Sunderland chooses OU amid whirlwind

Four-star safety bounces between Sooners, Buckeyes before settling on Oklahoma

For one member of Oklahoma’s 2015 signing class, the recruiting process was a little like being courted by a bunch of pretty girls.

The one Will Sunderland liked the most always seemed to be the one he talked to last.

Sunderland, a four-star safety out of Midwest City, went back and forth in the final days before National Signing Day. Down to Ohio State and Oklahoma, Sunderland got a call from Buckeyes’ coach Urban Meyer shortly have his team won the National Championship.

He wanted to make sure Sunderland still didn’t want to take that visit to Columbus, Ohio, sending Sunderland back into the mental typhoon of recruiting.

“For the past two weeks, my mind has just been going and going,” he said. “One day, I thought I was going to Ohio State. The next day, I wanted to go to OU.”

He talked with his parents, his coach Jason Sexton and even spent an hour and a half on the phone with Oklahoma running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Cale Gundy.

Eventually, Sunderland found the girl he wanted to go to prom with – nothing could sway his mind. He signed his National Letter of Intent and flashed the “Horns Downs” sign inside a crowd theater at Midwest City High School on Wednesday.

“All this stress on my shoulders has gone down, now it’s focused on Oklahoma,” Sunderland said. “I’m just happy that I signed to the University of Oklahoma. . . . The recruiting process can get a little shaky sometimes. Sometimes, I get irritated. I’m just glad that I committed so I can focus on Oklahoma.”

Sunderland is a member of one of the top safety classes in the country. The Sooners flipped three-star safety Prentice McKinney on signing day to join Sunderland and Kahlil Haughton, both four-star prospects.

There was no hesitation in Sunderland’s voice when he said he plans on starting next year and said that he’ll probably play the high safety, while sophomore Steven Parker becomes more of an in-the-box safety.

“I love competition,” Sunderland said. “It makes me work hard. I’m a motivated, humble dude. I’m just ready to go up there and show the world.”

The whirlwind is over and the waves have subsided for Sunderland. It’s official now, he’s a Sooner.

After chatting with Gundy in the final month before signing day, he called Meyer back. He didn’t want that visit. He knew where he wanted to play college football.

“The Oklahoma program has trust in me,” Sunderland said. “I just told coach Meyer that I’m good. I’m going to ride with my Sooners.”


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories