Oklahoma lands commitment from 4-star DL Nigel Smith: What the addition means for Sooners’ defense

Oklahoma landed another big-time piece to its future defense when Nigel Smith II, a four-star defensive lineman of Melissa (Texas) High, committed to the Sooners on Friday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Smith is rated the No. 83 overall player and the No. 12 defensive lineman in the 247Sports Composite in the 2024 class. He took his official visit to Oklahoma in mid-June.
  • Smith chose Oklahoma over offers from Ohio State, Penn State, Texas, Texas A&M and others.
  • This is the second huge commitment for Oklahoma on its defensive line in the recent past. Five-star David Stone of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG — the No. 6 overall player and No. 2 defensive lineman in the cycle — committed to the Sooners on Aug. 26.

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

What does this mean for Oklahoma?

There have been absolutely no questions about Oklahoma’s ability to maintain an explosive offense. The Sooners have done nothing but score a ton for much of the past decade. But the key for Oklahoma to be SEC ready next season is to recruit dynamic playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. Obviously having a defensive-minded coach in Brent Venables gives you a chance, but Oklahoma has been a monster on the recruiting front since his arrival.

With pickups like this one, it seems like only a matter of time before Oklahoma is a menace on defense, which is perfect timing as it levels-up to the most competitive conference in college football.


Oklahoma’s recruiting class moved up from 12th to eighth in the nation, per 247Sports. It now has five top-100 players nationally. Two of them are defensive players to go along with five-star running back Taylor Tatum of Longview (Texas) High, four-star tight end Davon Mitchell of Los Alamitos (Calif.) High and four-star receiver Zion Kearney of Missouri City (Texas) Hightower.

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(Photo: Michael C. Johnson / USA Today) 

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