Other visits a tough spot for OU coaches

There's no instruction manual on how to handle when recruits want to visit other schools. OU coach Bob Stoops explains his philosophy on the issue.

There have been some good things about the way the recruiting cycle has been sped up in the last few years. And there have certainly been some negative aspects of how quickly things happen.

All you can do is adjust and take it one case at a time, said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. You cannot deal in absolutes, or it won't get you anywhere.

A hot button topic right now more prevalent than ever is committed recruits taking visits to other schools. It can work for you and against you.

Some schools like Michigan and Northwestern draw the line in the sand. If you visit another school, that's it. For that reason OU fans could start doing a little pre-celebration in January with Klein (Texas) Collins cornerback Jordan Thomas.

Thomas, committed to Northwestern since December 2012, was pretty much guaranteed to be a Sooner once he stepped foot on the Norman campus in mid-January.

As fast as it can work for you it can also work against you. OU was thrilled to get the commitment of New Orleans St. Augustine defensive lineman Courtney Garnett less than a week before signing day.

The caveat with that one was he wanted to visit Notre Dame that weekend anyway. The "throwaway" visit quickly complicated things before Garnett eventually signed with the Sooners.

Stoops was asked why he let Garnett go on the visit when you know there is always that lingering chance of him switching his commitment by letting him go.

"I didn't like my chances if I said that (he couldn't go)," Stoops said. "You have to weigh your hand. If you're going to bluff, you better be ready to lose. You know how it is. Sometimes you fold them and sometimes you stay with it."

OU stuck with Garnett and convinced him to be with the Sooners to avoid the disaster, but the 2015 class is already starting to bring up an interesting scenario.

OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh went to work early for the group and snagged Oklahoma City Casady offensive guard Josh Wariboko before most even knew he was a legit prospect.

That was back in June when Wariboko only had offers from Oregon State and Tulsa. Eight months later and the landscape has changed. USC, Texas A&M, LSU and Florida State are among his other big-time offers.

Wariboko has already made one unofficial visit to A&M back in September that had OU fans worried, but he said he is still 100 percent with the Sooners. Because he has a different motive to any potential visits coming up.

Wariboko wants to take the visit to help give his brother, Max Wariboko, more exposure and a chance to interact with college coaches. Max is a Class of 2016 prospect who doesn't have a clear, defined position at this point.

It doesn't mean Josh Wariboko wants to be a Longhorn or a Tiger or anything like that, but he'll do what he can for his brother. Wariboko was recently at OU's junior day two weeks ago and talked openly and candidly with the coaches about his line of thinking.

He said the coaches are fine with it. A hard lined stance might have pushed Wariboko away from the Sooners. There's no guarantee Stoops' method with Wariboko is going to work out, but it's obvious Wariboko is another case where Stoops is going to play out the process and hope it all works out.


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories