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January 3, 2012SAN ANTONIO -- There is no question that one of the intangible elements that often comes out of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl is the recruiting of uncommitted prospects by the numerous players who've already made their college decision. It's something that college coaches are starting to take notice of and in turn those still waiting to make a choice are noting their strategy.
On Sunday during check-in, one player who clearly noted one team's strategy was Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes offensive tackle Zach Banner when he discussed USC's hopes of bringing him in on Jan. 13 along with several other prospects who are in the Alamo city this week.
"I think USC has a good strategy having the visit the week after the Army game because they know [recruits] will talk a lot," Banner told USCFootball.com. "Having us all come in at the same time would be good, but I think they'll be OK with me coming in later or earlier."
What the coaches are starting to try and capitalize on is something that the players have known for quite some time. In fact, it was part of Sooner commitment John Michael McGee's plans in San Antonio to spend some time around Banner and Dorial Green-Beckham. However, he is also aware there is a fine line between giving 'friendly advice' and simply turning a player off.
"It's a great opportunity. He is the No. 1 wide receiver in the nation, No. 1 player in the nation, he'd be a great addition to our class. With Ryan Broyles leaving he is an immediate threat so we're looking to get him to Norman with us," McGee said.
"You just want to give (Banner) a few pointers, like you said - not trying to hammer him or make a decision for him. He knows what is best for him and just like Dorial he'd be a great addition to our class and our system."
One thing that McGee can't avoid around Banner is being in the 6-foot-9, 310-pound star's shadow when lining up. However, don't expect McGee to be intimidated by the size of his massive counterparts on the offensive line.
"I'm used to being around bigger players, it reminds me of my sophomore year on varsity, I was the smallest guy - everyone was bigger than me. I'm just looking forward to the game and seeing how it goes," he said.
The 6-foot-4, 270-pound McGee has been a big piece of Oklahoma's talented class of 2012 and says that even he is surprised with how much bigger his class is becoming.
"The class started it was Kyle (Marrs), then I, then the rest of the guys committed. Trevor actually made a group on Facebook just of the commitments so every week we are bonding and getting to know each other better. The class is coming together - I guess a lot of people thought that it was going to be a small class but I know it's growing past what it was supposed to be," he said.
One player who stopped by for the West's morning workout was Oklahoma quarterback commitment, and San Antonio native, Trevor Knight. McGee says the class has started to build a strong bond and expects to see both Knight and Kyle Marrs through the week.
"All the guys that are here that are committed to Oklahoma, Durron (Neal), Derrick (Woods), Taylor (McNamara), Ty (Darlington) have all talked," he said. "Trevor actually just texted me about it. He was telling everybody hello, we're all just trying to persuade some more people to come to Oklahoma.
"This week, it's just another opportunity to get to meet and intermingle and just get to know each other."
As for the one player he was hoping to see? McGee admits it's one of his teammates.
"Actually I was watching Durron Neal's senior highlights, those were ridiculous," he said. "He is on my team, I might have to give up on a little bit of blocking to try and watch him catching the ball. He is the guy I want to see along with Dorial."
Regardless of who he is seeing, you can bet McGee will let everyone know where they need to be come next season.