RECRUITING: DE's trip did not go as expected

Sapulpa, Okla. defensive end Carl Pendleton gives us the complete story about his visit to Norman

Defensive end Carl Pendleton of Sapulpa is one of the Sooners top recruits and one of the top recruits in the country. He visited OU this weekend and immediately after that visit all sources indicated that the visit went fine, but now that we have talked to Pendleton himself, we find that his true feeling did not represent the feelings of those that are the closest to him. As I have often stated recruiting is a very wacky business.

JH: You still have one visit to take is that right?

CP: "I will not be able to take my final visit until January 10th when I visit Oklahoma State. I was going to go to Kansas State, but I changed my mind and I have decided to visit OSU instead."

JH: What did you think of your visit to OU?

CP: "I honestly didn't have a very good time. I guess I hold colleges to pretty high standards when I take my visits and Oklahoma didn't hold up to those standards. They were pretty disappointing in a number of ways. First, on most of my visits I am shown around by an upper classman who knows everything about the school because he has been on campus for a couple of years. At OU I was shown around by a freshman (Calvin Thibodeaux) who has only been there for one semester. I guess he knows quite a bit about the program, but he can't know as much as an upper classman. He also didn't have a car and that was a big problem. It seemed we were always waiting around waiting for somebody to pick us up. One time we waited to go out for the night about two hours and then when I decided at the end of the night I wanted to go back to my hotel it took him about an hour-and-a-half to get a ride for us. That was just so frustrating, because at the party we were standing out in the cold waiting for this ride and never really knowing when it was going to come.

Then while we were waiting for a ride a few of the freshman football players almost got into a fight with some students. They didn't get into the fight, but they almost did and it was pretty ugly for a while. Again, I just didn't that their actions were indicative of how the OU football program normally acts and that was very disappointing to me that I was around that situation. It was nothing against Calvin personally, because he was doing the best he could and he wasn't involved in anything expect showing me around. I was disappointed that they didn't set me up with somebody like Tommie Harris, who shares the same kind of believes that I do and who could have really shared with me what it meant to play at OU."

JH: Has the negative experience on your visits soiled your thoughts on the Sooners?

CP: "Not really, but for the first couple of days I was pretty ticked off about it. That fight really shocked me because I didn't feel that was indicative of the team. There were a bunch of freshmen that were involved and I just didn't feel that was how the team reacted to things. I just think they would do better to put recruits with upperclassman who respect the program and act accordingly."

JH: Have you told the OU coaches about your experiences?

CP: "Yes, I spoke with Coach (Mike) Stoops about the situation before I left and I also spoke to Coach (Bob) Stoops. They were very surprised by it and I guess there were as surprised as much as I was. They recruit at a high level and when they hear that certain players aren't holding up to that standard they get mad about it. They were saying that they hoped that the actions of just a few players didn't skew my thoughts on Oklahoma. They also pointed out that all freshmen go through a period of transition and as they grow in the program their thoughts on the program grow more positive. They are correct in pointing out that you can just at the high level which OU plays at and understand that they have a team that is very together and very much behind the coaching staff. What I ran into was a small group of players at the wrong time. Next weekend they could be thinking something totally opposite." JH: What do you think of recruiting now at this point?

CP: "As far as the visits go the Oklahoma visit was my least enjoyable, but I don't think it is going to change my perception of the program. I already knew quite a bit about the program and I don't think those few individuals are representative of what the overall team at OU is all about. However, it was pretty shocking, considering what I was expected. I still have a strong interest in OU and I look forward to talking with Coach (Bob) Stoops tomorrow night."

JH: Do you have a leader at this point?

CP: "No, I don't and I want to wait until I take all my visits before I make my decision."

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