You see it all the time in recruiting. A prospect will set a bunch of visits, commit to a school and then say no more visits. He’s done.
Until he’s not. Ardmore (Okla.) High defensive lineman Tyreece Lott thought he was done with the process when he committed to TCU last month.
Maybe he was, but Oklahoma defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux wasn’t. That persistence combined with a great visit last weekend now has Lott a member of OU’s SoonerSquad17 instead of heading to Fort Worth.
Lott officially flipped his commitment Friday afternoon, announcing on Twitter.
“I kept talking to Coach Thibs, and he still wanted me,” Lott said. “He still wanted me to visit. We stayed in touch. It meant a lot. Most of the coaches they dropped off, but he kept coming.”
Lott earning his three-star ranking this season after entering the year not really known by schools and not really known by many in recruiting circles. He just kept plugging along.
Eventually that led to offer No. 1 from Kansas on Nov. 8. And if you know anything about recruiting it’s that once the first one comes, watch out. Here they all come.
“I believe if Tyreece lived in the Metroplex in Dallas, he would have been a four-star as a junior,” Ardmore coach Josh Newby said. “But he got overlooked. Once they put his film on and saw what he was doing, it was just a matter of time.”
And a matter of time for the Sooners and Thibodeaux to take notice. OU knew of Lott as offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh had inquired before, but once the position was defensive line instead of offensive line, things opened up in a huge way.
It all led to a visit last weekend. Lott had been asked to head to Norman a couple of times during the 2016 season. But for one reason or another, it never panned out.
Nothing stopped this two-day trip. It was exactly what he thought it would be and exactly what OU needed it to be.
“It probably happened when I was talking to my mom and my dad Sunday night,” Lott said. “We talked it over, and it hit me right then and there.”
Instead of TCU, it was going to be OU. Newby remembers another Ardmore prospect who found success at OU in former tight end Jermaine Gresham.
Newby wasn’t trying to compare Lott to Gresham or put that type of expectations on him, but he knows Lott is another major player.
“My first impressions of Tyreece was that as a sophomore, we knew he was a special talent,” Newby said. “He has done everything we’ve asked. He’s an amazing young man. Wish we had more Tyreece’s in this program.
“When he walked in this building as a sophomore, we knew he had that type of talent. He’s right up there with them.”
Lott was 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds as a sophomore. A little soft, a transformation had to be made. Newby said Lott put in the work. He dropped the 15 pounds and got into the best shape of his life.
“He never got tired,” Newby said. “It’s a tribute to him to how hard he worked to get to where he’s at now. He practiced and played as hard anybody we’ve ever had.”
But now Lott said he wants to get back to being that 280-pound guy. He wants to add the weight correctly and be one of those guys in the middle of OU’s 4-3 defensive front.
He entered the season without an offer. He leaves Friday committed to the Sooners and will sign with OU in five days. Through it all, he never got discouraged. Never wondered why the offers didn’t come. It’s all paid off.
“This is all amazing to me,” Lott said. “I’m still taking this all in. I never worried, no sir. Most of all, football is fun. I just love to the play sport.”
The journey was a long one full of twists and turns and highs and lows, but that love of playing the game is taking him to Norman, taking him to be a Sooner.