Rivalry recruits who got away from Texas

July, 11, 2012
7/11/12
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The Red River Rivalry has given college football fans numerous memories, both magical and nauseating regardless of which side of the river your allegiances lay.

The root of those memories comes from the recruits that are often courted by both schools. Here is a look at three of those players that chose Oklahoma that Texas would have loved to of had on its side:

Running back Marcus Dupree, Philadelphia, Miss./Philadelphia, Class of 1982
Ask a Longhorns fan how they believe Dupree’s career would have played out had he chose them instead of the Barry Switzer-led Sooners, and they’ll likely tell you he wouldn’t have been the subject of an ESPN '30 for 30' documentary entitled,“The Best That Never Was.”

[+] EnlargeAdrian Peterson
AP Photo/Ty RussellAfter leaving the Lone Star State for the Sooners, Adrian Peterson ran for 225 yards in his first appearance against Texas.
Long before the Robert Nkemdiche and Jadeveon Clowney, Dupree was a phenomenon. His combination of size, speed and agility helped him score 87 touchdowns in high school to break the national mark set by Herschel Walker.

Every college in the country wanted him, but Oklahoma and Texas always stood out to him. The two bitter rivals were locked in such a battle that they each had assistants take up residence in Philadelphia for the last month before signing day.

Dupree ultimately chose Oklahoma and scored his first college touchdown on a 63-yard run against the Longhorns. He ended his freshman season with 1,144 yards and 13 touchdowns despite not starting until the seventh game, and was named a second team All-American.

However, he suffered a concussion against Texas in the fifth game of his sophomore season and eventually transferred to Southern Miss. When told he would have to sit out a year, Dupree left after only three months before trying his hand in the USFL and eventually the NFL, where he finished his two-year career with 251 yards rushing and one touchdown.

Running back Adrian Peterson, Palestine, Texas/Palestine, Class of 2004
There was a time when the thought of Peterson joining Vince Young in Texas’ backfield was more than just an imaginative plot played out in the dreams of Longhorns fans.

Texas was considered a serious player for the freakish athlete who, despite often only playing in the first half of games, rushed for 2,960 yards and 32 touchdowns as a senior at Palestine. Peterson wanted to go to a school where he could be a difference-maker in a national championship run, and thought his best chance for that would be with Oklahoma.

While he never accomplished that goal, as Texas did in 2005, Peterson put up numbers in Norman that would have looked just as good in Austin.

He had one of the greatest freshman campaigns of all-time in 2004 when he rushed for 1,925 yards and 15 touchdowns, including a 34-carry, 225-yard day in his lone victory against the Longhorns. He concluded that season by being named the first freshman finalist for the Doak Walker Award and was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

A high ankle sprain (2005) and a broken collarbone (2006) kept Peterson from matching his first year’s production, but he was still named a first-team All-Big 12 performer in each of those seasons. He’s now an All-Pro running back for the Minnesota Vikings.

Defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland, Lufkin, Texas/Lufkin, Class of 2009
His production has yet to match the hype of his recruitment, but from a pride standpoint alone, McFarland will always be a player Texas would have loved have kept away from OU.

For most of his recruitment it appeared that the Longhorns would be able to do exactly that. But the persistence of Oklahoma assistant Jackie Shipp not only won over McFarland but, maybe more importantly, his mother Kashemeyia Adams.

The 6-foot-2, 286-pounder, widely considered one of the nation’s top defenders, took official visits to Texas, Oklahoma, LSU and USC before finally choosing the Sooners.

McFarland has put up average numbers thus far, totaling 51 tackles, including 11 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He should have a chance to greatly improve those numbers this season after starting in seven games in 2011.

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