Blake trying to lure another from Oklahoma

There's little question about Oklahoma producing great players. And most of the time there isn't much doubt as to where most of those players end up or played in college. That's how it is in one-horse states, so to speak, where one program stands proud. So, if you are a top football player in that state and you have an offer from that particular program, it's over, finished, done – you know where you are going. Right? For Enid's Austin Box, maybe not.

Maybe even before Austin Box knew he could play football, he was thinking that he would one day be at the University of Oklahoma. When Box realized he did have some game, perhaps he even dreamt of what it would be like to duplicate his high school accomplishments inside of Memorial Stadium in Norman.

Since that time, he's found out that he's got more than a little game, but enough of one to have offers right now from Oklahoma, but Oklahoma State as well, along with Nebraska, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Kansas.

If you ask Box the reason for that success, it's pretty simple: "I love getting to the ball," Box said of when he's on defense. "I'm just one of those guys that if I see the guy with the ball, I am going after him with everything I have."

Austin did that quite prolifically last season, totaling 70 tackles and grabbing three interceptions, playing strong safety out of a 4-3 defense. And with 20 starters returning this year, he's probably going to have at least as many opportunities his last season of prep ball.

Of course, that's not all he has to worry about anymore, especially with an Oklahoma offer in hand, people buzzing in his ear about how he should go to Oklahoma, but schools from around the Big 12 trying to tell him differently. "Yeah, I get some of that, people I guess thinking that I am going to Oklahoma and there's no doubt that Oklahoma is a great program," Austin said. "It's not that I don't think they are, because they are. The thing is, I have never seen what anyone else has to offer."

Part of his process could have to do with the position he'll play, Box being recruited to play linebacker by all of his offers except for the Huskers, who are offering him as a safety. Austin said that he didn't really care which position it was as long as he got to do what he so loves to do. "I love defense, I love to hit," he said. "I see a guy with the ball that doesn't see me, that's like the best thing you could ever want in football."

"I wouldn't mind if he saw me right before I hit him, but I don't really care, because I'm going to hit him as hard as I can either way."

At 6 foot, 3 inches tall, weighing 215 pounds, Box's 4.6/40 makes him a solid athlete to say the least. He combines speed with a decidedly physical style of play. In college, he's simply looking for the opportunity to do that as early as he can, but said that contributing was the main thing. "I want to play," he said. "I'm just one of those guys that likes to play football, so stick me on the field and I'll play. Playing college and maybe playing at the next level, it's a dream for most and it's one that I would like to see come true."

"But I'm not really caught up in where. Stick me on the field. I'll give it my best no matter where I'm at."

He's a gamer, no doubt, and he's going to be challenged on, but especially off the field this year. It all does indeed come down to Oklahoma, because that's the assumption everyone will make. The continuing assumption will be that it's only a matter of time.

Box won't diminish his moments as a diehard Sooner fan growing up, but he is trying as hard as he can to keep a very even perspective right now. "It's going to be hard to beat Oklahoma, because I obviously know so much about them and am very comfortable with what they do," Austin said. "But what do I know about other schools? Nothing, really. So, without knowing, I can't really say that Oklahoma is this automatic for me, because a lot will go into my decision."

"I am really trying to keep a totally open mind about everyone right now."

With a full slate coming up as far as sports, Austin's biggest future challenge will be in taking those unofficial visits he would like to take and even camps he might want to attend. All of that is up in the air for right now.

What isn't up in the air is what he would ultimately like to accomplish before this year is over. Yes, choose a school, that's obvious, but there would be something that might make Box feel even better than he does when he makes that final choice.

"Well, it would be nice to beat Union," Box said of beating the two-time defending state champion Tulsa Union Redskins. "It's like a factory there, but the Mustangs were in the final this last year and that was kind of a surprise, so you never know."

"I know we will have a great team, though. I know we are going to do really well."

Box said that he doesn't list any one particular team as a favorite, but it's obvious that Oklahoma is the team to beat. Everything favors the Sooners right now. It will be up to someone to knock them off and convince Box he'd be better served someplace else.

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