DT Huggins comfortable with Sooners 

December, 31, 2012
It was becoming a horrible repetitive song and dance for Oklahoma’s 2013 recruiting class. Make an offer to a top defensive tackle. Have OU defensive tackles coach Jackie Shipp develop a strong bond with the prospect.

Get the recruit to the campus. Have the Sooners reach the final three and then have OU fans’ hearts ripped out when he goes to another school.

Kerrick Huggins
Damon Sayles/ESPN.comKerrick Huggins initially committed to Texas A&M, but the lure of Oklahoma was too much for the Dallas native.
Need proof? Houston Westfield’s Hardreck Walker chose Texas A&M over OU. ESPN 150 DT Greg Gilmore (Hope Mills, N.C./South View) picked LSU over the Sooners.

And then the dagger for some OU fans when ESPN 150 prospect Justin Manning (Dallas/Kimball) pledged to A&M instead of OU. Manning, the younger brother of former OU defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger, was thought to be the closest thing to a Sooners lock for the class.

But he picked the Aggies. Would OU ever get good news? It came in a hurry last month, and it came from a familiar spot.

Manning and Walker were among five A&M defensive tackle commits. As Texas A&M worked its magic with Manning, OU coaches Shipp and Bob Stoops were working on swaying longtime A&M commit Kerrick Huggins.

Dallas Skyline has been a solid pipeline for OU, and the Sooners are hoping Huggins can be added to that list.

Huggins flipped his commitment from A&M to OU last month.

“Whew, this is like a big sigh of relief,” Huggins said. “It feels great to have this over with. For real this time. I cannot wait to make it official on signing day.”

Huggins was among A&M’s first commits, pledging to the Aggies in January. He admits he was overwhelmed by his visit to the campus. It was the first one he had seen, and he got caught up in the emotion.

As the months went on, he started thinking he made too rash a decision. The Sooners weren’t the first to offer. They weren’t even close. OU didn’t officially offer Huggins until September, but the relationship was established long before then.

“It started in my junior year, actually, with Coach Shipp,” Huggins said. “I had that connection immediately with him. What I always loved about Coach Shipp was he was cool with whatever decision I ended up making. Even if I didn’t go to OU, he didn’t care.”

But Shipp could sense Huggins wasn’t 100 percent sold on the Aggies. And following the offer, Shipp and Huggins talked at least once a week.

Huggins made an unofficial visit to A&M for the Aggies’ showdown with LSU. But something simply didn’t feel right.

“Wasn’t really a place I could see myself playing,” Huggins said. “The more I thought about it, the more I thought OU was beginning to look like a great backup plan. And after more time, I started thinking it was the place for me.”

In early December OU made its push. Shipp came down to the school and had another great visit with Huggins. The following week it wasn’t just Shipp, but OU coach Bob Stoops that came along.

“I was like I know what I want to do,” Huggins said. “It was during my talk with Coach Stoops I told him I wanted to be a Sooner. He was so excited.”

Stoops, Players Want To Effect Change
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops sits down with Gene Wojciechowski to discuss his team's stand against racism.