The University of Oklahoma invited Oologah senior offensive lineman Sam Noble to be a preferred walk-on, but the 6-5, 275-pounder wanted a scholarship.
“It's a great honor that they asked me to do it, but I can't really turn down some scholarship, not knowing whether I would play or not at OU,” Noble said.
Noble, who was selected as an offensive lineman on The Oklahoman's 2012 All-State football team, turned down a scholarship offer from Lousiana-Monroe because he wanted to stay close to home.
On Thursday, he gave a verbal commitment to play for the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
“I had been in contact with them since the summer,” Noble said. “They've really just been on me pretty hard. I have been up to the campus a few times and I love it.
“They gave me a very good offer. It's not a full ride but it's pretty close. I couldn't ask for anything more. I am ready to be up there right now playing.”
On the offensive line, Noble had 47 “pancakes” this season for Oologah. He recorded 50 tackles and five sacks on the defensive side of the ball.
“He is a mauler. He stays after it,” Oologah coach Brandon Craig said. “He can go one-on-one matchups all night long. He has great footwork and runs a decent 40 time.
“He is a kid that can move well and he can move laterally really well. He can move side to side great.”
Noble also is a wrestler. Craig thinks that has helped him learn to use his hands to stay balanced and gain leverage on opposing linemen.
“The things he can do with his hands to manipulate the defense is key,” Craig said.
Noble is going to skip wrestling his senior season and stay in the weight room to prepare for college football.
“If I could play football every day of my life I would,” Noble said. “That's what's going to get me through college.”
Noble said he was surprised by the All-State selection.
“It's a great honor to be named with a lot of these guys,” he said.