The Sooner Intel is an inside look into Oklahoma football and basketball recruiting and is solely for Sooners Illustrated subscribers. It is a sneak peek into what’s happening with OU recruiting and is not to be distributed anywhere else.
OU visit opens Donnelly’s eyes
There is always this thought process that most kids who live in the Dallas Metroplex area have Oklahoma on their radar. With the campus being less than three hours away, it makes sense but not always the case.
It certainly wasn’t for Burleson (Texas) Central linebacker Hunter Donnelly as he made his first visit to Norman for junior day last weekend.
Donnelly said OU was just never in the conversation throughout most of his life. It’s a lot different now after the trip.
“I liked it a lot,” Donnelly said. “It changed my opinion on a lot of things. I had never really followed OU, never really liked OU. It wasn’t a negative feeling, but it wasn’t a positive one, either. None of my family is OU fans.”
The Sooners had some ground to make up with Donnelly, and it’s obvious it was mission accomplished. Donnelly had been in contact with area recruiter Bill Bedenbaugh, but Sunday gave him a chance to get to know middle linebackers coach Tim Kish.
Bedenbaugh opened the door, but now everything will go through Kish as things get more serious and Donnelly gets closer to an OU offer. Donnelly said Kish intends to visit during the spring evaluation period and then a decision could be made then regarding an offer.
Donnelly had never met any of the OU coaches before Sunday, but he said you would never have noticed based on the reception he received.
“The biggest reason I went was because I hadn’t met any of them face-to-face,” Donnelly said. “But I get there, and there’s like three or four coaches shaking my hand, shaking my dad’s hand and acting like they’ve known us for the last 10 years. It was great.”
Donnelly is from the same hometown as OU signee Kenneth Mann, and the two have been in contact regarding everything. Donnelly said he now understands why Mann picked the Sooners.
“I asked him why he went, and he told me he thought he had the best relationships with the coaches and thought it was a great place for him to spend the next four years of his life. I understand why he feels that way now.”
Donnelly said coaches from OU and Oklahoma State have been showing constant interest since his sophomore season, and he has visited both programs in the last two months.
Even if an offer does happen at either school, Donnelly is in no rush. He said there are very few schools that could offer where he would commit on the spot.
Donnelly, a pure middle linebacker, said the OU coaches talked about how much they like his natural instincts, how he always finds his way to the football.
He had heard about OU’s tradition, but when he actually saw the campus and looked at the numbers, it was startling for him to see.
“Looking at the numbers, the wins, the championships, it was incredible,” Donnelly said. “It really doesn’t get much better than that.”
Frederick loves any OU trip
Of course Broken Arrow (Okla.) High offensive lineman Rowdy Frederick would have loved to have walked out of junior day with an OU offer, but he loves any trip to Norman.
Frederick made a number of unofficial visits to OU last season and was back at OU again last weekend.
“It’s always a great time,” Frederick said. “They show so much love. It was great to meet all the new coaches. Hearing about where the program is going just gets me so excited.”
The goal for Frederick is simple – he wants to get his weight down. Injuries during his junior season didn’t allow him to be in the shape he knows he needs to be in going forward.
Frederick said right now he is around 320-325 pounds. His goal is to get down to 310 by the time spring ball starts in May.
If he makes that goal, things with OU could get a lot more interesting. Frederick said the plan is for offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh to make a trip in spring and see how he is developing. The good news for Frederick is his injury issues are things of the past now.
“I feel great and feel like myself again,” Frederick said. “I’m excited about the camps coming up and getting ready for spring ball.”
Frederick’s interest is picking up considerably to go along with his Tulsa offer. He said he is definitely going to attend a Missouri spring practice and said Kansas State is showing more consistent interest.
He said he loved seeing all of OU’s championship rings during the visit and enjoyed learning even more about the history of the program. His position was also discussed and everyone is in agreement that guard would be his best spot.
“If I go there (OU), they said I’d be playing guard,” Frederick said. “I rather play guard so that’s not a concern. I feel like I’m a better fit there.”
Hardy makes the call
Following a great junior day visit, Houston Spring Dekaney’s Adrian Hardy actually wasn’t sure he was ready to commit to OU. He had a great trip, but he was pretty set on trying to see what else was out there.
After getting back home from his first trip to OU, though, and talking things over with his parents, he decided he was ready to be a Sooner.
A lot has been said about OU this week because of the racist chant video that went viral, and OU lost the commitment of Jean Delance because of the video, but Hardy didn’t see it that way and still doesn’t see it that way.
“My time at OU was great,” Hardy said. “Everybody there was like a family, like one big family. I loved the area, and it changed my whole opinion about OU. Everything was so friendly.”
Hardy announced his commitment Tuesday afternoon, but he actually committed Monday. He sent a direct message on Twitter to OU coaches Lincoln Riley and Cale Gundy saying he had committed. There was no real reason for why he waited until Tuesday, but it’s a relief to have the process over with.
“I’m very happy right now,” Hardy said. “Now I can focus on my senior season and just focus on learning more about the game.”
Hardy is the best athlete on his team so he plays quarterback. He threw for 609 yards and five touchdowns, while rushing for 609 yards and 12 touchdowns.
He won’t sniff quarterback at OU, and he’s fine with that. He grew up being a wide receiver, and he’s excited to move back to the spot.
What spot exactly is still to be determined as it’s clear Hardy’s options are wide open.
“They said my best position is wide receiver, but they don’t know which one,” Hardy said. “They said all four spots are open. Inside, outside, everything is in play.”
Hardy will continue to be an interesting recruit to watch because not only was OU his only offer, it felt like the Sooners were the lone school outside of SMU showing any amount of considerable interest.