How did OU keep Mixon?

The drama was high for OU to keep five-star running back Joe Mixon. OU running backs coach Cale Gundy talks about the recruitment.

Everybody wants a crown jewel for the recruiting class. But be careful for what you wish for as you just might get it.

Keeping the jewel might even be harder than acquiring it in the first place. When it comes to Oklahoma and its Class of 2014, that crown jewel is Oakley (Calif.) Freedom running back Joe Mixon.

Mixon, a five-star running back, gave OU's recruiting a shot in the arm when he picked the Sooners on national TV in the fourth of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 4. It was a statement that OU was back.

For how long, though, was the question. Schools were going to keep coming, namely UCLA. The race to keep Mixon was going to be as tough as the one to land him in the first place.

"Nobody from Freedom High School or Oakley, California, ever diverted away from him coming here," OU running backs coach Cale Gundy said. "Now there are a lot of articles and a lot of people thinking things. It was 100 percent OU from the day that he committed.

"I knew he was coming here from the day he committed. I knew he was coming here before we went to the Sugar Bowl. He was always committed."

Mixon took his official visit to OU in October, but he never gave a real inclination the Sooners were the favorite. Wisconsin was in the picture as were local schools like USC and California. But the Bruins posed the biggest threat.

He visited UCLA last weekend, but Gundy said he never got worried. Stories might have said otherwise, but Mixon was always going to be wearing the crimson and cream.

"It's for people to continue to stir up the recruiting part of it and some programs are doing a really good job, but nobody really knows the truly deep story," Gundy said. "It's hard to read into things unless you really know.

"Was I nervous? Yes, I was nervous, but you have to fall back on the mom, the dad, the principal, the coach, the counselor and everybody associated with Joe Mixon. And Joe Mixon, every single day the guy was on there talking about OU and wanting to recruit for OU so I felt pretty good about that."

Mixon was never bashful about saying his favorite running back is Adrian Peterson. It was at the 2004 U.S. Army game where Peterson selected the Sooners, and it's the gift that keeps on giving for Gundy and the program.

When his signature came through, it became official. For as much as Mixon loves Peterson, now he will have his own opportunity to create his own legacy in Norman.

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