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January 10, 2012
Sooners Back in Colorado?
Alex Kozan.Much has been made of Oklahoma's new offers that have gone out since the completion of the Big 12 schedule on Dec. 3, but one position that hasn't seen a lot of action until the last two weeks is along the offensive line. Leading the charge among new Sooner offers is Castle Rock (Colo.) Valor Christian four-star offensive tackle
The 6-foot-4, 295-pound prospect recently took part in the U.S. Marines Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl but it's been his recruiting that had taken much of his focus recently. Oklahoma in particular has grabbed some of his attention after having little contact with the Sooners until lately.
"It's kind of brand new - really early in the process I talked to them a little bit but not very much. The other day I got a message from coach (Bruce) Kittle, who asked if I'd be interested in talking to him about Oklahoma," Kozan said.
"I told him I'd love to talk to him about Oklahoma, I kind of have my list narrowed but a school like Oklahoma, I'm very open to hearing about it.
"They offered me and they are looking at me as a tackle. Now, I'm trying to learn as much as I can about them."
So what is it he is trying to find out about the Sooners?
"Their academic situation, the depth chart, how they develop players, their FCA, their academics," he explained.
"So far, I'm still interested in checking it out and looking at everything."
While the Sooners have clearly gotten in the race later than his four current finalists, Auburn, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio State, he says that he left his fifth visit open in case a scenario like this opened up to him.
"You know, I'm just trying to pray about it, I left that fifth visit spot open in case I felt that there is a good opportunity. I might take a visit (to Oklahoma) and check it out, that's something I'm going to decide, I'm up in the air about it," he said.
"I had it down to four, I had it down to OSU, Michigan, Iowa, and Auburn, just looking and checking out Oklahoma now."
In fact, while in preparation for his Semper Fidelis performance in the Phoenix area he did have a chance to catch the Oklahoma game and says he was most interested to see how Oklahoma did things offensively and how he might fit into that plan.
"I'm definitely looking at that, looking at their offense and seeing what type of offense they are," he said.
"I think I'd fit in at any offensive system, I feel like I'm a great run blocker and think I'd fit into a pro-style offense really nicely. We run a spread offense most of the time so I can run a lot of stuff, more than anything I'd like to get to the NFL so finding a pro-style is ideal.
"If it's going to give me the better opportunity, I'm for it. I don't play too much into the style of offense."
What clearly will play a role is the relationship with his future position coach and though he has had great success at tight end, so far Kittle has landed just one offensive tackle in Oklahoma's first commitment, Kyle Marrs.
So could Oklahoma's newest assistant really find some common ground with Kozan?
"Oh yeah, he told me about his background, probably the most unique offensive line coach out there, he's been a lawyer, a corrections officer at a prison, a pastor, he wasn't coaching until recently. Kind of a crazy mix there to become an offensive line coach, and it's pretty cool to have a coach with that kind of background," Kozan discussed.
One thing that won't hurt Kittle is the time lost behind some other players.
"I think a lot of the (relationship building) you do on the phone, he gave me the number for the strength and conditioning coordinator (Jerry Schmidt), and he has worked," he said
"I don't think I will make a decision just because I don't feel like I'm ready to make a decision, all the schools I'm considering I really can't go wrong either way, but I really don't have a peace about it yet, and since I haven't decided - I'm open to Oklahoma.
"I think official visits are different because you get a feel for what daily life is like, you look at all your criteria and academics and all of that but it helps to get a good feel for it."
Through the years Oklahoma has signed Colorado natives like Phil Loadholt, Jon Cooper, and Zach Latimer among many others, but don't expect that to give the Sooners any kind of edge.
"I mean obviously it's a great program, and I know there haven't been too many Colorado guys recently at Oklahoma, there have been some offensive linemen in the past that I know have gone to Oklahoma but I didn't really follow them too closely."
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