OU leads with Sunderland...for now

The race is starting to heat up for Will Sunderland, but OU is in a great early spot.

If there's one thing you can say about Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, he's not afraid to be first. He doesn't wait for other schools to offer. When he sees what he likes, he goes after it.

OU was the first offer for Steven Parker, who ended up with nearly 30 offers by the time it was said and done. He signed with OU.

OU was the first offer for Tito Windham, a relative unknown in Mississippi who exploded his senior year. He signed with OU.

Continuing that trend, OU was the first offer for Midwest City (Okla.) High safety Will Sunderland. Before he was a Scout 300 prospect ranked No. 3 in the state, he was an unknown commodity to not just the state but the nation.

Those days are long gone as Sunderland has put himself on the map with his great play on the field his junior season and his great camp performances this spring.

Sometimes, though, you never forget that first one.

"My top five is OU, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Arkansas and Nebraska," Sunderland said.

OU coaches Mike Stoops and Cale Gundy came through Midwest City last week to check in with Sunderland. The talk wasn't football, though, as Sunderland said when it comes to talk with Stoops now, it's more about life and just how things are going.

And things are going pretty good for Sunderland, who continues to catch the eye of coaches from schools coast to coast.

"I think schools like Missouri, Florida State and Baylor could be close to offering," Sunderland said. "Last couple of weeks I've been trying to avoid Twitter. It can get so crazy so I'm trying to go home and enjoy myself."

Sunderland has talked for a long time about taking a summer trip to Columbus to see the Buckeyes, but those plans have changed. He said now the plan is to take an official visit to OSU when Michigan comes into town the first week of December.

The only thing that is certain is he is ready for The Opening, the first week of July. A gathering of the top high school recruits across the country, Sunderland was named the Defensive Backs MVP at the regional event last month and punched his ticket.

He is only the second Oklahoma high school recruit to earn that right in The Opening's four-year existence.

"I'm ready to go right now," Sunderland said. "I've got my paperwork filled out and got the airline ticket. I can't wait."

Sunderland isn't likely to participate in any more camps before or after The Opening. He has done his talking on the field already. But when it comes to his game, he said he thinks he has improved his coverage skills and being patient.

It's possible Sunderland takes another trip to Norman on June 7 for OU's camp. Not to participate, but to cheer on Midwest City teammates who will be camping in front of the OU coaches.

Sunderland realizes the value of the camps as it was at OU's camp last summer he put himself on the map and on the radar for OU and Mike Stoops.

"I never would have imagined the way things are going," Sunderland said. "It's a blessing, and I'm just trying to work hard and be humble."


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