Tuesday, February 12, 2013
OU decision was no-brainer for Austin
By Bob Przybylo
Lancaster (Texas) High cornerback Dakota Austin was at a loss. Cornerbacks he felt he had outshined at summer camps were getting the offers.
Cornerbacks who were asking him for advice on the position were committing to one top-tier program after another.
Cornerback Dakota Austin couldn't turn down an offer from the Sooners.
Austin was simply waiting in the wings. A man without a country, or school in this instance. Austin had offers from Nevada, New Mexico and UTEP. And he never meant any disrespect to any of those programs, but he was hoping for more.
Not hoping. Deserved. He deserved more because of how electric he played. Because of the way he turned heads at every camp he went to during the summer.
But two weeks before signing day, he had started to accept Nevada was his fate. And then Oklahoma defensive backs coach Mike Stoops came back into the picture.
Austin always had a great feeling about OU. It was at the Sooners’ camp in June when Austin’s name really started to pop out more. Austin was only there for the morning session of day two of the camp, but that’s all that was necessary.
Before Austin departed, he said OU assistant coach Josh Heupel told Austin to never commit to any program without checking in with OU first.
Austin thought a throng of offers would come his way in the fall. Nothing materialized. He admits he was discouraged, but it all meant nothing once Stoops came back into the conversation.
“He was talking about making me an offer,” Austin said. “He called me a few days later and then popped back up at the school the next week. Mike Stoops saved the day.”
Austin is listed at 149 pounds, but he said he is 167 right now. His size turned off some schools, but the OU coaches are believing what they saw in the summer and what they saw on film during his senior season.
Eventually an official visit was set up for the weekend before national signing day. There was no weighing options. Austin knew before the visit if OU made the offer, it was done. He would be a Sooner.
Saturday morning of his visit, yep, he became a Sooner in one of the fastest commitments possible. Austin flew into Norman, Okla., on Friday night, but his father didn’t arrive until Saturday morning.
Austin and his father were being shown around the campus by Stoops. They went back to his office and went over some schemes and then brought him to OU coach Bob Stoops’ office.
Bob Stoops said he wanted to offer Austin. Before Stoops could finish his short little speech, Austin already had his hand out to shake it and confirm his commitment.
“I felt immortal in that moment,” Austin said. “It’s a true blessing.”
It was fitting Austin’s host for the weekend was Zack Sanchez. Last year it was Sanchez who made his commitment to OU following an official visit to campus on the last weekend before signing day.
Austin said he was able to relate to Sanchez about that experience. How it didn’t matter that he didn’t visit OU until the last minute because the last year had proven to him he made the right decision.
Austin is excited to feel the same way and signed last week with no hesitation.
He feels he was overlooked. Bypassed because of measurables and not because of his quality of play. He was discouraged. He’s not anymore. He’s not bitter. He’s focused. He’s ready.
“I didn’t know if I could sleep the night before signing day,” Austin said. “I just want to get out there so bad and show everybody what’s up. You doubt me? That’s fine, you’re entitled to your opinion. But watch the film and watch me on Saturdays. You’ll know.”