- Bob Przybylo, Reporter, RecruitingNation
Every Thursday, SoonerNation releases the Sooner Intel, a sneak peek inside Oklahoma Sooners football recruiting with news and notes on the latest happenings around the program. Talk about it on our forum. A few things discussed in this week's update:
• More on what happened with an OU commit who has been forced to give up football.
• OU's lone official visitor talks more about his trip for the Florida A&M game.
• Two 2014 DEs talk about their Sooners interest
• Where will OU look now at offensive tackle? We talk with a few targets.
• More from OU's newest basketball commit.
Read the Sooner Intel after the jump.
Teammate reflects on Beyer’s impact
It’s the first of OU’s two bye weeks so you knew it would be a busy week in recruiting. And it has been with several new offers being handed out.
But nothing stands out more this week than the news on Monday morning when OU offensive tackle commit Matt Beyer (San Antonio/Reagan) let the world know he will have to give up playing football.
Beyer tweeted Monday morning, “Thank you for all the memories guys! Football has truly been great to me! I love you all! It was just time for me to hang up the pads.”
Beyer, understandably, has not answered text messages or answered phone calls this week. But I did have a chance to catch up with his teammate, Sterling Korona.
Korona said Beyer addressed the team Monday morning and let it know he was being forced to give up the game because of a neck injury.
Beyer did have a serious back injury, too, but tweeted Wednesday that was not why he is forced to give up the game.
Beyer suffered an incomplete fracture of the L5 vertebrae and was forced to watch most of the 2011 season from the sidelines.
But Beyer said he was back and better than ever and had proved it so far. After a stellar start to his senior season, a neck injury crept up that has forced him to call it quits.
“After Matt was done addressing the team, we were allowed to say some words to Matt,” Korona said. “I was the last one to speak to him. It was tough. I told him I would carry the team for him now.”
Beyer’s announcement came on the heels of an already emotional week for San Antonio Reagan players. Former teammate Andres Cabrera was killed in a car accident last week.
“On a scale of 1-10 about how stressful this week has been, I would say it has been a 9.9,” Korona said. “We’ve had to dig down deep and have learned a lot about ourselves and our resolve.”
Korona said Beyer’s speech was powerful and that one line stood out the most.
“It hurts now, but I’ll be able to run with my kids when I’m in my 40's. I won’t be a paraplegic. And that’s what’s important,” Beyer told the team, according to Korona.
Beyer, to his credit, is staying with the team. He hasn’t missed a day of practice and is making that transition from player to coach.
“Matt has been out there coaching the younger guys as if nothing is wrong,” Korona said. “He has handled this a lot better than I would. He is still a part of this team in every sense of the word.”
Without talking to Beyer, I won't speculate where he stands with OU in terms of his scholarship. OU offensive tackles coach Bruce Kittle did talk with Korona last week although no offer has been made.
Korona, who is committed to Duke, is taking an official visit to see the Blue Devils this weekend.
Mixon with something to think about
Maybe the expectations were too high regarding OU and the official visit of Dimarya Mixon (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite) last weekend.
Mixon, a three-star recruit who is committed to Arizona State, said he never had any plans on switching his pledge to the Sooners last weekend.
The keywords there? Last weekend.
“I was just having a lot of fun. If I did make a decision, it wasn’t going to be right then and there,” Mixon said. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’m committed to ASU ... at the moment.”
Mixon said he didn’t want to compare and contrast OU and ASU. He admitted he loved being back at OU and now it will be a waiting game. Mixon is scheduled to take an official visit to Arizona State next weekend and West Virginia the weekend after that.
He was the only football official visitor of the weekend. And when it’s a game against Florida A&M, that makes a lot of sense. But what it did give him was a chance to see the words of the coaches actually be true.
The OU coaches have stressed that opportunities are there for the younger players. If you work hard and keep your head on straight, you will have a chance to make an impact.
Following Saturday’s 69-13 victory, Mixon knows the coaches aren’t just blowing smoke.
“It did open my eyes to a lot of things,” Mixon said. “It was very encouraging to see all the true freshmen out there playing. That’s something that is great to know that they give guys an opportunity.”
Mixon said he didn’t have any football-related questions for the coaches, and he has seen the campus enough that it wasn’t about that, either. But he did ask some academic-related questions and said he was pleased with the answers.
“I know what OU is all about. I don’t have any questions,” Mixon said.
Thomas grateful for OU offer
OU doesn’t have to look very far to find quality 2014 defensive ends. With so many in the Oklahoma and Dallas area, it’s going to make the search a little easier.
The Sooners are starting to narrow down their targets, too, making an offer to Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) last week.