When Oklahoma put its 2014 football recruiting class to bed they did so with names from all over the country. Recruiting the state of Oklahoma and getting players from Texas is considered a given but the list also included players from Louisiana, Georgia, Ohio, Arizona, New Jersey, Alabama and California.
To some this is a new trend. They will point out that Oklahoma's recent California trio of receiver Kenny Stills, running back Brennan Clay and safety Tony Jefferson has opened the doors to the west coast. The 2014 class has five players from California. But if you know your OU history you would know Oklahoma has always had the attitude they will go anywhere to find players.
Names like Jamelle Holieway, a National Champion quarterback in 1985, was from Los Angeles. Stanley Wilson, a fullback in the early 80's was from the city of angels as well not mention San Francisco native Steve Sewell who like Wilson was a running back who played in the NFL. That just scratches the surface of Californians that played under former Sooner head coach Barry Switzer, who laid a foundation of recruiting out west that still stands today.
"I walk into places and they tell stories of coach Switzer a lot," says OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell. "That helps us. I've had middle aged school administrators tell stories from when they were teenagers and coach Switzer came to their campus and they still remember it."
Like Barry Switzer before Norvell and the current Sooner staff knows that Sooner Nation can not live on just home grown talent.
"When that great player isn't here in Oklahoma or in Texas we need to go find him elsewhere."
Norvell says the success luring players from out west can be credited to the importance of football in this part of the country.
"in California there is just the Pac 12(Conference) and the Pac 12 does not have the fan base. It does not have the excitement around their programs... the packed stadiums just the fervor that our conference does."