They’re no longer commits. They’re no longer signees. They are now freshmen at Oklahoma, and Sooners Illustrated caught up with the majority of the 2015 class one last time before they arrived on campus.
Up next is Scout 300 cornerback P.J. Mbanasor.
Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson CB P.J. Mbanasor (6-1, 183, No. 13 CB, No. 103 Scout 300)
The story: Originally committed to TCU, OU was offer No. 2 for Mbanasor. Following an unofficial visit with his parents to Norman in May, the Sooners never looked back. There were a few bumps in the road as OU struggled on the field, but Mbanasor didn’t take one visit to another school throughout the process.
When you received the OU offer, did you really think you would sign with the Sooners?
Tomorrow is the anniversary of my commitment (interview conducted June 2). It was at the NFTC event to get invited to The Opening where I first started to get a hunch which schools were really on my radar. I did my research forever and had full confidence in myself.
When did you know in your heart OU was the place for you?
Tomorrow a year ago. Two weeks prior, I had visited with my parents. They knew how I felt about it. They were so much more academically oriented – don’t know too much about football. I sat back and watched them. That morning I was feeling a certain kind of way. I couldn’t really eat because I was so excited. I called my dad and he could tell how excited I was. And I called Samaje (Perine) and told him I think I’m going to commit tonight. As a matter of fact, I’m going to do it right when I get off the phone. I went to the parking lot and called Coach (Chip) Viney and committed.
What’s your jersey number and who is your roommate?
Kahlil Haughton is my roommate, and I’ll be wearing No. 2. I’ve been wearing that number because of Derrick Strait. I still haven’t met him, but I know it will be amazing.
What was the toughest part of the recruiting process?
The one thing I learned – reflecting back on signing day – never again apologize for being successful. I couldn’t celebrate because people would say I was cocky or arrogant. I hold myself to a higher standard than anybody else. I had a business mindset. I have 26 offers and had to let me remind myself and other people why I have them. Never apologize for success.
What’s the No. 1 thing you’re looking forward to at OU?
Watching film again. I enjoy the film process and working out. I enjoy the film process more than the game itself. Everything is predestined. If I watch film and study and practice hard, then I’ve won the game.
Bob Stoops obviously plays a big role in recruiting, but who was the assistant coach most influential in your decision?
Coach Viney. Second to him would be Jerry Montgomery. My whole thing with Viney is, not sure if it’s his age or what, but it’s his ability to connect with me on the level of competition and production and work ethic and the mindset. I was sold on our conversations. He’s legit. He’s straight up with his words. He wasn’t really recruiting at all. He was just talking about life. We have a similar mindset.
Outside of football, what are you most excited about at OU?
I love kids. This is a platform that I’m fortunate enough to have, and I’m going to try to take advantage of it. My intention is to be a positive influence. I love when they ask for an autograph or picture. You see them smile or see their parents smile just because you took a little time out to do that.
If it wasn’t OU, what school would it have been?
Ohio State. Disregarding the national championship, those were the top two schools. I cut off OSU because of the depth chart. I’m not afraid to compete, but I had to compare the opportunities. It was tough seeing them win and OU lose, but I know I made the right choice.
OU struggled in the secondary in 2014 and there were rumors galore about you looking elsewhere. What was the true story?
There was some truth to a degree. That Baylor game made me question things to a point. It’s tough to see someone you’re for lose the way we did. I wasn’t doing it verbally, but I was questioning it to myself. I asked Viney ‘what is this?’ It was never a thing where I was going to decommit. I took a step back and realized I need to be that factor that makes sure this doesn’t happen again
Kerry Cooks has come to run the secondary. What’s your relationship with him?
I knew Coach Cooks at Notre Dame and had respect for him. He watched my film one day and offered me on the same day. He wanted to get me to Notre Dame when OU was struggling. In fact his last DM (direct message) to me before coming to OU asked if I wanted to visit Notre Dame. Funny how it all worked out.