It was June 2015 and Oklahoma was hosting its annual two-day camp in Norman. There were a few top performers and one kid that kept making plays.
He was playing wide receiver. Wasn’t the tallest. Wasn’t the fastest. But you didn’t have to ask him to compete. He did that all on his own.
His name? Drake Stoops. Yes, that Stoops of that Stoops family.
The twins have grown up. Drake and Isaac Stoops might forever be known as the sons of Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops. Though it’s a title they love, they’re hoping to make their own mark. They’re starting to do just that in 2016.
Playing for Norman (Okla.) North, the Stoops boys have become an integral part for the Timberwolves and have helped lead the school to its first 6-0 start.
“It has been a lot of fun,” Isaac Stoops said. “I’ve gained a lot of experience. I’m just a little bit older and more prepared to play at a higher level.”
It won’t get too much higher in this state than what Norman North is getting ready to see Friday with traditional powerhouse Tulsa Union coming to town in what is easily the game of the week and perhaps even the game of the year up until this point in the state.
“You definitely can’t downplay how big the game is,” Isaac Stoops said. “You prepare with a different mentality and different respect because they’ve definitely earned it with everything the way they’ve played the last 20 years.”
As a defensive back, Isaac Stoops has 12 tackles and an interception. Drake, still at receiver, has 35 catches for 663 yards and 10 touchdowns in the first six weeks.
Their last name might get them in the door. But it’s going to be their production on the field that keeps them there.
“If I had a different name, I’d still be out there playing the same way with the same work ethic,” Drake Stoops said. “It’s not a last name out there playing.”
Schools are starting to notice it as well. A few weeks ago, the twins made recruiting trips of their own with Drake heading to Iowa State and Isaac visiting SMU.
Drake gave rave reviews to the Cyclones players and staff and said he liked what he saw from Ames, while Isaac had just as many great thoughts about what he saw at SMU regarding the staff and environment.
Most assume they would walk-on at OU, but they both said they want to earn a scholarship at the next level. Nobody could be prouder than them than their father.
“They’ll find what’s right for them,” Bob Stoops said. “I have faith in them as young men and the process. Again, I like all the coaches out there around the country. Whatever fits them, I kind of have faith that they’ll find the right fit.”
It’s a little bit of a unique scenario, obviously, as it’s not like Bob Stoops can accompany his sons across the country when he has to prepare the Sooners. But he’s excited about what’s to come for Drake and Isaac. It’s not a shock to see Bob in attendance for Norman North home games if OU is also at home the same weekend.
They’re independent kids, but yea, it does help to have a father with a mind like Bob Stoops to bounce things off when it comes to recruiting and especially when it comes to football.
“Even, believe it or not, they think I know a little bit about football so they started listening a little bit there too,” said Bob Stoops jokingly. “Although the rest of the world may not think I do, it’s reverse now. They think I might know what no one else does. That’s the way it goes.”
The way it goes right now is seeing Drake and Isaac both creeping up the recruiting boards of schools across the country. As more film gets out, the interest increases.
It’s not about separating from their father but about adding their chapter to the Stoops legacy when it comes to football.
“We love being his son, but we want to create our own name,” Drake Stoops said. “Everybody always says ‘Bob’s son did this.’ We want people to know who we are, too.”
Friday night will be another opportunity to do just that.