Fairfield (Ohio) High defensive end Malik Vann went into last weekend’s visit at Oklahoma not knowing what to expect. He left completely blown away.
Vann, a four-star prospect, made his first trip to Norman and was able to see OU’s spring game. He has a tentative decision date of June 26, but he said that could change at any time.
And what did change was Vann’s feelings on the Sooners following the trip.
“It has changed dramatically,” Vann said. “After meeting all of those guys and seeing all those past players come back and talking to the current players, you really understand what OU does for you. The relationship with the former players speaks volumes of what they thought about their time at OU.”
Vann released a top six earlier this week, and it was no surprise at all to see OU make the cut. Vann was offered by second-year defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux a long time ago, but it wasn’t until recently things started to heat up.
Despite being from Ohio, Vann said the distance factor to Norman is not going to play a role at all in his decision. He said his mother is moving to North Carolina after Vann graduates from high school so it’s going to be a long trip no matter what the choice is.
What he didn’t know was how he would fit in with the Sooners. That was answered emphatically during the visit.
“Me and Coach Thibs – he talked a lot about the lack of depth at the defensive line,” Vann said. “He was talking about how I would fit. I can play all along the defensive line so it doesn’t really matter to me.”
With so many recruits in town, Vann did say he only got about 15-20 minutes of one-on-one time with head coach Bob Stoops. In watching Stoops, Vann said he can tell he’s somebody who will get on you when it’s needed and said, “he’s like a grandpa.”
Vann will be at Cincinnati on Friday and then take a trip to Tennessee next weekend. He said he doesn’t have any more planned trips after that, which is why he said a decision doesn’t necessarily have to come June 26.
Michigan State, Alabama and Wisconsin round out his top six.
Vann has been all over the country to see his top schools, and he does indeed have a checklist when making these trips. For OU? The Sooners checked off every box he’s looking for and those concerns from his mother.
“Talking with my mom, it’s a lot about the comfort with the coaches and the community,” Vann said. “A lot of players came back for the spring game. Like I said, that means a lot.”
Vann said the thing that sets him apart from most is the way he’s able to use his strength and leverage against bigger guys. He’s quicker than most and not afraid to be physical.
And like all recruits visiting Norman right now, he couldn’t help but notice those facilities. The ones completed and the ones on the way.
“It’s going to be great,” Vann said. “I got to tour it after the spring game. It was a good time walking through everything.”