In Oklahoma's ever-evolving defensive scheme few positions are more vital to what the Sooners are doing or more complex in the decision-making process than at outside linebacker and defensive end. One player who seems to have caught the Sooners eye in spite of little other FBS attention is Overland Park (Kan.) Blue Valley West standout Brett McMakin.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound prospect has heard from in-state programs Kansas and Kansas State but the Wildcats were his only true interest until the Sooners recently became involved.
Interestingly it's not the first contact between McMakin and the Sooners.
"There camp was one of the only camps I went to, their camp and Kansas State's, and those were the only two D-1 schools that were that interested. (Oklahoma) told me they were real interested," McMakin said.
"At camp I did linebacker, tight end, and defensive end, they were checking me out for all three. Oklahoma's interest faded for a while and then it picked up again, maybe they didn't get who they wanted or something didn't turn out," he said.
"They didn't talk about an offer much more but (Venables) said that if they had their regular amount of scholarships I'd have one.
"Recently (Venables) called me and told me that they were still interested and wanted to visit with me after break."
McMakin, who boasts a 3.4 GPA, has a lot of connections to the university outside of his building relationship with Oklahoma's long-time linebackers coach and defensive coordinator.
"Oklahoma was one that I grew up with, and grew up following, my whole family is from the state - both my older brothers graduated from Oklahoma," McMakin explained.
McMakin who says that he is currently leaning toward North Dakota State and Northern Iowa, isn't quite sure what has kept FBS programs from taking notice of hi but is hopeful that things will turn out with Oklahoma and get his recruiting moving in a different direction.
"I am surprised, but it's really how things are, and it's not like I don't have some options. I've talked to plenty of D-1AA coaches and they've all wondered where the bigger schools were at with me," he said.
"Coach Venables said after the break they wanted to get in touch. I'm definitely not getting my hopes up too high, I don't want to get too excited about it. He wants to come and meet my parents, but hasn't mentioned anything about an official visit."
The big defender had 80-tackles and 13-sacks on the year and though he could figure at a number of positions Oklahoma's 'Jack' linebacker, the position filled by Ronnell Lewis this year, seems to hold the most interest for him.
"I would say linebacker, I feel way more comfortable there than anywhere else - I've never really given a chance to play it in an actual season but those are the two camps that I went to and went as a linebacker and they were surprised with how well I did," he said. "At Oklahoma, I like that idea of coming off the edge."