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Gary Simon announcing on signing day

1/29/2012

Cornerback Gary Simon (St. Petersburg, Fla./Gibbs) knew the first month of 2012 was going to be crazy, but he had no idea just how busy.

Simon knew he would be visiting Iowa State and Arkansas, but a couple of weeks ago everything got thrown for a loop when Oklahoma entered the chase for his signature.

OU coach Bob Stoops and defensive backs coach Mike Stoops had an in-home visit with Simon two weeks ago that got the ball rolling for the Sooners and the three-star prospect.

Simon already was scheduled to take an official visit to Arkansas last weekend, but instead of flying back to St. Petersburg, he doubled up and went straight to OU from Fayetteville, Ark., last Sunday.

“It wasn’t the perfect situation, but I felt it was the best thing to do," said Simon, who flew back to Florida after his trip to Norman, Okla., on Tuesday. "I was a little tired after everything, but it worked out.

One of the more interesting parts of his trip was that Bob Stoops wasn’t around for most of the visit, having to take care of other recruiting visits across the country.

The free time did allow Simon a chance to hang out with his host, sophomore Tony Jefferson.

“It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed hanging out with the players,” Simon said. “Tony, we were just joking around the whole time. He was real cool.”

Though Bob Stoops wasn’t around for much of the trip, Mike Stoops made sure to give Simon a lot of his attention.

Simon, 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, was already among OU’s top targets at cornerback. Once Kevin Peterson (Wagoner, Okla./Wagoner) de-committed from the Sooners on Monday night, however, Simon became that much more valuable.

“They see me at cornerback and being one of those shut down corners,” Simon said. “Basically, I’m going to shut down one half of the field.”

Simon didn’t grow up an OU fan and said the Sooners' interest came as a surprise to him. He has always been an LSU fan. After Simon returned from his OU visit, the Tigers tried to make a late run at him, but it was too late.

Simon had another in-home visit with the Stoops brothers on Thursday, which he said was a very positive experience.

“I’m getting closer to both of them the more I’m around them,” Simon said. “I really like both of them, and I’m starting to learn more and more about what my role would be.”

Simon said the family atmosphere at Arkansas was a plus, and heading into the final days before signing day there are no in-home visits scheduled by either the Razorbacks or Iowa State.

Simon said earlier in the week he wanted to discuss the situation with his parents Wednesday and have a decision. That hasn’t happened yet.

“No, we were able to talk for a little bit but not like we’re going to need to here shortly,” Simon said. “Nothing has been decided yet.”

Simon is set to announce on Feb. 1 between the three schools.