TULSA — The story goes that Oklahoma wanted Bethany quarterback and free safety Chris Chamberlain to be a recruited walk-on.
It was 2003, and Chamberlain had just been named The Oklahoman's
Little All-City Offensive Player of the Year after leading Bethany to the Class 2A state title.
"I never spoke with them personally,” Chamberlain said. "I came from a small school, a 2A school, so a lot of times we get overlooked. But I was fortunate enough to come here and everything's worked out well for me.”
The story goes that an OU coach became interested in Chamberlain after watching a Bethany game tape — and after the Sooners had awarded all of their scholarships.
"They never really ended up talking to me,” Chamberlain said. "Tulsa obviously offered, and it was a great fit, as far as location and where my home was. I thought it was a great opportunity for me, academically and athletically. That's why I came to Tulsa.”
The OU-Chamberlain story is of interest this week because TU will host the Sooners on Friday night at H.A. Chapman Stadium.
"Obviously, I don't have any hard feelings or anything against those guys,” Chamberlain said. "I know a bunch of those guys from high school. It's just a great opportunity to go out and play against the best and see what we can do.”
Chamberlain has done plenty in his three years as a starter and four years as a letterman at Tulsa. He has started 28 games. Chamberlain, Nelson Coleman and Alain Karatepeyan make up one of the top linebacking trios in college football.
"They know more than we know sometimes about what we're doing (on defense),” TU coach Todd Graham said. "We've learned so much from them.”
Graham and Chamberlain have worked together like hand and glove. Graham was TU's defensive coordinator in Chamberlain's first two seasons, then head coach at Rice last year. He returned to Tulsa this year after Steve Kragthorpe went to Louisville.
"You could definitely tell coach Graham wasn't (here) last year,” Chamberlain said. "His enthusiasm and energy is so electric.