RECRUITING: Waiting game taking toll on Braxton

Youngstown, Ohio offensive tackle signee Brandon Braxton is still unsure about his eligibility. Will he be at OU next season?

All Sooner football signee Brandon Braxton wants is to join fellow 2004 incoming freshman Rhett Bomar, Adrian Peterson and Marcus Walker in Norman.

But until the 6-foot-7, 310-pound offensive tackle from Youngstown, Ohio receives either his most recent ACT score or his grade from a recently completed correspondence class, he can't since he's not fully qualified academically.

"I'm so ready to leave," said Braxton on Tuesday night during an exclusive telephone interview with "Everybody's getting ready to leave and go to college, but I'm still sitting here waiting to see when I'm leaving."

To become fully qualified, Braxton said he must have improved his ACT score from a 16 to 18, which he retook for the last time two weekends ago, or receive the grade of a "B" in the correspondence class.

But if Braxton were to receive a "C" in the correspondence class, he said he would still qualify if he was able to raise his ACT score from a 16 to 17.

"It's so frustrating," said Braxton, who graduated from Ursuline High School on June 6. "I keep thinking what if I had done it all right the first time instead of messing around in school. I didn't know how important all this is until it finally came around."

Braxton said he expects to receive his ACT score in the next 2 to 4 weeks. He said he should be receiving his correspondence grade any day, which will replace a "D" he made in literature as a sophomore.

Braxton said he believes he did "good" in the class and on the ACT, but is unsure if his efforts are going to be enough for him to qualify.

"I think about what's going to happen all the time and that's stressing me out real bad," said Braxton. "I'm worrying myself, but all I can really do is wait."

Throughout the process, Braxton said he has kept in close contact with Sooner offensive line coach Kevin Wilson, who recruited him.

"Coach Wilson has helped me out a bunch," said Braxton. "He gets on me a lot and reminds me of everything I have to do. He's really rooting on my side."

Besides Coach Wilson, Braxton said he also talks to redshirt freshman offensive lineman Akim Millington frequently.

"He calls and sees how I'm doing," said Braxton. "I appreciate that."

If Braxton qualifies, he said he will depart for Norman as soon as possible. He said he remains optimistic about playing, not redshirting this season.

"I'm ready for whatever," said Braxton. "That's why I'm trying to hurry and get down there so I can learn the system and do whatever I can do to help the team."

Should Braxton not qualify, he said he will likely attend a prep school for nine months to improve his grades and then enroll at Oklahoma. Under that scenario, he would still have four years of eligibility remaining, plus a redshirt year.

"Coach Wilson and I haven't really touched on that much," said Braxton. "We're just hoping for the best."

Braxton said he continues to follow the workout program that the OU coaches sent him shortly after signing day. He said he is working specifically to improve his chest strength.

"It's going well," said Braxton. "I'm working real hard."

But while Braxton awaits his fate, he said he has one request for Sooner fans.

"Tell everybody down there to pray for me," said Braxton. "Because I want to come down and be a Sooner this year."

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories