Welcome to OU: Ricky DeBerry

Welcome to OU begins its third week with a look at five-star linebacker Ricky DeBerry.

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 first is Scout 300 linebacker Ricky DeBerry.

Mechanicsville (Va.) Atlee LB Ricky DeBerry (6-2, 240, No. 3 OLB, No. 25 Scout 300)

The story: The prized recruit for OU’s 2015 class, the lone five-star signee. Former OU assistant Jerry Montgomery put in overtime to make sure DeBerry ended up a Sooner and then Tim Kish did all he could as well. There couldn’t have been more rejoicing in Norman and with the coaches than when DeBerry picked OU on Dec. 19.

When you first received the OU offer, did you really think you would sign with the Sooners?

No. My dad thought a lot about them because of their tradition, but I never thought that would be the place. I knew Coach (Jerry) Montgomery and liked him a lot but never knew it would happen.

When did you know in your heart OU was the place for you?

After I prayed on it and talked it over with my parents. I had to go somewhere I’m needed and not just wanted.

What’s your jersey number who is your roommate?

I’ll be wearing No. 22 and my roommate is Arthur McGinnis. Twenty-two is significant for me because that’s my mom’s birthday.

What was the toughest part of the recruiting process?

The toughest part was maintaining and not trying to get overwhelmed with everything. It was tough to trying to separate things. There were times when I was getting 5-6 offers a day. Had all these coaches calling my mentor and talking to so many different coaches. It was pretty crazy.

What’s the No. 1 thing you’re looking forward to at OU?

I’m excited about having a great college experience and building those relationships with the players, coaches and other students.

Any idea what your major is going to be?

I’m thinking something with computer security. Down the road, I wouldn’t mind getting into coaching and seeing how that works out.

Bob Stoops obviously plays an important role in recruiting, but what assistant coach was most influential in your decision?

Coach Montgomery and Coach (Tim) Kish. They were always in touch with me one way or another throughout the process.

If it wasn’t OU, what school would it have been?

That’s a tough one. I don’t know. I liked Tennessee, Texas A&M and Alabama. I think it would have been one of those three.

What the one thing about Stoops that not a lot of people know that you learned through this process?

How down-to-earth he is and how he can relate to his players. He’s always willing to do whatever it takes to help his players succeed.

You made one trip in the summer after your sophomore year and another for the official. How different was that second visit?

It was really different. I got to see the game day experience and that meant a lot because that played a role in my decision. I got to see the players and coaches and see how everything works.

How hard was it when you heard Montgomery was leaving the program?

It was tough, but I have to do what’s best for me. We talked on Twitter and stuff like that, and he said no matter what he has nothing but love for me. He said I can always count on him.

Have you gotten to know Diron Reynolds at all?

I’ve talked to him a couple of times, but I’ve never actually met him. I only made those two trips so I haven’t been back there since September.

What do you think is your biggest strength as a player?

What I try to do is make all the people around me better and work harder and be that leader by example. I feel I do that better than anything else.

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