October 11, 2012

What do OU wins over Texas mean to recruiting?

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When the Sooners take on Texas this Saturday inside the Cotton Bowl, they'll be doing it with over 50 recruits sitting in the stands and countless others watching at home.

Some recruits expected to attend, such as Southmoore's D.J. Ward, Colleyville's Cody Thomas and Tulsa's Stanvon Taylor, are verbally committed to Oklahoma.

But there are several undecided recruits who will be sitting in the stands as well. One of the most highly regarded juniors in the state of Texas, wide receiver K.D. Cannon, is expected to attend the Red River Rivalry as a guest of the Sooners. Oklahoma is the home team in this year's OU-Texas matchup, and therefore, they are the team in charge of inviting recruits.

For players like Cannon, who has offers from Oklahoma and Texas, it's a chance to get a look at both teams in person.

But can a win or a loss affect his decision on where he might go?

"It is very important and it's obviously very important when you have a lot of players from Texas and Oklahoma on your team," said running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Cale Gundy, who also admits a win or a loss might only affect one or two recruits per season.

"My response has been the same for 20-something years. It certainly does not hurt when you win that football game," said defensive ends coach and former Longhorn coach Bobby Jack Wright of the questions about whether winning this game is important for recruiting. "Does it guarantee that you're going to get all the recruits you want? No it does not."

OU-TX/TX-OU does do one thing that is undeniable for recruiting at Oklahoma and Texas. It creates an attraction.

When Texas A&M entered the SEC, there was a fear the Texas high school floodgates might open for schools in the SEC. And even though teams like Alabama staged a season opening game in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington this season, it's impossible to ignore the appeal the Red River Rivalry has for recruits in the state of Texas.

"I think we do our best, both sides, to really sell it because it is special," said Bob Stoops about the relationship between recruiting and the Red River Rivalry. "We sure do talk about it and promote it. I don't know that anyone gets it until you're there. But we'll get a whole slew of them down there this weekend that will have a chance to see it. I think it is a big deal."

Since Stoops and Mack Brown have taken over the OU and Texas programs, this game has helped shaped the direction of the national championship more times than not.

This year might be a step down in terms of national significance, but the pageantry of the Texas State Fair, 90,000 fans creating a crimson and burnt orange split at the 50-yard line, television specials and an overall media circus in the Dallas Metroplex leading up to this game make it more than just another Big 12 Conference game.

"I don't think (winning) matters as much as seeing they can be involved in this whole craziness," he said. "It's pretty cool."




 

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