Justin Hite - Sooners Illustrated

OU's Neville Gallimore almost a Buckeye?

OU redshirt freshman Neville Gallimore is poised to make noise for Sooners. How close was he to being a Buckeye?

Oklahoma redshirt freshman defensive lineman Neville Gallimore doesn’t beat around the bush. He’s proud to be a Sooner. He’s happy to be at OU.

But the fact he is can still be pretty crazy to think about. Gallimore, a Scout 100 prospect for the 2015 class, was down to OU, Ohio State and Florida State.

Flashback to the 2014 college football playoff. The Seminoles were there. The Buckeyes won the whole dang thing. OU went 8-5. Somehow, someway, the Sooners were able to keep Gallimore through signing day.

“During high school, they were one of those teams that were looking really strongly at me,” Gallimore said. “Looking forward to the opportunity to play against them. A lot of respect for Coach Johnson, the Dline coach, and Coach Urban Meyer. Looking forward to going against that team.”

It’s not like after Gallimore picked OU at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl that the Buckeyes stopped pursuing him. OU sophomore safety Will Sunderland said the same thing. After Ohio State defeated Oregon to claim the title, it asked Sunderland if he was sure about being a Sooner?

He was and so was Gallimore.

“It’s a part of their job,” Gallimore said. “Even as a high school kid, when you’re recruiting high school guys, you’re gonna do anything you can to attract their attention. I was happy for them. It’s a big deal to win a championship.

“It was meant for me to be here at Oklahoma. Nothing has really changed. I felt like I needed to be here regardless of that season. I felt like I could do a lot.”

It wasn’t easy for Gallimore who came to OU admittedly out of shape and who had one heck of a time adjusting to the heat and humidity of Norman compared to Canada.

But there he was Saturday with eight tackles, three for loss and a sack-strip-fumble play to cause OU’s lone turnover of the game.

Suspensions to Matt Dimon and Austin Roberts might have opened the door a bit for Gallimore to get a shot. But he busted that door and showed, at least as of now, he could be ready for a big moment like playing against the Buckeyes.

“As a whole, always an opportunity to get better,” Gallimore said. “Me, personally, making sure I handle everything as well as mentally. The mental aspect. Being mentally prepared is always one of the key things regardless of the physical part. Making sure I’m mentally fit to do what’s being asked of me.”

Dimon and Roberts are both available to play Saturday against Ohio State, but Gallimore’s rise last week could lead to bigger and better opportunities this season.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories