Four months ago, not many people knew the name of Houston Cypress Falls defensive back Starrland Baldwin.
TCU was the lone major school showing interest so Baldwin’s goal heading into The Opening regional in Houston on Super Bowl Sunday was to turn some heads.
He did that and then some, displaying his impressive speed. His performance that caught the eye of Oklahoma defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks. With the Sooners hosting a junior day in February, Cooks tried to work fast to get Baldwin to campus.
Mission accomplished as Baldwin earned his first Power 5 conference offer from OU at the event and committed last week to become OU’s seventh pledge for the 2018 class.
“From the jump, after I met the staff, they were real genuine,” Baldwin said. “They are real cool dudes that I could see myself being around for the next few years. It’s a great relationship.”
Baldwin was pretty excited after the OU and admitted last week that he always had a good feeling the Sooners were going to be the choice. Instead of rushing into things, Baldwin played it cool and let the process play out.
Three months later and nothing had changed so Baldwin had his answer. He is going to be a Sooner and said he plans to be a mid-year enrollee at OU as well.
Baldwin’s commitment felt inevitable for a few weeks, and he said trying to keep it a secret was a challenge. One of the culprits in that is former teammate and now OU defensive tackle Du’Vonta Lampkin.
Lampkin was the first to post about Baldwin’s offer before Baldwin had a chance in February and then tipped people off about a commitment in April when he tweeted OU would be getting some good news.
Baldwin eventually made the call in a two-minute video ending with him and an #OUDNA towel. He understands the scrutiny recruiting commitment videos can get, but he also knew the message he wanted to send.
“It’s something to be happy about,” Baldwin said. “It’s something I’m happy about so why not present it to the public in that type of fashion?”
OU appeared to make the right impression because of the work Cooks had put in. As some schools dragged their feet about his 5-foot-10 frame, OU’s defensive backs coach didn’t hesitate.
And when you think of what Cooks recruits at the spot, Baldwin fits the mold. Fast? Yep. Twitchy? Absolutely. Baldwin had one of the fastest shuttle runs at The Opening regional, which sometimes can be regarded higher than a 40-yard dash time because it shows the shiftiness required.
“It has been a really good relationship with Coach Cooks,” Baldwin said. “He’s a good man. Really, everyone on the staff has been genuine. I have a good feeling about all of them.”
Baldwin said he plan was always to enroll early, and he’s happy to have that opportunity with OU. He can focus on his senior season and then get ready. He’s set with the Sooners, no looking around.
The next part of his recruitment won’t involve him but will involve trying to load up other top prospects to OU for the #ST2K18 class.
Baldwin said he talks in a group message with OU commits like T.J. Pledger, Patrick Fields and Miguel Edwards, and they’re ready to make something happen.
“There’s a group message where we all talk,” Baldwin said. “We get excited just thinking about what’s going to happen. We know big things are going down.”
And big things will continue going down for Baldwin. Not bad for somebody not many knew much about four months ago.