No more playing second fiddle on the recruiting trail for Calvin Thibodeaux with Oklahoma. He’s part of the Sooners now, not going against them.
Thibodeaux twice thought he had a top prospect where he was coaching before the Sooners ultimately prevailed in the end.
For the 2013 class it was defensive tackle Matthew Romar, picking OU over Tulsa. And just a couple of months ago, it was Scout 300 defensive end Amani Bledsoe choosing the Sooners over the hometown Jayhawks.
Now he’ll get a second chance with both of them, an especially unique situation with Bledsoe after all the hard work and time put in trying to recruit him to Lawrence.
Yeah. That’s going to be pretty – I mean, we really worked our butts off for him but to wind up even having a chance to coach him works out really good,” Thibodeaux said. “It winded up being a blessing. He wound up picking a place he’s supposed to be.
“Obviously when he picked this place I was like, ‘OK, he’s gonna have a great career.’ To have the opportunity to possibly coach him, it’s gonna be a good deal.”
There were never hard feelings for Thibodeaux when it came to those decisions. He said he fully understood what it meant when that OU logo was coming into a school, or coming for a home visit. It wasn’t going to be easy.
Now he can see that from the other side.
“It’s a little different when you walk in there with that OU logo on,” Thibodeaux said. “I’ve been to schools where OU would come in, and I had to wait outside. Guys kind of perk up when you come in with that logo on.”
The logo won’t land the player, though, and Thibodeaux knows that. This week has sort of been that wakeup call on the trail how it’s always going to be a grind.
Denton (Texas) Ryan’s Earnest Brown and Pittsburg (Kan.) High’s Trevor Kent, both ranked in the Scout 300, picked Northwestern this week. The two were considered a couple of the more realistic targets for OU on the defensive line.
It’s still a work in progress for Thibodeaux, but he said he has a good feeling of what needs to be done.
“For me it’s about building on that momentum and kind of taking off with the guys we have right now,” Thibodeaux said. “Obviously you’re going to have that target and you always have that target with that Oklahoma jersey on. But we want to build off that momentum and then we want to use it to possibly help us in recruiting.”
It will be a little different, too, in terms of his approach in recruiting. At KU, the dream is to land someone like a Bledsoe. At OU, well, it’s going to be expected. And not just one player the quality of a Bledsoe.
With that OU logo comes the ability to recruit the nation, but the necessity to also not come in second place too often.
“There’s some guys I recruited at other places that just couldn’t play here,” Thibodeaux said. “I’m looking and my eyes are a little different now. When you play with a Tommie Harris and a Dusty Dvoracek and a Gerald McCoy and those type of guys, those are the type of guys you want to bring in here. A guy that can help the program when you bring him in here.”