NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma receiver Nick Basquine took another tough hit.
The former Norman North receiver tore his right Achilles’ tendon during a non-contact workout last week, OU coach Lincoln Riley announced Wednesday.
Basquine missed the entire 2017-18 season because of a torn left Achilles’ tendon sustained during fall camp last August.
His latest injury happened while performing what Riley described as “closer to a warm-up.” The tendon has been repaired, but Basquine will miss spring practice.
“We do expect that we'll have him back in fall camp,” Riley said. “It's a tough injury for him, but Nick's been through it. If there's anybody who can bounce back from that, he's the guy.”
Basquine will be a redshirt senior in the fall. He caught 20 passes for 265 yards as a redshirt sophomore and was considered a key returner last season before his first injury.
• Steal of the day: National signing day was quieter than usual in Norman, since OU signed 19 of its 22-member class during the new, early December signing date.
But when four-star defensive tackle Michael Thompson’s signed with Oklahoma on Wednesday it still made a splash.
Thompson, a 6-foot-5, 330-pound prospect from Parkway North (St. Louis) High School chose the Sooners over Missouri.
OU entered Thompson’s recruiting picture in January during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and ultimately landed a steal, with help from current Sooner commit Ronnie Perkins, who is from St. Louis.
“Michael is a very athletic kid. Even though he’s 20-25 pounds overweight right now, he still moves real well and quite honestly, is still growing. I mean, he’s just a big boy,” Thompson’s high school coach Bob Bunton said.
Six members of OU’s class — which is ranked No. 9 by 247sports, t-No. 8 by Rivals.com and No. 10 by ESPN — can play defensive line and carry four-star rankings or better from recruiting services.
OU surrendered 268 yards rushing against Kansas State, 251 against West Virginia and 317 against Georgia last season.
“You gotta be able to stop both [offensive styles],” Riley said. “You go up to Kansas State and you’re gonna have to stop the run 50 times no matter what year you play them.
“We’re looking for guys with versatility, not just guys that can only play in space. When it does become a fistfight in the middle, you have gotta have guys that can win that too.”
• Changes: Riley said national signing day certainly felt different with what’s been estimated as more than 70 percent of FBS prospects choosing to sign in December.
Only three new signees were announced Wednesday: Thompson, three-star tight end Brayden Willis and four-star linebacker DaShaun White. All were quality pickups, but there was no drama.
“Normally there's all these different things coming in and there's maybe 10 different battles you're fighting and you're hoping to get a couple out of them. There was just so much more certainty,” Riley said. “We felt good about DaShaun, even though he had people knocking down his door until late last night, and felt good about Brayden.”
Willis, who will play OU’s H-back/tight end role, is a unique talent. He threw, caught and ran for more than 500 yards during his senior season at James Martin High School in Arlington, Texas and accounted for 30 total touchdowns.
“I think he may be a guy that can give you some really, really good versatility,” Riley said. “He was really, if you will, the late find in the class and a lot of times those guys have a way of becoming some of the best players year-in and year-out.”
White was one of OU’s top targets at inside linebacker.
“[We] felt like he was the number one guy on our board from the beginning. It was kind of a back-and-forth recruitment. [Linebackers coach] Tim Kish did a great job building a relationship with that family.”
• Room to grow?: The Sooners could still welcome a graduate transfer, a route that worked for former Sooners Geno Lewis (Penn State) and Jeff Badet (Kentucky) in the past.
OU is waiting on a decision from Rice offensive tackle Calvin Anderson, who is considered the nation’s most coveted graduate transfer. The three-year starter is reportedly leaning toward Texas or Michigan and has said he hopes to decide by March 25, which is his 22nd birthday.
Leaving scholarships open for such players makes sense, Riley said.
“We had a plan going into this that we did not want to leave signing day without a couple [spots] open. There's just enough that can happen and we wanted to make sure that we had that flexibility,” he said.
• Moore still coming: Junior-college signee Tramonda Moore, a 6-foot-4, 340-pound offensive tackle, will report to the team over the summer. He was initially expected to enroll for the spring semester.
“Academically, he wasn’t to a point where [enrolling early] was ready to happen yet, but we fully anticipate he’ll be here in June,” Riley said.
• This, that: Riley confirmed that Ricky DeBerry will finish the semester, graduate and transfer. The former linebacker turned H-back will be eligible immediately as a graduate transfer. … OU’s spring practices will begin on either March 10 or March 11, Riley said.