Luke Del Rio called Mike Gundy on Tuesday morning with the unfortunate news.
“He picked up and I pretty much told him what was going on, told him that I thought the best thing for me right now was to decommit,” Del Rio said. “I really don't like going back on my word. But I wasn't going to let that deter me from finding the perfect spot.”
For a long time, Del Rio thought Oklahoma State was that ideal spot. The Elite 11 three-star quarterback out of Valor Christian in Denver committed to the Cowboys in late May, remaining passionately pledged (and showing it on Twitter) throughout the following months.
Then came Monday night's news. Todd Monken, OSU's offensive coordinator and a family friend of the Del Rios, was leaving the Cowboys to become head coach at Southern Miss.
Luke's lead recruiter and strongest tie to Stillwater was gone. And with it went his commitment.
“(Gundy) reiterated how impressed he was and all that and how he still wanted me to go there and he was still going to recruit me,” Del Rio said. “He understood, but he was still going to try to make me a Cowboy. That's one of the main reasons I kept them in the running as this thing unfolds.”
An eventual career at OSU still seems unlikely for Del Rio, but the Cowboys still remain in his final five, a list that includes Oregon State (the favorite), Alabama, UCLA and Southern Miss (because of the Monken ties).
He will graduate high school this month and plans to enroll in college next semester, meaning the decision will likely come at some point soon.
“I'm not going to rush into it until I made up my mind,” Del Rio said. “I'm going to do everything I can to make up my mind, but if it's not made up, I won't rush into anything.”
After his commitment, things started to change in midseason for Del Rio.
On an almost weekly basis, the OSU quarterback carousel would spit out a new starting quarterback. One guy would go down, another would step up. And they all played well.
“That had an effect on (my decision making),” Del Rio said. “Wes (Lunt) and J.W. (Walsh) are both really good players, obviously a little different styles. And then Clint Chelf came in and played really well, as well. I don't know if they're all going to stay, but I'm not going to base my decision on that. I'm going to base it on who is there right now.”
Upon commitment, Del Rio figured he'd have to compete with an incumbent upon arrival in Stillwater. But he never thought there would be three, all with starting experience and a legitimate claim for the top spot.
Add in Arizona transfer Daxx Garman and do the math. There are a limited number of reps and practice opportunities for the quarterbacks, and Del Rio wouldn't be getting many. At least not during his first couple seasons.
As a coach's son (his father Jack is the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos), Del Rio intelligently takes those things into account.
So Del Rio reopened his recruitment last month, considering himself a soft verbal to OSU. The news of Monken's departure put him back on the open market.