'X' marks the spot

According to XLK's father, the Sooners helped his son decide to don orange for the next four years. The choice to become a Cowboy was a long process, ending with good advice from OU's Tommie Harris.

It hasn't happened often, perhaps never.

But for a small moment in time, Oklahoma State football fans across the nation were toasting the Oklahoma Sooners. Especially one OU player in particular.

Xavier Lawson-Kennedy, a highly-touted defensive tackle from Duncanville, Texas, signed on the dotted line with the Cowboys Wednesday.

And, according to Lawson-Kennedy's father, Victor Kennedy, OU's Tommie Harris played a significant role in his son's decision to play for OSU next season.

As Lawson-Kennedy prepared to make his announcement public on national television Tuesday night, his father was in the dark regarding his choice.

The 6-foot-3-inch, 330-pound star took a deep breath, and revealed his wishes to become a Cowboy — to his family, and to the world.

"He didn't have his mind made up — I swear to you," Kennedy said. "He was sitting there on that couch, and he thought he was going to say, ‘OU' — then he remembered what Tommie Harris said."

Earlier in the week, Harris gave what appeared to be a last-ditch recruiting effort for the Sooners. Monday, the day before Lawson-Kennedy was to appear on Fox Sports Net and make his school choice public, Harris called up the Duncanville phenom.

"He said, ‘Man, when you get ready to make your decision — just clear your head and say the first thing that pops into your mind,'" Kennedy said. "Xavier said he cleared his head like Tommie said, and Oklahoma State just popped out."

And with a twist of irony, the orange-clad masses saluted the Sooner All-American.

"Yeah, Cowboy fans do have a Sooner player to thank for once," Kennedy said. "Cause it was Tommie Harris that was responsible for Xavier's decision. A little ironic, isn't it? That is what pushed Xavier on — Tommie Harris really gave him perspective to choose Oklahoma State."

It may have been Harris' advice that sparked the final word of commitment from Lawson-Kennedy, but other factors came into play during the recruiting process.

Tommy Devereaux, one of Lawson-Kennedy's Duncanville teammates, and Philip Jones, Lawson-Kennedy's cousin, committed to OSU Wednesday. Vernon Grant, who finished the 2002 season as a starting defensive back for the Cowboys as a freshman, and Daniel McLemore, another OSU defensive back — also have Duncanville roots.

With the success that Grant had as a freshman, Lawson-Kennedy was able to see that the Cowboy coaching staff has no reservations when it comes to giving newcomers a chance right out of the gate.

"That had a lot to do with it," Lawson-Kennedy's father said of his son's choice. "Vernon gave him a comfort zone that anytime you see a freshman go somewhere and play like that — and play good, I am sure that had an affect on Xavier's thought process."

And, if all those variables weren't enough — the OSU coaching staff jumped in to seal the deal. Lawson-Kennedy finally narrowed his choices down to five — Oklahoma, Florida, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Miami — and the OSU staff didn't take ‘no' for an answer.

"Since Xavier been going through this recruiting stuff, I can see through a smoke screen," Kennedy said. "These OSU guys was genuinely interested in him. Xavier gave up on Oklahoma State, and he was going to visit Miami instead. But those coaches, coach (Larry) Porter and coach (Karl) Dunbar; they were relentless. They didn't give up, they didn't stop calling. I told Xavier, ‘these coaches really want you.'"

So, the high school senior who at one time had more than 90 Division 1 programs drooling over his tackling abilities, decided to give OSU one last shot.

"Because of that — since they refused to give up — Xavier said, ‘You know Daddy, I think I want to visit again.' And Miami was scratched off the list just like that," Kennedy said.

After visiting Stillwater, there was no desire for Florida sunshine.
"He really loved Oklahoma State when he visited," Kennedy said. "It was such a place that really fits him — we were all impressed with the school and the town when we came."

Lawson-Kennedy, who according to his father, bench-presses nearly 500 pounds, was relentless himself. He didn't let rival recruiters push him around, and he made the decision about his future on his own time.

"He is a strong-minded man," Kennedy said laughing. "He wasn't stressed, he just went on about his day like he was a normal kid, ‘cause he is. Of course, he never answered the phone, he made me do it, so I am the one who caught all the hell. Maybe that is why it didn't bother him so much."

Kennedy is glad it is all over, glad the phone calls from recruiters will slow down, glad his son finally is at peace with his future.

"Now Xavier could have played for any-damn near-body," Kennedy said. "But evidently, there was a lot at Oklahoma State that weighed on his heart."

GoPokes Top Stories