Thursday, July 18, 2013
OU recruits look forward to facing Texas
By Brandon Chatmon
Make no mistake, Oklahoma recruits are looking forward to playing Texas. The Sooners’ rivalry with the Longhorns brings anticipation and excitement to the minds of several OU commitments.
Yet it has very little to do with their feelings about their burnt orange brethren in Austin.
“The rivalry is a great rivalry,” said Marcus Green (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill), the Sooners’ three-star defensive back commit. “They play it down here at the Cotton Bowl. I went to see it and it’s great, the atmosphere, you can tell its a big rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas.
ESPN 300 quarterback Justice Hansen hopes OU's win streak continues when he takes the reins of OU's offense.
“How passionate the players and fans are, it’s a great, great atmosphere. You can’t beat it, it’s college football at its best.”
Green and ESPN 300 quarterback commit Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) have seen the rivalry up close. Hansen’s enjoyed the experience of watching OU hammer UT in blow out wins in 2011 and 2012 as much as any Sooners fan and hopes to take part in continuing OU’s winning ways at the Cotton Bowl.
“The last two years have been great,” Hansen said. “I've gone the last two years, and it has been a lot of fun. Two big wins. I'm hoping it can stay that way for at least another five years."
But when the conversation turns to actual dislike of the Longhorns, Sooners’ commits become indifferent.
“I don’t really have much to say about them,” Green said. “I’m just ready to play them and show them how it's done in Oklahoma.”
Gulfport (Miss.) Harrison Central cornerback Tito Windham doesn’t harbor any hatred for UT either.
“I’m going to ride with Oklahoma, that’s my team,” Windham said. “Texas is a good program but I’m all Oklahoma Sooner til I die.”
In fact, Windham didn’t even know the Sooners and Longhorns were heated rivals. Much like recent national recruits such as senior running back Brennan Clay and departed receiver Kenny Stills, who didn’t realize how heated the Red River Rivalry was until they arrived in Norman, Windham will get an education about the rivalry when he becomes a Sooner.
“To be honest I didn’t even know they had a rivalry because all I used to watch was SEC games,” Windham said. “I didn’t even know it was a rivalry, I thought it was like a in-state rivalry like with Oklahoma State.”
Told it was a spirited rivalry in the mold of the annual SEC battle between Georgia-Florida in Jacksonville, Fla., Windham’s interest was immediately piqued.
“Oh, I can’t wait to play in that game,” he said.
That’s the general consensus from Sooners’ recruits except one. OU legacy Tay Evans (Allen,Texas/Allen), whose father played basketball at OU, clearly has had an loathing of the Longhorns instilled in him.
“You bet. It's Boomer Sooner all the way," Evans said.
Evans and Green are in unique situations as Texas prep stars committed to the Sooners in what could be considered enemy territory. Neither player boasts an offer from UT, but they still get asked about their choice of the Sooners over the Longhorns.
“A lot of people ask why I didn’t go to Texas since I live in Texas but it’s not for me,” Green said. “It just shows how passionate they are about it and how much the rivalry means to them.”
Additionally, plenty of OU alumni in Texas and the Sooners’ recent success against the Longhorns helps Evans handle any burnt orange bullies.
“It's not that bad,” Evans said. “There are a lot of OU fans around this area. It has also been a lot easier the last few years because of the way OU has handled its business against them. No Texas fans are saying anything right now."
As heated as the rivalry will become when they put on crimson and cream, Sooners’ commits care more about the chance to play in one of the nation’s storied rivalries more than anything else.
“I’m ready to see how it feels to come out [at the Cotton Bowl],” Green said. “It’s a big rivalry with a lot of people, so [I'm looking forward] to come out and play in it and see what the adrenaline rush will be [like]. Everybody everywhere talks about OU and Texas, it’s the biggest rivalry.”
Staff writer Bob Przybylo contributed to this story.