Chant Drew Sooner Signee to OU

NORMAN, Okla. — For years, linebacker Eric Striker knew he wanted to come to OU.

The quality of football and winning championships caught his attention.

The amount of players the program sent to the next level did it, too.

But one thing in particular stood out to him, something the ordinary person may not think about.

Something he specifically mentioned when head coach Bob Stoops and the Sooners were recruiting him.

"Yeah, he said when he was in grade school, one of the first games he could remember really watching, we were playing someone--he didn't say who--and he just kept hearing the chant O-U, O-U," Stoops said. "And then he said from here on, he goes, ‘Every time you guys were on TV I watched you, followed you.' So, you know, it's pretty special. Here's a guy all the way down in Tampa, Fla., following you that way."

Fact of the matter is OU is truly a national brand.

The Sooners' spread out recruiting for their 2012 class, which includes players from 11 different states, is living evidence of that.

Including Striker, OU pulled four from the state of Florida.

Still, Striker, a standout on his Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) HS team, was different than the rest, basically because of the way he approached the program he wanted to join.

"Great story, Eric Striker's a fabulous backer, outside backer, wherever he wants to play on a 15-0 team," Stoops said. "I think they signed 11 players today out of his high school, and Eric's one of the true leaders of the team. You know, really a special player. He begged his coach to call Oklahoma, call Oklahoma for like three weeks in the spring his junior year. And finally his coach called and we were on spring break, so he left a message."

It didn't take long for the Sooners to respond.

"Then, we followed up and, you know, got all the information on him, watched him and sure enough this guy's special," Stoops said. "You know, we offer him a scholarship and coach said he could hear him screaming over the phone at a track meet, just how excited he was and committed shortly after. You know, could have went about anywhere he wanted. You know, and he just wanted to be here, which is a pretty neat story."

Every year, there's a couple, maybe three or four, of those guys.

He just happens to be one of those for the 2012 Sooner class.

And perhaps his appreciation for the University of Oklahoma is one of the main reasons he decided not to abandon ship when defensive coordinator Brent Venables left for Clemson.

That, and the fact he and new linebackers coach Tim Kish seemed to hit it off in their conversation.

"Yeah, and that can be tough sometimes [when coaches leave]," Kish said. "I can understand that from a prospect's perspective, but you know what, it was a great experience for me to get on the phone with him. He's a dynamic young man. He's got a lot of enthusiasm and you can just tell he's got a lot of focus for what he wants to get accomplished when he comes here to Oklahoma. It was exciting for me to have a chance to introduce myself to him and for him to introduce himself to me.

"And we just had a great time. I mean, he understood that I have a lot of alike messages that Brent had when he was here, and I think that comforted him a little bit. But, you know, I'm gonna be my own person and we exchanged some ideas about what that might be like and in the end, it was great. It really was."

Kish and the Sooners now look forward to the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder joining a linebacking corps that already includes guys like Tom Wort and Corey Nelson, among others.

He'll arrive in the fall along with 18 other Sooner signees not currently on campus.

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