of 2021.

Coleman CF (Freshman)
Alo LF (Senior)
Jennings SS (Freshman)
Green RF (Junior)
Hansen 1B/C (Sophomore)
May P/DP (Freshman)
Puni 2B (Freshman)
Elam C/1B (Senior)
Lyons SS (Junior)

Boomer Sooner!

Last edited on Thu Nov 7th, 2019 03:25 am by OUBeliever56

cclift38
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 Posted: Wed Nov 6th, 2019 03:04 am

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I’m pretty excited with this class. II’d say it’s for sure the best class since the class that just graduated. When they come in I think the roster will be as deep as I’ve seen it. There will be some interesting battles for positions. Gasso seems to like shortstop type players. Makes sense as they are usually athletes with strong arms that can be moved to other positions. Jayda Coleman maybe the most anticipated recruit I’ve seen come in since I’ve been following recruiting. Jennings will be hard to keep out of the lineup. Great athlete that can do it all. I’ve seen her get more big hits in big games than any other recruit. She thrives in pressure moments. May might be as important as any of them. If there is a question mark it’s pitching. If no transfers comes in she might be the favorite to be the ace as a freshman. Even with a transfer she is probably the number 2. She was already ahead of Raines and Thiede on the Batbuster staff. Will be fun to watch it come together. I think we may see some more OU vs UCLA wars in the future. Both are recruiting very well.

Last edited on Wed Nov 6th, 2019 07:49 am by cclift38

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 Posted: Wed Nov 6th, 2019 06:37 am

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It definitely looks like this class will be remarkable. As long as the pitching pans out, the next few years should be alot of fun to watch.

cclift38
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 Posted: Wed Nov 6th, 2019 08:20 am

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Here would be the roster breakdown:

Seniors:

Jocelyn Alo OF
Lynnsie Elam C
Eliyah Flores Ut
Taylon Snow Inf

Juniors:

Kinsey Koeltzow C
Grace Lyons Inf
Grace Green Ut
Booke Vestal P(Soonersports has listed as soph this year)
Audrie LaValley OF (soonersports listing outfield)

Soph:

Rylie Boone OF
Olivia Raines P
Kinzie Hansen C
Mackenzie Donihoo Inf
Macy Mcadoo P
Raylee Pogue Ut
Alycia Flores OF
Alanna Thiede P


Fresh:

Jayda Coleman (will list as utility as a guess)
Tiarre Jennings Inf
Zaida Puni Inf
Nicole May P/INF
Paige Knight P/INF

OUBeliever56
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 Posted: Wed Nov 6th, 2019 01:15 pm

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For Brooke Vestal it will depend if she is listed as her class or eligibility.
She redshirted last year. So she is a Redshirt freshman this year but she is in her Sophomore class year.

Boomer Sooner!

OU_Tom
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 Posted: Thu Nov 7th, 2019 01:01 am

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Rumor has it that LaValley is now in the transfer portal

cclift38
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 Posted: Thu Nov 7th, 2019 02:34 am

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I've also heard that.

OUBeliever56
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 Posted: Thu Nov 7th, 2019 02:46 am

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Looks like you are correct.

I just checked the transfer portal on Softball America and LaValley is listed as of 11/5/2019.

I was surprised that this fall she has been slapping almost every at bat. I thought that last year she was potentially a very good left handed hitter without the slap influence.

Then for the last two games of fall she only worked in the outfield drills before the game signalling a change for her in my mind. She did play the OF in the next to last game. She played 2B and 1B in the last fall game. I think she might have been desperate to find a place to play this fall. LaValley was probably #11 on the depth chart among fielders at best.

Potentially, OU will miss the depth that LaValley provided. Losing LaValley and Sami Skelly both this year hurts the depth.

To me the big issue is that we have 12 fielding players until Mendes returns. The bench will consist of 3 players. Those three being Koeltzow, Pogue and one of Alycia Flores and Donihoo.

Last edited on Thu Nov 7th, 2019 02:48 am by OUBeliever56

cclift38
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 Posted: Thu Nov 7th, 2019 03:33 am

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Hate to see LaValley leave. Always kind of root for the Oklahoma girls. But at a program like OU you're going to see some girls leave for playing time somewhere else. Might run a little thin this season but you do have players such as Grace Green who can move around which should help if injuries pop up. The freshman class next year is all infielders so its going to get very crowded again. I'm sure that went into LaValley's decision. She would have to beat out someone like Tiare Jennings which will be a tall order. Don't be surprised to see Arkansas or maybe UCO here.

cclift38
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 Posted: Sat Nov 9th, 2019 02:57 am

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There are some ballplayers on campus.

https://twitter.com/njmj624/status/1192938370260963328?s=20



https://twitter.com/_tiarejennings/status/1192950681931517952?s=20

OUBeliever56
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 Posted: Sat Nov 9th, 2019 01:38 pm

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Thanks for the pics. It is nice to be able to put faces with names (I think).


Guessing here: from left to right - Paige Knight, Zaida Puni, Tiare Jennings, Nicole May and Jayda Coleman

OU_Tom
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 Posted: Sat Nov 9th, 2019 04:07 pm

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Cool. Thanks! I could be wrong but I think LOI day is next week (the 13th)

cclift38
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 Posted: Sun Nov 10th, 2019 12:41 am

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OUBeliever56 wrote:
Thanks for the pics. It is nice to be able to put faces with names (I think).


Guessing here: from left to right - Paige Knight, Zaida Puni, Tiare Jennings, Nicole May and Jayda Coleman



That is correct.

cclift38
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 Posted: Mon Nov 11th, 2019 04:44 am

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https://twitter.com/nxcole9/status/1193737193778556928/photo/3


Your next signing class.

Last edited on Mon Nov 11th, 2019 04:45 am by cclift38

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 Posted: Mon Nov 11th, 2019 08:42 am

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kinda a medium size class but there could be 4 starters there

cclift38
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 Posted: Mon Nov 11th, 2019 09:31 am

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4 of them have been rated in the top 10. Knight has been as high as the 20's.

OUBeliever56
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 Posted: Tue Nov 12th, 2019 12:08 am

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Thanks for the post and pics. I was hoping for a "Koeltzow" type of addition to the class as a spring semester addition this year to help out the player count.

I guess I have to wait and see about that.

Boomer Sooner!

cclift38
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 Posted: Tue Nov 12th, 2019 04:00 pm

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https://www.flosoftball.com/articles/6598075-top-25-college-softball-recruiting-classes-in-the-2020-class

Flosoftball has OU class ranked 5th. I still think it’s the top ranked class. It’s a smaller class than the others. The way they rank is a total point system so a bigger class is an advantage.

I actually kind of like the classes that are 5 or 6 players. If you get that ever class it’s a pretty even roster. 5 players times 4 years is 20 players. Pretty much a full roster.

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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2019 03:57 am

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Flosoftball has dramatically changed several of their rankings for this Sooner class from the last time. The dropped Zaida Puni, who was a top 10 recruit, to 75. I don’t get the change, was she injured? Paige Knight was previously ranked in the 20’s and she did not even appear in the top 100 this time. They dropped Nicole May from 8 to low teens. Flosoftball has under valued this Sooner class.

cclift38
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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2019 06:11 am

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I haven't been impressed with Flo's rankings since the Eeds guy left. They've been a little more all over the place. Puni had a good PGF tournament for a very good Batbusters team. Not sure why she would fall that far. Coleman was pretty well locked in to #1 but I've always thought Jennings was #2. Has big hits in big games. May has pretty well been consensus top 10 also. But a drop in the teens isn't to dramatic. I haven't kept up with Knight well enough to no what the drop off has been. I know she had some nice accolades in high school ball. In my opinion this is the best class since the Romero, Knighten, Clifton, Aviu class. These are athletic, talented girls. I would pencil in Coleman and Jennings as 4 year starters.

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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2019 01:22 pm

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This is an outstanding class. Usually there are a few graduating seniors that open up roster spots but the only graduating seniors this year will be pitchers. It is hard to dislodge a player once they have a year or so in the system. A year ago I thought Hansen would definitely be our catcher but it looks like Elam will catch with Hansen at first. I think Cclift38 is probably correct about Coleman and Jennings starting somewhere next year; they are too good not to start. Could May play both ways or will she just pitch? This year’s freshmen and these signees guarantee that we will have a VERY good team for the next 3 or 4 years.

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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2019 04:09 pm

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Any update on signings today?

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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2019 05:30 pm

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Can someone provide Flosoftball’s final rankings of OU’s recruits/signees? For some reason I can’t find it. I know Coleman is ranked #1.

Thanks in advance.

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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2019 06:15 pm

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https://twitter.com/DMNGregRiddle/status/1194666192641896449?s=20

OUBeliever56
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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2019 06:23 pm

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I do not know about FloSoftball but I follow Softball America. Their rankings were:

#1 Jayda Coleman SS-OF
#4 Nicole May P-3B
#5 Tiare Jennings SS
#26 Zaida Puni 3B
#98 Paige Knight INF

OU was the only D1 team with 3 in the Top 10.
Only 2 D1 schools had 4 players in the top 50 (OU and LSU)
Only Arizona had 5 players in the Top 50.

As others have said on this blog, I agree that Coleman and Jennings will start from day 1 in Norman.

Additionally, I think that Nicole May will be the likely #1 pitcher on the staff as a freshman. May also has a very good chance to be the DP on most days.

Puni will more than likely be in the starting lineup somewhere (INF or DP). I think that Snow may likely become a defensive sub as a senior. There will be too many dynamic bats in Norman for Snow to start everyday.

Boomer Sooner!

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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2019 08:34 pm

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OUBeliever56 wrote:
I do not know about FloSoftball but I follow Softball America. Their rankings were:

#1 Jayda Coleman SS-OF
#4 Nicole May P-3B
#5 Tiare Jennings SS
#26 Zaida Puni 3B
#98 Paige Knight INF


Boomer Sooner!


Thanks for the info!

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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2019 11:13 pm

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pattisonr wrote:
Any update on signings today?I have not seen a write up on the signees yet

But we have a couple of teaser tweets regarding Nicole May and Tiarra Jennings

https://twitter.com/OU_Softball/status/1194742549820379136?s=19

https://twitter.com/OU_Softball/status/1194725960429555712?s=19

OUBeliever56
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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2019 11:28 pm

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There are four videos that I have seen that the OU video staff has produced. Each has to do with a part of the 'history' of the OU Softball program. There are three on the OU Softball News page. One for Jayda Coleman and OU DNA, one for Paige Knight and Oklahoma recruits and one for Nicole May and OU Pitching DNA.

On OU Softball Twitter there is the same type of video for Tiare Jennings and OU biggest bats and once again the Nicole May video.

You can find both 'accounts' by searching on Google for 'OU Softball News'. You will find the Sooner Sports Softball News and look down the page under future items. You also find the OU Softball Twitter account link in your search.

I have yet to find anything about Zaida Puni. Although we have seen the pictures of all five girls on campus last weekend.

The videos are high quality and took some effort to make. I like them but I am bummed that there is not the one article report like the last couple years about the recruits. At least not yet.

Boomer Sooner!

Last edited on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 01:32 am by OUBeliever56

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 Posted: Wed Nov 13th, 2019 11:59 pm

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They just tweeted out 2 more. I am currently driving. I will post links in 30 mins if no one beats me to it

Paige knight

https://twitter.com/OU_Softball/status/1194758403039670272?s=19

Last edited on Thu Nov 14th, 2019 12:03 am by OU_Tom

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 Posted: Thu Nov 14th, 2019 01:00 am

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Jayda Coleman
https://twitter.com/ou_softball/status/1194773295943553031?s=21


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