Bob Stoops’ Philosophy on State Recruiting

Former Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops made his weekly radio appearance on The REF (94.7 FM/1400 AM) in Norman on Tuesday with hosts Teddy Lehman and Tyler McComas during their weekday afternoon show “The Rush” from 3-6 p.m.

McComas asked Stoops about his and his team’s philosophy regarding in-state recruiting during his tenure as Oklahoma’s captain.

“Well, the first philosophy was, as much as possible, I don’t want to make a mistake and never pass up a kid from Oklahoma State. And if you have any doubts as a coach of position, let me watch them,” Stoops explained.

Stoops then used recruiting Dan Cody as an example.

“For example, we didn’t know where Dan Cody would play, so no position coach wanted to commit to him. They put him in front of me. It didn’t take me five minutes to watch the tape. I I said, ‘I don’t care what you all think. I understand that nobody knows where you want to put him. He’s going to play here. I’m offering him a scholarship. So our point was, I always insisted on the that if we’re ever going to make a mistake, make a mistake on a young man from Oklahoma Give them a chance If you ever have any doubts, again let me watch them I didn’t mean miss a kid from Oklahoma, young man. No,” Stoops said.

Of course, Cody became a star in Oklahoma. The Ada product was a four-year starter for the Sooners at defensive end where he recorded 25 career sacks and achieved First-Team All-Big 12 status in 2003 and 2004. Cody was drafted in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens.

There are many other examples of great OU players under Stoops who were children of the state. Players like Sam Bradford, Ryan Broyles, Rocky Calmus, Gerald McCoy, Teddy Lehman, Curtis Lofton and Sterling Shepard to name a few.

“I’ve always wanted to give players in this condition here the benefit of the doubt, go ahead first. And I’ll say this too. I’ve always said that to our coaches. You go back to Jason White, my first class recruiting. I said, ‘We don’t have a big population in the state of Oklahoma, so maybe we’re not going to offer 15 guys, 10 guys from the state, but the guys we have, they can play anywhere in the country and they can be the best. You watch Teddy, Rocky, Sam, Jason, over and over,” Stoops said of his in-state recruiting philosophy. .

It appears Oklahoma’s new head football coach, Brent Venables, is taking a similar approach to recruiting talent in the state.

In recent weeks, Venables and his team have sent offers for running back Erik McCarty of McAlester and defensive end Bai Jobe of Community Christian to Norman. These two classes of 2023 prospects are currently expected to land with OU.

The Sooners appear to have locked in the next signing of Gentry Williams from Booker T. Washington in the Class of 2022 and they have made it a priority to re-offer the best player in the state for the Class of 2024 to David Stone of Del City. .

McComas thinks Stoops’ approach to the state in the past can offer a glimpse into Oklahoma’s future with Venables.

“I think about a lot of things about how [Stoops] have done things, we can use them as a useful tool to see what the future will look like here. I think without a doubt, the way Bob did it, Brent isn’t going to quite look like that, but it’s going to look pretty. My initial thought is, okay, well, if Bob was willing to give a kid from Oklahoma a chance, then I think Brent will be a lot more willing to do that too, especially more than what Lincoln and the previous staff have done,” McComas said.

McCarty fits the bill of a player who Oklahoma is willing to offer and take a chance on, something he may not have been willing to do under Riley. According to Rivals, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound running back is rated a three-star rookie.

“My whole conclusion is, okay, I thought OU was going to be more active in the state with recruiting and obviously they’re going to have four and five star guys, but I think maybe… not like five or six guys per class, but you’re going to see one or two three-star kids from Oklahoma in classes here in the future and that obviously wasn’t the case here recently,” McComas said.

Oklahoma fans have been more than familiar with the pros and cons of the NCAA transfer portal ever since Riley arrived at USC. McComas said that’s less of a concern with in-state talent.

“Some people might call some of these kids risks. I would consider that…it’s a calculated risk. They’re not just going to take a kid to take a kid to say they recruited Oklahoma. They’re going to take it because they like its size, they like its measurability, they like what it’s going to be. I like that because you’re much more apt to keep a kid on the list, I think, if they’re from out of state. You’re much more apt that this kid might not enter the portal after his second season. Maybe he’s more patient to find his turn on the roster,” McComas said.

One of the other common thoughts about in-state talent is that their connection and familiarity with the Oklahoma program means they can inherently care more about the program.

McComas didn’t completely shoot that down, but did point out that there are prominent examples of players synonymous with OU who aren’t from Oklahoma State.

“Some of these things are overdone. Baker Mayfield and Brian Bosworth cared more about the OU than maybe any other player that existed here and they were both from the state of Texas. So maybe all they care more about OU is overkill, but I really think there’s some upside for guys who are willing to stick around for about four or five years if they come from state rather than out of it,” McComas mentioned.

Successful in-state recruiting was a mainstay of the Stoops era and early indications show that it looks like Venables and his team are making it a cornerstone of their approach with the Sooners.

In-state talent ending up out-of-state has been one of Oklahoma’s fan base’s biggest recruiting problems in recent years. If the early approach of the Venables staff is any sign of things to come, then OU fans may be able to put some of those past frustrations to rest.

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