One phone call from Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was all it took to reassure safety commit Eric Striker (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) that the Sooners were the right fit for the three-star prospect.
No commit had a better relationship with former OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables than Striker. When it came to recruiting, Striker said Venables was the only coach he had heard from.
On Wednesday evening Striker said he wasn’t sure what he would do if Venables left the program. But a phone call from Bob Stoops on that night sealed the deal.
“I was actually taking a nap, and he left a voicemail,” Striker said. “I got up and called him, and I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. Coach calling me that fast let me know I’m still special with the program.”
Striker said he found out about Venables leaving for Clemson after 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday night. He discussed it with his mother and said OU was still the choice. He went to sleep and nothing had changed when he woke up Thursday.
When the rumors about Venables departure started to spread, the coach made sure to call Striker last week to let him know that he was going to be staying at Oklahoma.
But now that Venables has left, there are no hard feelings from Striker.
“I’m not mad at Coach Venables,” Striker said. “He has to do what he has to do. And so do I. OU all the way. I had a great relationship with coach, but I can start to build one with Mike Stoops.”
Striker and Mike Stoops got off on the right foot following a two-hour in-home visit by the Stoops brothers on Wednesday evening. He said he knows about Mike Stoops’ reputation for his intensity and is looking forward to learning from Stoops.
Striker said his commitment is about the program and not a coach. Striker said following his freshman year that he would play at OU. At that time, he had no idea who was on the coaching staff. It simply didn’t matter.
“I came to Oklahoma for Oklahoma,” Striker said. “I’m down with OU. Nothing is changing with me.”
Another point of emphasis for Striker was the fact his role with the team is not going to change and the defensive philosophy won’t go under a drastic change. Striker was told by Bob Stoops on Wednesday that safety will be his position.
The news was also good regarding three-star prospect Daniel Brooks (Rockdale, Texas/Rockdale). Venables was the lead recruiter for the athlete, who committed in the spring.
Brooks’ father, Tony, said Tuesday that he understands coaching changes are a part of the process. And the Venables news didn’t change Brooks’ tone Thursday.
“No, nothing has changed,” Tony Brooks texted SoonerNation on Thursday morning. “Coach Stoops called Daniel before the news hit and [notified] him of Coach Venables departure to Death Valley! We will miss Coach V. He had a great impact on Daniel and the entire family. We wish him success and thank him for believing in Daniel.”
Cornerback Kevin Peterson (Wagoner, Okla./Wagoner) has declined to comment about the situation, but Wagoner coach Dale Condict confirmed Peterson is going to take an official visit to Oklahoma State this weekend.
Peterson committed to OU in December. The day after his commitment, the Cowboys offered Peterson, who grew up an OSU fan. Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy was in Wagoner earlier this week, and OU coach Bob Stoops is expected to be at Wagoner early next week.
Peterson was visited by Mike Stoops earlier this week, too. Mike Stoops was the first coach to offer Peterson back when he was still coaching at Arizona.