Wednesday, July 10, 2013
2015 OL Wariboko ready to represent OU
By Bob Przybylo
In the fifth round of the all-time Oklahoma Sooners team draft earlier this week, OU legend Joe Washington selected offensive guard Greg Roberts.
Roberts, who starred for the Sooners from 1975-78, was the first guard chosen. If SoonerNation were to conduct this draft again in 20 years, would Oklahoma City Casady’s Josh Wariboko be a player to consider?
While it's way too early to determine that, the Class of 2015 lineman has come out of virtually nowhere in the last few months to become a household name for Sooners fans to know.
After a whirlwind spring and early summer, guard Joshua Wariboko became the first commitment to OU's Class of 2015.
“We always knew Josh had the potential to be something special,” said Oklahoma City Casady coach Koby Scoville. “After this season, things really started to change. A lot of schools started inquiring about him. Things happened fast.”
One of those schools was OU. Wariboko, who is 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, made two visits to campus in April and stayed the first two days at OU’s camp in June.
An offer immediately followed, and it became clear Wariboko was about to break out. An impressive outing at Texas’ camp only highlighted his talents more.
Wariboko has always been an Oklahoma kid, though. It’s not shocking, as all in-state recruits hear about OU and Oklahoma State. It hasn’t hurt the Sooners that his parents are OU alums.
But when he made yet another unofficial visit to campus two weeks ago, committing wasn’t on his mind. It just sort of evolved that way.
“I saw the things I needed to see, and they were better than expected,” Wariboko said. “The academic questions were being answered before I even had a chance to ask them.”
So while OU is knee-deep in trying to secure its 2014 group, Wariboko pulled the trigger and became the first commit for the Class of 2015.
What ensued was pure chaos. Wariboko never saw it coming.
“It was hectic,” Wariboko said. “By the time I got to my car, my phone was already vibrating. It was crazy. Calls, text messages from writers, friends, TV stations. That’s the most my phone has rung or vibrated ever.”
He became a name to watch following solid showings at spring camps. The OU camp was an example of something his coach said personifies Wariboko perfectly.
“When it’s a tough situation, he finds a way to succeed,” Scoville said. “He doesn’t back down from any challenges.”
Wariboko is squarely focused on his junior season for Oklahoma City Casady. But the biggest change he is noticing now is it’s not just about high school anymore.
When Wariboko is out in public, he’s not just representing himself. He has realizing he is representing OU in everything he does.
His commitment is huge for OU, because recent trend hasn’t been for the Sooners to nab underclassmen commits.
Schools like Texas are not hurting for early commits. The Longhorns already have seven pledges for 2015, but it’s simply not as common with OU.
The OU coaches don’t press for early commitments, which only illustrates more how excited Wariboko is to become a part of the OU family.
He also knows he’s a long way from being exactly where he needs to be.
“I’m getting better every day,” Wariboko said. “My upper body strength is better than it has ever been before. I understand the game a lot more, and I’m developing that chemistry with my teammates. Not just the linemen; I want to be a leader for the whole team.”
Wariboko also has offers from Clemson and Oregon State, but the relationship he has built with OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh is one reason he committed. It’s a relationship that only gets better, he said.