Up and coming high school prospects are now blessed with a plethora of options when it comes to deciding where to play their college ball. There are so many great schools and great conferences to play in, and each seems to gravitate to their own style of play. The Big 12 is pass happy, and the SEC is run the ball and play defense league, while the Big 10 tends to run more pro-style programs.
This recruiting season the Oklahoma Sooners have in their sights the number one rated quarterback and wide receiver. Look at any scouting service you want and you'll find their names at or near the very top. Gunner Kiel and Dorial Green-Beckham are probably sitting on offers from any school out there that has a football team. Going after the two top overall prospects and actually signing them isn't anything that this Sooner program hasn't done before. 2004 saw them land Adrian Peterson and Rhett Bomar, the two top overall players that year.
You can bet that every program out there will be giving both of these young men the full court press. They'll have a lot to consider for sure. While there's no knocking any of those other programs out there, as they are all great, here's some very good reasons for these two to come to Norman in 2012.
Style of play – 2008 was a season that Oklahoma scored more points than any school in history. They already own the record for the most points scored ever in college football. Not even Oregon’s mighty offense of 2010 could eclipse the Sooner’s 2008 mark. Points are being scored in Norman these days because they throw the ball…….a lot. While some so-called “experts” like to label Oklahoma’s offense as a “spread”, that's not completely accurate. Yes they spread the ball out, but they also use what many other programs have forgotten about, a fullback and a tight end. Pretty much any Big 12 school would be the perfect spot for a top receiver and quarterback because of the style of play, but there’s even more reasons to narrow that down to the Sooners.
National exposure – It’s hard to remember the last time an Oklahoma game wasn’t televised. Due to the fact that they are the biggest game on the schedule of everyone they play, they get plenty of attention. Oklahoma doesn’t have to worry about playing games on Thursday nights to gain exposure, if you play at Oklahoma, you will be exposed…..good or bad. They are also about to launch their own network which will only increase that exposure. This Oklahoma program has the most elite media center in the Big 12 if not the Nation, which will only ensure Oklahoma's security should there be another conference re-alignment period.
Jay Norvell – As solid a position coach as there is in the game of football at any level. While he has roots in the NFL and knows what it takes to get his kids to the next level, he’s still not content. Like the rest of the coaching staff at Oklahoma, he goes the extra mile by going to places like Alabama, or Boise, or the New Orleans Saints practices just to pick the brains of other great coaches. Him going the extra mile like this to improve his craft gives him the right to ask the same from his players, and he usually gets it. Dorial Green-Beckham has indicated that he wants to play for a program where he will be challenged. The reason this program is in national title contention almost every single season is because the coaching staff does just that.
Josh Heupel – A former Heisman Trophy finalist and National Champion leaves no doubt about his pedigree. If Gunner Kiel comes to Oklahoma, he should do so knowing that he is going to the school with the best QB coach in the game today. Josh Heupel is going to consistently recruit and develop great quarterbacks. No question that since the millennium Oklahoma has been the new “Quarterback U”. Three Heisman finalists, two winners, one national champion, and 4 national title game appearances among the three. This doesn’t include Landry Jones who is on the verge of breaking pretty much every Sooner passing record there is. A good quarterback is a receiver’s best friend, and Oklahoma will always have great quarterbacks. There will be no wrong decision for Gunner Kiel no matter where he ends up, but there's no debate that Oklahoma is producing elite quarterbacks these days, and Josh Heupel is the primary reason why.
NFL Potential – It’s no secret the pipeline to the NFL that comes out of Norman. The Oklahoma coaching staff is very well respected by all NFL circles, and if they have a prospect, they will get maximum consideration. Rarely is there a pro day in Norman where all NFL teams aren’t represented. Oklahoma also has the honor of being the only school to ever supply 3 of the top 4 draft picks in the NFL draft. However even after giving up those players, they still went 12-2 the very next season and won their 7th Big 12 title and 3rd BCS bowl game. Green-Beckham and Kiel probably both have aspirations of making it to the next level, and these Sooners have a proven track record in that department.
Program Stability – Can anyone name or count all the jobs that Bob Stoops has turned down since he’s become the head man in Norman? Notre Dame, Florida twice, maybe three times, and a couple NFL deals as well. There couldn’t be a more clear indication of his plans to hang out in Norman for a while. Even when the day comes that he does decide to hang up the visor cap, this is a program that is as stable as any out there. Oklahoma has a brand as elite as any in the Country. The State of Oklahoma just recently landed their first professional franchise of any kind in the OKC Thunder just a couple years back. They are very popular and sell out all their games. That being said, they still sit second best to the Sooners, as does any other sports entity in Oklahoma.
Facilities – While Oregon has the most elaborate facilities in the Nation hands down, everyone else that has elite facilities are all pretty much on the same level. There’s never been a potential recruit that left Norman without being completely impressed with their facilities. The student athletes at Oklahoma in all sports are among the most privileged in the nation, and every one of them would tell you that. It also goes without saying that since it is the football team that generates the majority of the income for these plush facilities, they are also treated with the very best. If there is a new piece of cutting edge equipment out there, you can bet it’s on the Oklahoma sideline. Keep in mind though that these facilities are not visitor friendly. Oklahoma just doesn’t lose at home.
History and Tradition – All Gunner Kiel and Dorial Green-Beckham has to do is take one quick walk through the Switzer Center to begin to grasp the lore that they are about to become a part of. It’s enough to leave any young man’s jaw hanging on the floor. Texas fans don’t like the fact that everything is bigger in Texas except for the size of their trophy case. When it comes to history and tradition in a football program, Oklahoma is unmatched. There may be a small handful of schools out there that have a history and tradition as deep as Oklahoma’s, but none better.
The fans – Green-Beckham and Kiel will never have to play before anything less than a sold out crowd in Norman. Not only that, they can count on maximum representation from their fan base at road games as well, as they are one of the most well traveled fan bases in all of college football. Oklahoma plays in huge games every year. While the OU-Texas game is one of the biggest and best rivalries in all of sports in general, these Sooners don’t stop there. They pepper their schedule with greatness as well, as any great program should. After Oklahoma’s trip to Tallahassee in 2011, any future Sooner can look forward to games against the likes of Notre Dame, Ohio State, LSU, and Tennessee. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?! Green-Beckham and Kiel obviously want to play in big games, and play for championships...who doesn't. There isn't any program out there that does that more than Oklahoma.
Sure Gunner Kiel and Dorial Green-Beckham will be great wherever they go, they'd just look better doing it in Crimson and Cream.
Boomer Sooner Baby!!