ESPN Junior 300's Jaden O'Neal commits to Oklahoma Sooners

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Oklahoma landed its latest high-profile quarterback Monday when class of 2026 pocket passer Jaden O'Neal, No. 31 in the ESPN Junior 300, announced his commitment to the Sooners.

O'Neal, the third-ranked quarterback in his class, picked Oklahoma over finalists Ohio State, Miami, Florida State and Washington. The 6-foot-3, four-star passer from Harbor City, California, is now the sixth top-10 quarterback from the 2026 class to announce his decision this month, and O'Neal is the Sooners' highest-rated quarterback pledge since third overall prospect Jackson Arnold committed in 2023.

"I like the way they attack football," O'Neal told ESPN. "Everybody there loves football. There's not a lot of distractions in Norman. They have a good academic program. I'm a student-athlete and student comes before athlete. And then it was just the players that I'll be surrounded with. They've got some top-notch quarterbacks."

Gifted with one of the strongest arms in the 2026 class, O'Neal threw for 2,475 yards and 27 touchdowns as a sophomore at California's Newport Harbor High School last fall. In March, O'Neal announced his transfer 40 miles up the Southern California coast to Narbonne High ahead of his junior season.

O'Neal began June with camp visits to Texas, Colorado and Florida State, then took an unofficial visit to Miami in the middle of the month before concluding his camp slate with Oklahoma and Ohio State in recent weeks. The series of visits left O'Neal with finalists on both coasts, but it was his latest trip to Oklahoma that helped seal his commitment to the SEC-bound Sooners.

"Norman, man, the experience alone was incredible," he said. "The standard was just as high as the first time I visited. I was able to get out there and talk to the coaches and regroup. Just making sure the communication was still high and just making sure the relationships were still there."

Oklahoma initially made its offered to O'Neal on Feb. 7. The relationships he forged with Brent Venables and first-year offensive coordinator Seth Littrell in the months since stood among the connections that ultimately pulled O'Neal to Norman.

"The energy wasn't fake," O'Neal said. "It was very authentic and real. I really like the strong tradition that they hold, the development opportunity and just what they can bring for my family and I, on and off the field. All of that was important to me."

O'Neal noted the Sooners' tradition of developing top quarterbacks, and he'll step into a deep quarterback room when he arrives in Oklahoma.

The Sooners added two quarterbacks -- four-star passer Michael Hawkins and three-star newcomer Brendan Zurbrugg -- in the 2024 class. In 2025, Oklahoma holds a commitment from four-star prospect Kevin Sperry, the 11th-ranked quarterback in the class. Arnold, the former five-star recruit, is set to take over starting duties in the Sooners' backfield this fall.

O'Neal's commitment comes after three of his fellow top-10 2026 quarterbacks announced their commitments last week: Texas' Dia Bell (No. 2 pocket passer in 2026), Florida State's Brady Smigiel (No. 6) and Michigan's Brady Hart (No. 8).

Now that he has committed, O'Neal plans to shut down his recruitment and focus on his junior season at Narbonne this fall.

"Now that I've made my decision, I'm sticking with it," he said. "I'm only planning on taking official visits to that one school."