No easier way for an Oklahoma signee to endear himself to Sooner fans than to take a shot at Texas even if that was never the plan by Weatherford (Texas) High’s Zack McKinney.
McKinney, a three-star signee for OU, became an instant favorite among the OU faithful when he described why OU was the choice instead of Texas as both schools offered in the same 24-hour period.
He mentioned stability. He mentioned the winning tradition. And McKinney never looked back from those December words as he finally had his official visit in Norman last weekend.
“I had a real good time at OU,” McKinney said. “It was real exciting. It’s a great atmosphere and somewhere I want to be.”
His host was redshirt freshman defensive end Kenneth Mann, who preached to McKinney about how Mann couldn’t have made a better decision for his choice in 2015 and how OU is a great place to develop on and off the field.
McKinney became a name to watch late in the fall heading into winter as his senior film started to be released more and more. That meant a lot of schools trying to make contact with the OU commit. But McKinney offered an easy solution to that issue.
“If a coach follows you, you don’t follow back,” McKinney said. “If a coach messages you, you don’t message back.”
It’s another time where McKinney takes something that is usually made complicated in the recruiting process and nails down how easily it can be done. If you don’t want any drama, don’t invite it in the first place.
McKinney visited OU for a game earlier in the season, but last weekend’s trip allowed him to get a full feel of the program and the academic side. McKinney said he plans on majoring in communications, and it was vital for him to speak to a communications professor. That talk meant a lot, he said.
He brought along his family, and there were no issues at all there. His mother, his father and his sister have been pro-OU since day one so this was more of solidifying everything as opposed to trying to convince everyone about OU and Norman.
“It’s just a great program,” McKinney said. “The facilities, they’re not even done yet, but they look great. It’s a great atmosphere.”
It was a little bit of a different feeling for McKinney on this visit. He has stepped on Owen Field before but never as a commit, never as a person knowing he’s going to one day be playing on that same field and in a scheme that might fit him even better.
The talk of the last month has been OU moving from a three-man defensive front to a four-man setup. Maybe not every down but showing it enough to become more multiple. It was music to the ears of McKinney when defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux brought it up.
“A few weeks ago, he told me,” McKinney said. “I feel like that helps me in a very positive way. In high school, I was in a 3-4. But I’m not a nose guard. I know that. Being a three-technique is going to be perfect.”
McKinney said the trip was a blast because all the questions that had to be asked had already occurred and the answers were exactly what him and his family wanted to hear.
It was an unusual journey to Norman as McKinney knows just one day in December will most likely change his life forever.
“No, sir, never thought this,” McKinney said. “Not going to lie. The first time me and Coach Thibs talked – I never thought I’d be going to OU.
“The moment it hit me was the day he offered. When he said if you want to be a Sooner, we can make it happen right now. I’ll never forget it.”