Tales from the trail: Bubba Burcham remembers calls and letters, but no offer

BY SCOTT WRIGHT, Staff Writer, swright@opubco.com Modified: January 26, 2011 at 8:10 pm •  Published: January 26, 2011
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Recruiting visits were quite different for Bubba Burcham.

The process started out normal enough, with Junior Day trips to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, just like lots of other projected blue-chip recruits.

The letters were coming in from multiple colleges, as well as some phone calls from time to time.

But the scholarship offers never arrived.

So in the winter of his senior year, when other top recruits were making official visits, Burcham was scheduling his own trips to college campuses.

One day, he drove from his Mustang home to Stillwater simply to drop off a tape of his game highlights. Another time, he showed up at an OU basketball game in the Lloyd Noble Center.

“I was just hoping to see someone I knew, maybe one of the recruiting guys I knew,” said Burcham, now the head football coach at Coweta High School. “I was just trying to be there and be seen.”

At 6-foot-2 and 260 pounds, Burcham was good enough to get recruiters' attention, but not big enough to land the offers.

Ultimately, Signing Day arrived, but Burcham had no school to sign with — and it wasn't easy to accept.

“It's like eating a big ol' piece of humble pie. You're getting letters and your friends at school think you're this and that. Then it's Signing Day, and you're not signing,” said Burcham, who eventually walked on and later earned a scholarship at Oklahoma.

“On one hand it's kind of embarrassing, but on the other hand, you have to believe God has a different plan for you. Knowing what I know now, God definitely had a plan for me to be at Oklahoma and go through the experience of being a walk-on.”