Many of you know that Jacob Phillips (the 5-star linebacker and 2017 OU commit) will be taking a trip to LSU this weekend. Although he's formally announced his intentions to become a Sooner, recruiting is a crazy process that most people can't understand. He's got coaches from all over trying to sell him, family members and friends likely chime in with their thoughts, and of course he has his own thoughts on what might be best for his future.
Normally, I'd stay out of these situations, but I think I can add some good perspective to the discussion here (after all, I graduated from OU, and I've been to Louisiana). So, while I have the good sense not to Tweet at recruits, I will assist Jacob here with a letter.
Dear Mr. Phillips:
I hope you are doing well, and I hope you enjoy the last few weeks of the recruitment process. If what I hear about that process is true, you're probably getting information from a lot of different sources. While you have not yet actually asked for me to help sort any of that information out, I'm a Sooner, and we're historically very proactive . So I'm here to offer some friendly thoughts on why you might prefer to spend the next few years donning Crimson and Cream in Norman.
LSU is no slouch historically. They've got three national titles, and if you believe Wikipedia, they also have the 18th highest winning percentage in NCAA history. That's really good.
But LSU is no match for Oklahoma. Oklahoma is No. 5 on that same list (Michigan is No. 1, but they boast wins against teams like Kenyon, Western Reserve, Case, and Michigan State Normal [whatever those are]). Throughout history, Oklahoma has been pretty darn consistent:
But that's not Oklahoma's only historic claim to fame. In what is often considered the "modern era" (post WWII), Oklahoma has more wins than any other school. If you look closely, you'll see that spots 2-5 are separated by only one win each, while OU is 45 wins ahead of No. 2 Ohio State. That's a lot of wins. Oklahoma also has seven national titles, 46 conference titles, and 158 first-team All-Americans. OU's 32 unanimous All-Americans are the most in the nation. That may seem like a lot of information to remember, but not to fret: you'd be reminded of all these things every single time the OU intro video is played before a home game. Every time. Oklahoma is very helpful in that way.
Oklahoma isn’t just historically better than LSU; it’s also better lately than LSU. In the last ten years, Oklahoma has won its conference six times, and they finished with 10 or more wins in eight of those 10 years. Down in Baton Rouge? They’ve got two conference championships in as many years, and only five seasons with double-digit wins.
And if you want to go to the playoffs? Sure, the Big 12 has been left out of the party two of the three CFB Playoff seasons, but the year the conference made it, OU was the representative. Even with the nose of a tiger, LSU hasn’t come close to sniffing the playoffs. Instead, they fired their head coach.
Speaking of head coaches, Bob Stoops has been at the helm of his program longer than any coach in football. There’s no guarantee he’ll be there forever, but you know you’re getting a good, stable program in Norman. Stoops is frequently voted "Coach I'd like my son to play for" by the other college coaches around the country, and he's a good role model who stands by his guys.
Play with Baker Mayfield
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Baker Mayfield is the quarterback at Oklahoma. It’s a big selling point for wide receivers that they could be catching passes next year from the most accurate passer in all of college football.
Of course, you’ll be playing defense wherever you end up. Fear not, though, because you can still have the opportunity to play alongside Mayfield—as long as you like video games. You see, this decision is not about football alone. This is also where you'll attend college for the next few years. If you don't spend some time improving your video game skills in college, then you're not doing it right. Come learn from the best.
Some people think that it's best to go play in the SEC. ESPN desperately wants you to think it's the best conference, and it's probably a big talking point among SEC schools. But let's have some real talk here. LSU hasn't finished higher than 3rd in its conference since 2011 (for what it's worth, Oklahoma has won its conference three times since then).
If you want to actually beat SEC teams, Oklahoma is the place for you. I'll just leave this here:
In case Orgeron doesn't mention this during your visit, LSU has lost to Alabama six straight times.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma is 4-0 in its last 4 games against SEC teams. That includes Sugar Bowl wins against Alabama and Auburn, plus two straight victories against Tennessee. We don't always play SEC teams, but when we do, we prefer to win.
Early playing time
There's a good chance Devin White will be the starting ILB for LSU last year, and he made some solid plays as a Freshman. Oklahoma is a talented team, and you'd be playing with a good unit, but ILB is a position that's yours for the taking as early as next year. Their last ILB just graduated, so now there's some holes to fill. Come to Norman, win the spot, and play alongside Caleb Kelly and Obo next year.
Oklahoma loves their big recruits, and they do well by them. Kelly was a freshman last year, and he ended the season as a starter and got the chance to make a big name for himself by playing well in the Sugar Bowl. If you want the chance to play early and excel on the biggest stage, Oklahoma's where you need to be.
Life in Oklahoma
Again, this choice will determine where you'll live for the next few years, not just where you'll suit up. So here are some things to know about life in or around Norman:
- Oklahoma is home to the world's second largest McDonald's.
- Chuck Norris was born in Oklahoma.
- The OKC Thunder play just up the road from Norman, so you'd get a chance to watch triple-double machine Russell Westbrook often.
- Oklahoma City has gone through a massive re-build, and now boasts a great river walk.
- Oklahoma is home to Winstar, the world's largest casino.
- The Mexican food in Oklahoma is better than anything from your home state or the offering in Louisiana.
In conclusion, there's a lot to consider when you make your decision. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we will respect your decision no matter what, but if you want to become part of a historic program that actually has the ability to win now, and if you want to enjoy all the other wondrous things Oklahoma has to offer, there's only one right choice.
Looking forward to seeing you in Crimson,