The only word four-star offensive tackle Matt Beyer (San Antonio/Reagan) could use to describe his experience was "surreal."
For Beyer, it has been a dream to see an Oklahoma home game in person, and that dream came true last weekend when the Sooners played Notre Dame.
It was an incredible night for Beyer even if the circumstances that led to it tested his mental toughness.
Beyer, who committed to the Sooners on July 2, has been forced to give up football because he was diagnosed with the spinal-cord condition cervical stenosis in early September. He said he was born with the condition, which, according to WebMD.com, causes the spinal canal to narrow and leads to the compression of nerve roots where they leave the spinal cord.
Had he continued playing, there was a chance for permanent quadriplegia down the line, he said doctors had told him.
But Beyer's condition was the furthest thing from his mind Saturday.
“I was so excited to be back on campus and to see my first game,” Beyer said. “It reaffirmed that I had made the right choice when I committed to OU. I don’t see why anybody would want to commit anywhere else after a day like that.”
Beyer was told in September that OU is not going to honor his scholarship offer. He said he has no hard feelings and had a great talk with OU offensive tackles coach Bruce Kittle once again.
“It was nice to say hello and to talk with him again,” Beyer said. “I consider him a great friend. I know there were a lot of tackles on campus and hopefully they can use my scholarship and get a great tackle with it.”
Beyer, who is 6-foot-6 and 275 pounds, was ranked No. 38 at offensive tackle and became a sought-after prospect in the spring. He visited OU in the winter for junior day but never got the chance to see a game-day environment.
Kittle told Beyer he would be welcome to come to a game, so the prospect and his family circled the Notre Dame weekend on the calendar. They drove up Saturday morning from San Antonio and arrived at about 4 p.m. CT in Norman, Okla., three hours before kickoff.
“I’ve gone to several games back when I was being recruited and nothing compares to Saturday,” Beyer said. “There were more than 86,000 people there. All I kept thinking is how much I want to still be out there. But I have to accept that I can’t.”
It was a minor blip on the weekend to Beyer that OU lost 30-13 to the Irish, as he stayed for the entire game and well after to soak in the experience.
If Saturday is the only OU game-day memory Beyer will have, he can live with that.
“I took so many pictures, and I literally have like 20 videos on my phone from the night,” Beyer said. “From the crowd chanting ‘Boomer Sooner’ to the official chant, it was a crazy, memorable night.”
Beyer is hopeful it won’t be his only night at OU. Even though he cannot play football, he is still hopeful he will be able to attend OU. He said there have been no talks about getting a medical hardship from OU, and he is fine with that.
Beyer said his top three college choices are OU, Texas A&M and Minnesota. He has applied to all three schools.
He is still adjusting to his role of helping coach the freshmen team for San Antonio Reagan. And he said Friday nights are getting tougher for him since it’s getting close to playoff time.
But he’s not trying to dwell on that. And if nothing else, he’s glad he got a chance to see the Sooners in person.
“I’m so thankful to the OU coaches for giving me that opportunity,” Beyer said. “I would love to be out there with the guys. I’m not mad. I understand. And like I always say, ‘Boomer Sooner, baby.’ It’s all about OU.”