Coming into the season it's unlikely many would have pointed to the Nov. 26 Iowa State game as a potentially pivotal recruiting weekend. However as the date approaches it seems the Sooner staff is trying to squeeze as many on-campus visitors as possible for the final home game of the season. One player who has just recently become a focus of Oklahoma's recruiting effort is Wilmington (Calif.) Los Angeles Harbor C.C. defensive end Austin Flynn.
The 6-foot-4, 255-pound prospect picked up an offer from the Sooners last week and says that Oklahoma's attention came as a complete surprise.
"It was out of the blue for sure, my athletic director called me and he never calls me, most of the time it's the coaches telling me who is recruiting me," Flynn said. "The AD called me and said I have a message on my machine from Oklahoma, so I said give me the number. Coach sent my number and I gave (defensive ends) coach (Bobby Jack) Wright a call and he said 'we heard about you and wanted to evaluate you' and asked to send a highlight film.
"He watched it to see what we liked. I sent it over there and called me back the same day and said they loved how I played and they wanted to officially offer me and I wasn't expecting that.
"I think I'm going to come visit on Nov. 25 - the Iowa State game. They wanted me to get down there for that game, so I could experience it and stuff like that. I don't know if it's set, but I think we both agreed on it. So we just need to get that set up completely."
With such a whirlwind relationship it's not hard to understand why Flynn might have a limited knowledge of the Sooners.
"I know about their program, I know it's a great program and they always have great seasons and are going to big bowls and are ranked very high in the BCS. But you know state-wise, I have no idea," he explained. "I know (Bob) Stoops is the coach over there and I've heard their coaching staff - all I've heard is good and I've never heard any bad things.
"I'm excited more than anything to get called by them."
Flynn is leading, or near it, in both sacks and tackles for loss in the California junior college ranks but even prior to his strong season Flynn had an offer from Arkansas. Regardless, he says attention was never a concern in his mind.
"I wasn't really worried about it, I wasn't thinking I wasn't going to get recruited, I had to do my job on the field, and get stats and get noticed, and show my ability to play," he said. "I talked to my coach about the big things, they don't tell you much about who is recruiting you - they just kind of let it happen. They'll say Oklahoma called, they just wait for them to call. Sometimes they won't say anything, just to keep your head right. They are pretty good on recruiting."
In today's game of college football it's not just the offenses that are varied and ever-changing. And due to that variety of defenses there is perhaps no position on a defense with more variation from campus to campus than at defensive end. Flynn says that regardless of role he could see himself working in multiple defensive sets.
"(Oklahoma) hasn't gotten that far with me yet, he was just trying to get to know me and where my family was and stuff like that," he explained. "The thing with them running that 4-3, 3-4, or 4-2-5, we run a multiple front. I'm used to standing up and doing different things, so that's fine.
"There is a difference from that standpoint but they expect a lot more from defensive ends, I kind of like that. I feel best outside the tackle, if you don't have a running quarterback that stays in the pocket you can get up field."
So far Flynn says Boise State, Ole Miss, Oregon State, Oregon, San Diego State, San Jose State, and South Florida have all expressed varying degrees of interest in him to date. With that in mind it would seem a reasonable possibility that Flynn will be getting away from Southern California.
"I don't think it's going to be a big problem for me, I'm grateful for the offers I get, I'm not really thinking about that type of mentality, I'm more excited about it than anything," he said.
"Getting out to see teams on visits that's been kind of the problem, all of our games are on Saturdays, our bye week was in the beginning of the season and so you know it's kind of hard - some of our players did take trips but I just haven't," he said. "I still have all five of my trips to see what's out there."
What often does play a role for junior college prospects is the ability to get on the field early. That considered few players have a greater sense of urgency than Flynn, who is a prospect who will get two years on the college campus of his choice regardless of playing time. And it's a certainty that Bobby Jack Wright will be selling him on the possibility that Ronnell Lewis could throw his name into the NFL draft hopper and join his counterpart, graduating senior Frank Alexander, on an NFL roster next season.
"I think it's a little bit of everything for a junior college guy, you're getting offered, and there are going to be great players already there. I mean you have to look at the depth charts and you don't want to go there and just be like 'aww man'," Flynn explained. "I've never been one of those guys that if 'this school offers me I'm going there' I'm kind of open. I don't really have a big-time favorite. I like all the schools that are looking at me - a big part of it is the community. If I get along well with the coaches, the depth chart seems good, those are some things I'll be looking at."