Gayden Talks Stoops In-Home

While the rumor mill had OU head coach Bob Stoops slated to take the Notre Dame job, he was out on the road recruiting top prospects to play for him at OU. His first stop was to see mammoth JuCo OL Roszell Gayden. How did it go?

Roszell Gayden (6-7, 310) garnered his first offer last spring from the California Golden Bears. Over seven months later, Gayden has a stack of letters from some of the top programs in the nation all offering full rides for the standout to play left tackle.

Every school he could have dreamed of has offered save possibly one. "If you go back, I might have said something about USC, they didn't offer, so you can say they are the only one," said Gayden. "I really didn't expect an offer from Oklahoma."

Despite having so many options, Gayden has narrowed his of schools to three Auburn, California and Oklahoma. "I canceled my Oregon visit. I just wasn't feeling it," said Gayden.

"If I take another trip, it may be something last minute. Maybe Arizona, they offered me a couple weeks back. Arizona State is also recruiting my brother (Rashad Gayden). It would be cool to play with my brother but it wouldn't be the end of the world if not. He doesn't have any offers right now. But he's going to get offers without me."

As it stands, Gayden took an official visit to Oklahoma in October and Auburn this past weekend. He will visit Berkeley on December 11. "Schools are still calling for visits. I'll see if I take another one after Cal but I don't think so," added Gayden. "So many schools have called me and said we want to offer you a scholarship but I've [turned them down]."

Gayden says a few factors are going to play into his decision. "Immediate playing and great academics, I want to play on a big stage," he said.

He says all the schools that are recruiting him have told him he can start right away. "I was at Auburn this weekend and everybody from the fans to the athletic director was telling if I come here, I'll start immediately," said Gayden.

"[Oklahoma] Coach [Bob] Stoops was just here (Monday night). I was just with Coach Stoops about an hour ago for an in-home visit. He was just telling me how much he needs me. How much he needs me to come in and play left tackle. I'm their No. 1 o-line recruit."

"He told me I was the first guy he came to see. Then he quieted down the rumors about him going for the Notre Dame job. He said that was totally false. He was telling they could help me out as far as my career and going to the NFL. And I can definitely help them win a few more championships."

In Norman and at the Iron Bowl last week in Auburn, Gayden has seen impressive gameday atmospheres. When he visits Berkeley next weekend, he will not witness a game in Strawberry Canyon. But he knows exactly what he wants to see.

"I already know Cal has the best academics you can ask for," said Gayden. "But I'm going to get a feel for the coaches, get a feel for the guys on the team see if I fit in there, see the atmosphere, and see the school. I mean the education is hard to pass up at Cal-Berkeley."

Early in the recruiting process, the Golden Bears were recruiting a number of top prep tackles. Speculation had Gayden not atop the board to replace current Bear left tackle Mike Tepper. He says that was never the case.

"I couldn't say the [Cal coaches] were waiting on me," said Gayden. "They were the first school to offer me. I don't think they waited on me. From day one, they've told me over and over again, I'm going to be the starter if I come there. I owe it to them to take a visit to see what they are about."

The Minnesota native originally committed to the Minnesota Golden Gophers out of high school. He has spent the last two years playing JUCO ball in Central California. "[Distance] plays no part [in my decision]," said Gayden. "I've been away from home the past two years. I barely get to see my parents as it is."

Speaking of mom and dad, how much are they are playing a part in Gayden's recruitment.

"I've talked to them but the decision is up to me," said Gayden. "My dad really loves Oklahoma. He tells me all the time, it doesn't get better than Oklahoma. ‘You go to Oklahoma and be a starting left tackle, you're going to be a first day pick in the NFL Draft.' My mom is not a big college football fan; she just wants me to get a great education."

Gayden originally planned to graduate in December and enroll in January with three years to play two. He says it makes no difference to the schools recruiting him when he graduates. "I might have a chance to graduate in December but most likely it will be the spring," he added.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories