Sooner Intel: Austin Kendall

Before Austin Kendall arrived at OU, Sooners Illustrated caught up with him one last time.

It has certainly been an interesting few weeks for Oklahoma quarterback signee Austin Kendall. The four-star prospect from Waxhaw (N.C.) Cuthbertson arrived in Norman on Thursday, eager to begin his time as a Sooner.

And eager to end any rumors and speculation of him going forward.

Christmas Eve was a great day for the OU program as the university announced the transfer of former five-star quarterback Kyler Murray. Everybody was happy, but fans were wondering how OU’s quarterback commits felt about everything.

Though it came as news to OU fans, Kendall said the Murray news was taken in stride as offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley was very honest about the situation.

“He talked to me about the possibility of a transfer coming in,” Kendall said. “He said they were most likely going to take one so I knew.”

The choices were Murray, former A&M quarterback Kyle Allen and former Florida quarterback Will Grier, according to Kendall.

OU went with Murray, and Kendall’s phone went nuts. Coaches from around the country wondering if the four-star prospect was looking elsewhere because of the news. Kendall was respectful each time and said “thanks but no thanks.”

From there, Kendall spent the bulk of December at the Shrine Bowl in the Carolinas and the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in California. Kendall said he was happy with his performances at both events although it was difficult to get into a rhythm at Semper Fi because of the rotation process.

To go with all that, Kendall was no doubt wondering the fate of Riley. Following an incredible first season in Norman and winning the Broyles Award for nation’s top assistant, Riley is shooting up the charts in terms of head coaching spots.

“It really wouldn’t have changed much at all,” said Kendall if Riley did become a coach elsewhere. “Everybody is looking at him now, and it shows how much he is improving as a coach after just one year at OU. I know he can possibly be leaving during my time at OU, but nothing will change my situation.”

The road to OU was a straight one for Kendall, in all honesty. Once it became clear things at Tennessee weren’t going to work out and Riley was all-in with Kendall, the process didn’t take all that long.

Kendall said Riley really wanted him to visit even without the offer. The qualifier being OU coach Bob Stoops wanted to offer in Kendall in person, which is something the Sooners do like to do with a number of recruits.

Kendall remembers leaving that initial visit with his father, offer in hand and already wanting to commit even though his mother hadn’t seen the campus yet.

It was just a couple of weeks later when Kendall did make the call and everything has been smooth sailing ever since.

Including his decision to enroll early.

“This wasn’t a tough decision at all,” Kendall said. “It gives me a chance to get to school and work with Coach Riley more.”

The gamble paid off for Kendall. At the time of his commitment, it’s not like OU was the cool place to go and nobody knew how the Sooners offense would function under Riley. Safe to say that’s worked out pretty well for all involved.

The time for talking is done for Kendall. It’s time to be a Sooner.

“They’re going to let me come back and walk (for graduation),” Kendall said. “I might be back for Prom. I’m not missing anything. I’m ready.”


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