Sooners Sitting Pretty with Katoa

Upside can be one of the most important factors in recruiting and sometimes you can find a rare player like Lynn Katoa who has it in spades. Last season he strapped on the pads for this first time in his life and was a destructive force at linebacker and defensive end for Cottonwood High School.

Lynn Katoa, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker from Salt Lake City, Utah has already started to narrow down his field of choices and while those schools have not changed over the past couple of weeks it did become abundantly clear while speaking to him today that while many schools may have made the most recent cut, one school that will make it to the last will be Oklahoma.

"Right now I have it narrowed down to Miami, Oklahoma, Florida, Wisconsin, USC, Texas A&M, Texas and LSU," Katoa stated. "I want to make my decision by the first or second week of the season, so I am going to take most of my visits this summer."

Oklahoma has been putting a full court press on Katoa so far with both Coach Bob Stoops and Coach Brent Venables recruiting him. That alone should show how important Katoa is to the Sooner coaching staff and it certainly has not gone unnoticed to the young linebacker prospect.

"Coach (Bob) Stoops and Coach (Brent) Venables both recruit me and are always presenting me with facts which I like," Katoa explained. "They said I would have an opportunity to play at Oklahoma earlier because their depth chart is not as deep at linebacker as some other programs recruiting me and also because they have no problem playing freshman if they come in and work hard to earn the starting spot. They are both great guys and Coach Stoops has even talked to me about getting on a plan to graduate early from Oklahoma if I go there. Coach Venables has been great guiding me through the recruiting process and helping to give me facts about all of the schools I am looking at."

To have a head coach and defensive coordinator both recruiting you is a pretty special feeling if you are a defensive player, however add that to the fact Brent Venables is a former collegiate linebacker and coaches the position at Oklahoma and you've got one impressive combination to offer.

"I am honored to be recruited so hard by Coach Venables because I know he has played the position before and also coaches it," Katoa added. "It feels good to get so much attention from him and we have spent a lot of time talking about when I will take my visit to Oklahoma lately. I am definitely going down before my senior year starts and like I said, I want to decide sometime around there."

With so many quality programs in the hunt for Katoa we wanted to find out where his head was at regarding the Sooners in particular and what he thought he needed to work on next season before hitting whatever campus he ultimately chooses.

"First of all, the tradition that Oklahoma brings to the table is great. I grew up watching them along with Texas and Texas A&M as a child because I grew up right outside of Dallas and have always liked the program a lot. They have put many defensive players into the NFL over the years and constantly have award winners at linebacker. That is another thing that makes me feel so good about Oklahoma, because Coach Venables has trained all these players lately and feels I am one of the best linebackers in the country."

"Right now I play middle linebacker and defensive end and I would like to play outside linebacker in college, but Oklahoma likes me at MIKE," Katoa explained. "I will play wherever they want me to, so that isn't really a big deal to me. My strengths are definitely my downhill style of play and blitzing, but I need to work on my pass coverage because I didn't have to do it that often last season and need to learn the different reads and fundamentals involved with coverage schemes."

As for the question about where Oklahoma stands among all of these other great programs for the linebacker?

"Oklahoma is in my top two. I don't know who the other school is, but Oklahoma would definitely be one of my top two and I really like them going forward."

As a junior, Katoa recorded (90 solo) 109 tackles, 13 sacks, and four forced fumbles playing at middle linebacker and defensive end. It was his first year playing football. He was named second-team All-Region and All-State. He benches 315 pounds, squats 335 and has a 30-inch vertical jump.

He reports a 3.2 core GPA and a 17 ACT.

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