Overton bringing championship mentality to OU

Jenks' Marquise Overton concluded his high school sports career last weekend with a wrestling championship to add to the three he won in football. Now he's ready to head to OU.

It has been an interesting three months for Jenks (Okla.) High senior Marquise Overton. The only way to describe the Oklahoma football signee is champion.

Overton was a vital member of Jenks’ football team that won its third consecutive state championship in December. That was a team thing.

Saturday night was all about Overton as he pulled off a 3-1 decision victory in the finals of the Class 6A state wrestling tournament in the heavyweight division.

Three months, two championships.

“They compare pretty well,” Overton said. “Football is a team effort, of course. This (wrestling) means a lot. It’s my senior year, and I was able to win it. It means just as much.”

Overton finished his senior season 37-1 and was able to avenge his only regular season defeat by beating Southmoore’s Brey Walker in the state quarterfinals.

Overton had just arrived back home from the Semper Fidelis All-American Game when he had to wrestle Walker that weekend. Overton had to cut weight and wasn’t in wrestling shape. But he showed what he can do when focused, earning a major decision against Walker in the quarterfinals.

In the championship match, Overton trailed 1-0 entering the final period. He said he wasn’t worried because he knew he would score the escape point and then it was all about getting that takedown.

“I was trying to get the takedown the whole time,” Overton said. “I swooped in, he bit, and I was able to take him down.”

Overton scored the decisive takedown with less than 30 seconds left in the match to earn his first state wrestling championship.

Will it be his last time wrestling? He’s not sure. The option is there to perhaps wrestle for OU, but it would be one heck of a grind to balance with school and football.

Wrestling helps Overton with football, for sure, with things like stamina, footwork, leverage, hand movement, but the weight issue might be too much to overcome.

In football, nobody is going to be upset if Overton pushes the 300-pound limit and is an immovable object in the middle of the line. Wrestling is obviously a different state of mind where he’d have to focus on cutting weight instead of gaining it.

Overton hasn’t closed the door on wrestling. He doesn’t need to make that decision right now, and he intends to weigh all options before choosing exactly what he’s going to do.

After that loss to Walker, Overton said he made a vow that he wasn’t going to lose again. He didn’t, and now he’s ready to head to OU and wants to let everyone know there are no worries about his academic standing.

Overton caused quite a stir in mid-January with some cryptic tweets about where he stood academically with OU. There was a huge concern he wasn’t going to qualify, and the Sooners and Overton were going to have to go their separate ways.

But Overton said that was never the case. Even if, in the end, he had to part from OU, he wasn’t looking at any other school despite the fact a good number started to ask around to see what he was thinking.

What he was thinking was OU all the time. If not for the Class of 2015, the Scout 300 prospect was ready to head to junior college and then sign with OU at a later date.

He’s happy, of course, that he will be able to head to Norman this summer.

“After talking to the coaches a couple of times, everything is cool,” Overton said. “I had some issues, but I got them fixed. I’m not worried, not concerned. I’m in good shape. They looked over my grades again and everything is good.”

Overton did say he will continue to take the ACT as many times as he can, but he feels much better about his standing than he did six weeks ago.

Academic standing isn’t the only issue Overton has had to deal with in the last month. It was a huge blow to the OU coaching staff when co-defensive coordinator Jerry Montgomery left to take a spot with the Green Bay Packers.

Montgomery was so instrumental in helping OU sign Overton and a number of other Scout 300 prospects, and it blindsided the OU program.

“It was all right,” Overton said. “I wasn’t really worried. It’s a great job opportunity for him so I understand 100 percent. I’m still going to try to do what I’m going to do.”

And what Overton wants to do is be that force in the middle for the Sooners going forward at defensive tackle. Overton had his first talk with defensive line coach Diron Reynolds late last week and all it has done is fire him up even more.

“He’s a real good coach,” Overton said. “He introduced himself and told me all about his background and things like that. We talked for about 30 minutes, and now we have a defensive line coach that knows what it takes to be in the NFL so that’s great.

“He said he can’t wait to get me down there. The spots are all going to be open.”

And it’s all Overton is focusing on now. There won’t another championship for Overton to win. After tearing his labrum last year, he decided he would not do track and field again. It’s tempting because he knows he is one of the best shot put throwers around, but it’s a one-track focus that leads to Norman.

“Right now, I’m just focused on football,” Overton said. “That’s enough for me.”

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