Nation's No. 1 running back prospect Taylor Tatum chooses Oklahoma over USC Trojans

The Oklahoma Sooners and running backs coach DeMarco Murray picked up another big-time recruiting win,

earning the commitment of Taylor Tatum. Tatum is the No. 1 running back in the nation and a composite five-star prospect,

according to 247Sports. Tatum committed to Oklahoma on Friday morning over Lincoln Riley’s USC Trojans.

With his commitment, Tatum becomes the highest-rated recruit in Murray’s coaching career.

The Sooners have been involved in a highly contested recruitment that has spanned well over a year.

While Oklahoma wasn’t always considered the leader throughout, Murray and the Sooners staff remained steady in their pursuit of Tatum as he played out the process.

Oklahoma entered the race last summer by offering him in June. Tatum had a highly productive junior season where he was named Texas District 7-5A D-I Overall MVP,

 rushing for 1,891 yards and 33 TDs on 8.33 yards per carry. He also caught three touchdowns to help his Longview squad to a 14-1 record and the Texas 5A D-I state semifinals.

With his junior season behind him, Tatum’s recruitment took off. On April 24, he announced a top seven list of Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC, Texas A&M, Georgia and Texas.

Around that time, Michigan already had several predictions in its favor. Eventually, the recruitment whittled itself down to the Sooners, Trojans and Wolverines. 

Official visits to Oklahoma, Michigan and USC came and went. All three schools sold Tatum on playing football and baseball.

A significant factor in his recruitment was his ability to play both sports. He patrols the outfield or can slide down and play second base.

As the calendar turned to July, Oklahoma and USC stood tall as the final two.

Oklahoma surged in his recruitment, and predictions from insiders at 247Sports, On3 and Rivals overwhelmingly favored the Sooners.

But it was the Sooners that closed it out. In doing so, Murray and Skip Johnson landed one of the best three-sport stars in the country.

In addition to football and baseball, Tatum also stars for his track squad, winning district and area meets in the 200 meters.

By landing Tatum, Murray gets a three-down back capable of hitting the home run and one unafraid of getting behind his pads and fighting for the dirty yards.

In contrast, Skip Johnson gets a dynamic athlete capable of roaming the outfield like former Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray.

Gabe Brooks of 247Sports had this to say in his evaluation of Tatum.

Now that Oklahoma has landed Tatum, the Sooners have passed rivals Texas and Nebraska in recruiting for 2024. Oklahoma sits 16th in the nation in team recruiting rankings.

Tatum’s commitment also makes him the highest-rated recruit for Oklahoma’s class, overtaking a spot held by four-star wide receiver Zion Kearney.

The work is not done for Murray. Next up in the 2024 recruiting cycle is four-star running back Caden Durham. Durham is set to commit on Aug. 25, choosing among Oklahoma, LSU and Texas A&M.


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