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August 11, 2014
Wariboko Serious About the Sooners Again?
Just a few weeks ago it seemed that Oklahoma City Casady Rivals100 offensive lineman Josh Wariboko and Oklahoma were all but headed their separate ways. That reality was no small thing to the nation's No. 3 offensive guard, one-time Sooner commitment, and the son of a pair of Oklahoma alumni, but he simply seemed focused elsewhere.
It is a reality that Wariboko himself isn't all that insistent on denying. However, he is pretty clear about what brought him back to Norman recently.
"It was coach [Jerry] Montgomery. He has been talking to me and wants me to come back on campus and reassured me the direction that the program was going," Wariboko explained. "Coach Montgomery is probably the best recruiter they have on staff. Once I did decommitt coach [Bill] Bedenbaugh was still talking to me and staying in touch.
"I talked to my parents and wanted to talk to Oklahoma and see what had changed if anything."
Coming off one of the biggest bowl wins of the Bob Stoops era, stadium development, recruiting momentum and several other items Wariboko's comments of the 'direction of the program' might catch some off guard.
The reality is, the exact things Oklahoma has announced in recent months are the things that Wariboko was looking for.
"Just the stadium renovations, new jerseys, taking care of their players. Doing a good job of recruiting better and getting more guys on campus - they are doing better and that caught my attention," he said.
His recent trip to Norman was highlighted by an opportunity to do something he had not before.
"I talked to a few of the offensive lineman, sat in meetings and stuff like that. It's a real good place and they have a real work like environment. They get in there and win a bunch of big games," he said.
In those meetings he was around Bedenbaugh who, in spite of his growing bond with Montgomery, has stayed in contact with the state of Oklahoma's No. 1 prospect.
"He has stayed in touch. I've been giving him a phone call, with coach Montgomery, he is just another guy for me to talk to. Once I decommitted (Bedenbaugh) still talked to me and I saw a lot more communications, especially in the last few weeks," he said.
So with all of this said, are the Sooners now back in the race?
"I'm definitely considering them strongly again, same with Oklahoma State as well. I wouldn't count out any of the in-state schools. Still trying to take some more visits and find out what is out there," he said.
Speaking of the Cowboys Wariboko made a trip to Stillwater recently as well along with fellow Oklahoma City standout John Kolar.
"That went great as well. I went with John Kolar to watch practice, got to hang around the players, sit in the meetings and talk to coach [Bob] Connelly, I felt really welcome there," Wariboko said.
At least part of the hang-up for both in-state schools has been Wariboko's previously strong stance of playing with his brother, Max Wariboko. And while Oklahoma told the elder Wariboko brother that his younger sibling would be closely evaluated this fall it seems to be a stance that has morphed somewhat since his original decommitment.
"I would say, I still definitely want to play with Max but I'm starting to see now that he is going through his recruitment he is going to be fine on his own. We are still trying to play together though," he said.
His parents are another huge aspect of his recruitment but Wariboko says they are simply aiding him in the accumulation of information as he learns more and more about various schools.
And so far Wariboko has two schools he is sure he will be visiting and many others he is considering.
"Right now, I have a planned official to UCLA, I know for sure I'm taking one to USC, and then I'm still working on a few others; Cal-Berkeley, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Texas A&M, Texas, Ohio State, all those schools that are still trying to get me on campus," he said.
"I just want to take my official if I'm truly interested, but if I'm able to take a visit to a place that is 2500 miles away, that would be great. It would be great to get there and see them."