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Tuesday, May 15, 2012
2014 OT Braden Smith taking his time

By Brandon Chatmon

He hasn’t even completed his sophomore year of high school, but Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South) is already a highly sought-after offensive tackle recruit. At 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, Smith has room to grow but has already shown enough to earn early offers from Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio State, Stanford, Nebraska and others.

“He’s the best player I’ve ever seen as an offensive or defensive linemen,” Olathe South coach Jeff Gourley said. “I’ve coached for 27 years, I’ve never seen anybody like him, even on the ESPN high school game of the week ... Florida, Texas, there’s nobody in the country like him.”

The Sooners recognized the talent of the class of 2014 prospect early in the process.

“They were the first school to come by,” Gourley said. “They dropped by and invited him to attend their junior day. He went down and Bob Stoops offered him right in the office when he had some juniors waiting outside.

“They gave him a little special love, offered him on the spot.”

Even though he received that special love, don’t expect a decision anytime soon from Smith, who is being recruited by OU offensive tackles coach Bruce Kittle. He has two years left at Olathe South and will likely take his time and be thorough during the recruiting process.

“Braden doesn’t get real excited about anything,” Gourley said. “He’s very humble, very level headed. He’s grounded and his parents are extremely active in his life.”

According to Gourley, Smith is focused on the shot put and discus while participating in track this spring and won’t turn his attention toward the recruiting process until later this summer.