One year ago today, Bob Stoops was the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners, Baker Mayfield was doing damage control after a run-in with the Fayetteville PD and David Boren was the always-and-forever president of the university.
On a personal note, I was writing frequently for Crimson & Cream Machine while living in Brownwood, Texas, an experience I chronicled here. Things have changed a lot since I moved to Salt Lake City earlier this year, but they've changed even more for the OU football program.
On April 26, 2017, I published an article about Sooners recruiting called "Is It Time to Hit the Panic Button?" You may recall, dear readers, that April 2017 was not kind to the Oklahoma staff, with numerous nasty surprises and disappointing decisions that left the '17 class bruised and battered. Some of my greatest hits from that article include lines like these:
"Today Putnam City (OKC) defensive end Ron Tatum committed to Texas over Oklahoma, where absolutely everybody ... thought he was going until the last minute. At a moment where Sooner Nation desperately needed some good news, Tatum's decision has merely punctuated one of the worst months in the history of Sooners recruiting."
"[Arjei] Henderson and [Theo] Wease, to be candid, never should have committed in the first place."
"It would take a lot for Oklahoma to pull a top-10 class in 2018."
Yeah. We all know how those things turned out.
To be fair, my article was sprinkled with optimism and ended with an assurance that the OU staff would still "give us a class to be proud of." Had I known, of course, that Mr. Emoji Eyes would soon take the helm of the Oklahoma program, the article would have been more optimistic still.
But no one could have predicted the whirlwind last 12 months that have left OU football, and especially OU recruiting, in such pristine shape.
Sure, Mayfield's last hurrah ended in heartbreak. It will be impossible to replace one of the best players to ever don the Crimson & Cream. But darned if Lincoln Riley and his staff aren't trying. With the recommitments of Wease and Henderson -- two of the top WR recruits in the country -- Oklahoma is laying the foundation for years of conference dominance and perennial title contention. Its 2019 class isn't likely to stay at No. 1, but at this rate the Sooners could be hauling in top-five units for years.
As for Tom Herman, the man I feared so publicly in the year-old article? He pulled in a great class in 2018, but his 2019 class currently sits at No. 24 on the Rivals list. OU happens to be No. 1 on the same list. Again, A LOT can change. Recruiting is a fickle beast.
If anything, the "Panic Button" post should be a reminder to us all to never get too low — or too high. After all, who knows what the next year holds for Oklahoma football?
Kyler Murray could be an MLB first-round draft pick and skip town for baseball. Mike Stoops' defense could Stoops all over the place. A talking armadillo might convince Spencer Rattler it's his destiny to save Arizona football. I dunno, guys. It's hard to predict these things.
But one thing we do know is that it was most definitely not time to hit the panic button.
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