- Bob Przybylo, Reporter, RecruitingNation
Perris (Calif.) Citrus Hill football coach Eric Zomalt knew his three-star wide receiver K.J. Young was good enough to play for a top school so he did something about it.
Zomalt sent out senior film for the 6-foot, 183-pound Young to just about every school he could think of, and it was Oklahoma who bit first and bit hard.
The Sooners and Young got in touch late December and Young committed to OU on Jan. 13 following his official visit.
For Zomalt, it showed his belief was justified and for Young it showed that hard work and patience is rewarded.
Zomalt talks with SoonerNation about one of OU’s best kept secrets on the recruiting trail.
SoonerNation: OK, has the celebration party for K.J. slowed down yet? But seriously, what has this meant to Perris Citrus Hill?
Eric Zomalt: Everybody is just so happy for K.J. We got to see him do this stuff on a weekly basis so we all knew he deserved something like, something like a school of OU’s caliber to take a chance on him.
SN: Once OU took that chance, a lot of other schools followed suit. Why do you think it took so long for K.J. to get that recognition?
Zomalt: Sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes a kid slips through the cracks and the bounces don’t go his way initially. He was a three-year starter for us, who has always been special and always made big-time plays. We hope everyone takes notice that it’s not all about rankings.
SN: You made K.J. a pretty big priority. How proud are you of what he has accomplished and about seeing your hard work pay off?
Zomalt: Between me and his parents, I like to think we all played a role. I wasn’t recruited by OU. I wasn’t that good. I had no idea if K.J. was, either, but I knew he was something special. His father works here at the high school, and it has been an incredible couple of weeks for all of us.
SN: Where does K.J. fit in when it comes to OU?
Zomalt: He’s a nightmare in the slot. He has long arms and big hands. Grew up playing basketball and is a great leaper. We threw him out wide, at first. Once we moved him to the slot, we all had smiles on our faces. Nightmare in the slot.
SN: You already had the relationship with OU linebackers coach Tim Kish from when he was at Arizona, but did you really think OU would look K.J.’s way?
Zomalt: I knew this group we had was the most talented group we’ve had. Because other people didn’t jump on him, some schools backed off. I kept saying believe what you see. What you see here on film and what you see in person. Do you like it? Don’t judge it off of his offers and what other schools see. What do you see? OU saw it and liked what it saw. I respect that.
SN: Have you noticed a difference in K.J. since the commitment?
Zomalt: Not at all. He was smiling and happy before OU. He’s smiling and happy now. He hasn’t changed. He’s excited for his opportunity, and we’re all excited to see what he can do because we believe in him and know he can do great things.
3dJake Trotter and Brandon Chatmon