There are a lot of unofficial rules in recruiting, but the majority of them pertain to the prospects themselves.
There are some with the coaches, too. A big one with assistants is to never expect massive results in someone’s initial year on the job. It makes sense, but it’s sometimes hard for fans to accept.
The new guy has to understandably play catch-up with recruits and their families when they hadn’t been recruiting them previously. He has to get a feel of the system he is recruiting for under the coordinator. It’s a more accurate statement to gauge an assistant coach by his second year’s crop of guys.
Well, unless you’re Jamar Cain.
“When I took this job here, somebody told me you have to recruit against the big boys,” said Cain in his introductory press conference at Oklahoma. “So? That doesn’t scare me. I’ve been recruiting against them my entire life. Now because I have an Oklahoma patch, it’s something different?
“I’m going to work my butt off every single day and prove people wrong. It fuels me. That fuels me every single day. Seriously guys, when I say I came from the mud.”
Strong words, but what about results? That’s exactly what Cain has delivered in his first months in Norman calling the shots at defensive end and outside linebacker.
There’s no question a huge reason to bring Cain in was because of his background in California. As OU has grown its reach on the east coast, it sort of coincided with the Cali Sooners movement dying down in recent classes.
Cain has seen a lot and been through more during his years at North Dakota State, Fresno State and most recently, Arizona State. He’s a heck of a lot more than just a regional specialist. And his initial two commitments show exactly what Cain is all about.
This just doesn’t happen. A first-year coach with west coast ties doesn’t come into the state of Texas and take a legitimate Rivals 250 prospect that was coveted by powers in the Lone Star State.
What a way to introduce yourself to the Big 12 and the rest of the recruiting world. And that goes with what Cain preached in his first press conference. He’s not going to back down. He didn’t at his previous stops. The OU patch might open the door for more top-tier kids, but then it’s up to Cain to do what he does best.
And with Smith checked off as a RUSH outside linebacker, he turned his attention toward the defensive line. His sweet spot.
“With defensive linemen, it’s tough to recruit them because obviously everybody wants them,” Cain said. “I love recruiting defensive linemen. I love recruiting, period. If there’s a kid out there that I feel like we have a shot, I’m going to full-go at them and go hard at them.”
Cain delivered again last week.
Ah, now this? This wasn’t as surprising. The shocking part had nothing to do with Cain landing a talent like Rawlins-Kibonge, but more about being able to pull that off without Rawlins-Kibonge having seen the campus yet.
Don’t let the three-star rating have you scratching your head because it has been crystal clear for a while that Rawlins-Kibonge was a Plan A priority for Cain. He was when Cain was at ASU and nothing changed at all when Cain made the trek to Norman.
The Stanford offer was supposed to wrap it all up for Rawlins-Kibonge, but Cain and the Sooners kept coming. The perceived lead for the Cardinal actually wasn’t genuine, and OU nabbed a big-time prospect out west once again.
It’s going too far to say the first year is a kiddie gloves season for assistants, but you can usually accept a miss or two or an elite target going elsewhere.
That won’t fly with Cain, apparently. He’s off to a great start on the trail and has OU fans only even more excited about what’s to come, both on the trail and on the field.