Call it arrogance by Oklahoma. Call it arrogance of recruiting writers that cover the Sooners. The feeling is when OU makes an underclassman offer to an in-state prospect, you might as well just chalk up that recruit to the Sooners.
OU offered Tulsa (Okla.) Union safety Patrick Fields at the infamous #ChampUBBQ in late-July 2016. OK, it’s a wrap. Over and done. Fields will be a Sooner.
Now seven months later, and Fields isn’t. And there’s no guarantee he will be. The guarantee is that defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks is doing all he can to keep Fields in the state.
Fields, a high three-star prospect from the same school as OU signee Tre Brown, was back in Norman last weekend for junior day.
“It was a great visit, with a great family feel,” Fields said. “I got to talk to Coach Cooks a lot. I got to talk to Justin (Broiles) and Steven (Parker). It was really good to spend a lot of time with Coach Cooks and get some perspective.”
Fields wasn’t even sure he was going to go. Balancing school, a job and recruiting can be a grind even for someone as young as Fields. He spent Saturday in Memphis with other top prospects in the Tulsa area and was drained.
But he decided to make the trip to Norman once again. It paid off huge. Fields said he was able to reconnect with Broiles, who enrolled early at OU last month after a standout career at OKC John Marshall.
First impressions from Broiles? All is good in Norman.
“He’s loving it,” Fields said. “He loves making the decision to graduate early. He said it’s a lot different from high school. You have to take everyone seriously. Starters, walk-ons, everybody wants it so he’s just working as hard as he can.”
It’s not that Cooks went away from Fields since making the offer in July, but it felt like other schools had narrowed the gap or just flat out taken the lead.
TCU and Texas immediately come to mind, and Fields said the plan is to visit both Fort Worth and Austin this weekend.
Fields has a great relationship with Cooks, but Sunday allowed for something you can’t value enough in that face-to-face time.
“We’ve talked, of course,” Fields said. “He was up here in in December and January. But this time me and Coach Cooks got to sit down and talk about everything.
“The defensive scheme and what they want to do. The opportunity to play. It meant a lot for because you don’t get to have that personal time a lot. Then Steven and Justin would tell me stuff and then Coach Cooks would say the same thing later. He’s a man of his word, not just telling you what you want to hear.”
What OU fans want to hear is Fields will join his former teammate, Tre Brown, in Norman. Fields is someone who has shown great versatility in the secondary and can play cornerback, nickelback or safety.
Fields said OU views him as the next Steven Parker. The coaches see a lot of similarities in their game. At his size, Fields said he realizes he’s not a safety in a conference like the SEC. But he believes, knows he can play anywhere in the Big 12.
That was part of what his junior season was all about. Fields proved he was a lot more than just hype in helping the Redskins earn the 2016 state championship.
“I had to go out and prove myself,” Fields said. “I had to show I’m a top defensive back in the country regardless of what the rankings say. I’m second-to-none in coverage.
“I had to emphasize to myself. You can never tell someone what to think, but what you put out there is what people will see.”
What Fields has put out there has been impressive enough to land offer after offer with a slew of them coming in during the last month.
Fields has enjoyed the recruiting process, but he wants it to be done. He wants to be a mid-year enrollee and is ready to start getting prepared for his senior season and college.
No set decision date, but Fields said by the time the semester is done (mid-May), he knows he’ll have a decision made. He knows some schools he already has in mind, and Cooks has done a great job to make sure the Sooners are included in that bunch.