Trainer J.D. Runnels remembers it well. Following the sophomore season for Harrah (Okla.) High offensive guard Logan Roberson, his message was clear to Runnels.
He wanted to be an Oklahoma Sooner. A lot of kids in Oklahoma grow up with that dream. Accomplishing that is another thing.
Runnels would know, though. He knew what to tell Roberson because he was in the same spot. Coming out of Midwest City (Okla.) Carl Albert, Runnels wasn’t a lock for the Sooners throughout the recruit process before OU finally looked in his direction.
Runnels is incredibly connected to the OU program but that sure as heck didn’t mean Roberson was going to have the red carpet rolled out for him.
If he wanted to be a Sooner, he was going to have earn it. Every single inch.
“There were so many nights were it didn’t seem like it was possible,” Runnels said. “He went through the hardest of the hard in not being known.”
Harrah is not exactly a hotbed of recruiting in the state. Roberson was going to have make his name by going to a school that hadn’t had a Division I football recruit since 1982.
He didn’t budge. Roberson remained under the radar during and after his junior season. As much as it pained him to not see him in the recruiting rankings, it fueled his fire.
A fire that ignited once and for all at OU’s elite camp in the summer. Roberson was able to get his name out there in the spring and multiple offers came across the way, most notably a Power Five conference offer from Illinois.
But the Fighting Illini wasn’t the dream. The Sooners were. Still the decision to camp at OU in June wasn’t as easy a decision as it appears on paper.
By that time, offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh had gotten to know Roberson well. And sometimes it’s easy to put the thought into your head of they like you but not enough to make the offer.
“He had planned on going to that,” said his father, Aaron Roberson. “It was a deal where he definitely wanted to be a Sooner. Some of us thought maybe they had their minds made up. We weren’t sure if it would be worth his time to go, but we decided to go ahead and go.”
Right choice. All the years of wishing. All the years of rankings disappointment. All of if spilled out on that June day as Roberson put together an incredible two-hour outing.
Less than 48 hours later, he had the OU offer and was committed to the Sooners.
“I grew up watching OU. I was a big fan of the Sooners,” Aaron Roberson said. “I never would have thought in a million years he’d end up there.”
Once he was committed, everybody knew he would be a Sooner. Aaron Roberson said Logan most likely would have received offers from schools like Purdue, Missouri and Kansas State, among others, but those schools know you don’t steal an in-state commit whose dream was to be a Sooner.
Logan Roberson only got better after the commitment, focused on moving up those rankings. He did. Started out as a two-star on Scout before earning that third star.
Logan was a constant presence in Norman during the fall, attending every single home game. Now he’s an even more constant presence as one of three mid-year enrollees leaving high school and arriving at OU last week.
“The thing I always tell kids there are two ways to impress (college coaches) – physically or mentally,” Runnels said. “The thing about Logan is he’s a smart kid. He gets it.
“He asked what would he be doing here or in Norman? We weighed the pros and cons. He’s ready for it. He made an educated decision about and did so many things the right way.”
Offensive line is a huge question mark for the Sooners for the 2016 season. Getting Roberson in for the spring will give him a chance to get acclimated to college life and the OU offense well before the summer and fall comes around.
He won’t be alone as OU’s two junior college offensive linemen signees also arrived in Norman last Thursday. The opportunity is there. The rest is up to Roberson.