Arnold Checks Out Childhood Favorite

NORMAN, Okla. — Since he was born, Rockwall-Heath defensive end Jay Arnold has been different.

Not different in a bad way.

Just different.

As in, he's rooted for a team the rest of his family has ardently rooted against.

"Well, when I was younger everyone in my family was big UT fans," Arnold said. "I decided to be the rebel and became an OU fan, so it's [grown] on me ever since."

It grew on him even more over the weekend during his Junior Day visit.

"It went pretty well, I had a good time," Arnold said.

First, he got there early in the morning and got to tour the academic facility.

From that point, Arnold, his family and the rest of the attendees walked over to the Everest Training Center for a quick tour before checking out the weight room.

Then, he spent some time in the locker room before heading to the basketball game between OU and Texas A&M.

In between those two events, though, might have been the most important part of the day.

Arnold and defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright had a heart-to-heart, like many of these players do with their potential position coaches, should they be offered and commit at some point later on in the game, and said it was "a pretty good conversation, just the two of us."

"I think he's a great guy," Arnold said. "He's real honest about the process and everything and you know, I just really liked him a lot."

In the end, he did not secure an offer but appeared to make some strong progress with the coaching staff.

"They said they were back and forth on whether or not they were going to offer me," Arnold said. "But they said they want to look at my film a little more, ‘Come see me at spring practice,' and then they're going to decide."

Until then, it's about working hard, improving and doing what he has to do in order to secure an offer from a team that has been his longtime childhood favorite dating back to early 2000s.

"Well, you know, one of my first memories growing up watching football was seeing Coach [Josh] Heupel win the national championship trophy," Arnold said of the OU quarterbacks coach and his area recruiter. "So, I kinda got that little kid out of me whenever I met him for the first time. But, you know, he's another guy that's really honest about the recruiting process. He seems like a great coach."

No doubt, Wright, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and the rest of the coaching staff will be keeping a close eye on this guy.

And he'll be doing the same with one of the nation's most storied programs.

"It's just that winning tradition," Arnold said when asked what impressed him most. "You know, it's so habitual. I mean, every season in, season out, OU's going to win ball games. That's a big deal."

Stay tuned to Sooners Illustrated and for the latest on his recruitment.

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