John E. Hoover: Lincoln Riley’s flip of Ron Tatum sends a message to Texas’ Tom Herman: No tresspassing

John E. Hoover: Lincoln Riley’s flip of Ron Tatum sends a message to Texas’ Tom Herman: No tresspassing

Since Bob Stoops’ retirement last Wednesday, new Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley has been all smiles, especially with Monday’s news that Putnam City defensive end Ron Tatum has decommitted from Texas and will be an Oklahoma Sooner. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Lincoln Riley just sent a message to Tom Herman: No trespassing.

The Texas football coach on Monday felt his first sting at the hands of Oklahoma’s new coach when Putnam City defensive end Ron Tatum flipped his verbal commitment from UT to OU.

In the ever-evolving rivalry between the Longhorns and Sooners, the 42-year-old Herman had crossed the Red River four times in the last two recruiting classes and has taken some of Oklahoma’s top talent out from under 56-year-old Bob Stoops’ nose.

But Riley, 33, may have flipped the script.

They say football recruiting is a young man’s game. Advantage Riley.

Tatum is OU’s ninth 2018 verbal commitment (Riley’s first), joining high profile names like offensive tackle Brey Walker, running back T.J. Pledger and quarterback Tanner Mordecai.

Quarterback recruiting under Stoops had hit a rough patch, too, when Herman picked up an unbinding commit from former Southmoore star (now Newcastle) Casey Thompson, son of former Sooner wishbone wizard Charles Thompson. Even more troubling, Herman flipped California QB Cameron Rising from his verbal pledge to OU. Now, both Thompson and Rising are committed to Texas.

But Riley’s immediate promotion in the wake of Stoops’ sudden retirement last week may have stemmed that momentum.

Tatum is a 6-foot-4, 270-pound thoroughbred, arguably the top prospect in the state.

No doubt Oklahoma will be challenged to replace a legend like Stoops. But just five days into his new job, Riley is off to a good start.


Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “Further Review with Hoover & Rew” and can be heard every weekday on The Franchise in Tulsa from noon to 3 p.m. with co-host Lauren Rew. In Oklahoma City, catch him Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 10:25 and every Friday afternoon at 4:05. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Visit his personal page at johnehoover.


Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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