IRVING, Texas — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops offered Aaron Colvin the same advice he gives all NFL-curious underclassmen: Maximize your earning potential.
“It was a positive speech,” said Colvin, a junior cornerback who soon must decide whether to make Friday's Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M his final college football game, or return for his senior season.
“I needed to hear it. I know it came from his heart. I feel like it was sincere. I definitely took it into consideration, everything he said.”
Money talks, and will certainly rank among the most important factors Colvin weighs into his decision. But the Sooner standout still dreams of becoming an All-American and winning the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back — goals he might accomplish during a potential senior season.
“Coach Stoops definitely opened that up to my eyes,” Colvin said. “That was a goal of mine, getting some awards like Jim Thorpe and All-American. That is on my bucket list.”
Colvin displayed flashes of his potential throughout the 2012 season, especially in its first half.
In Oklahoma's Oct. 6 win at Texas Tech, Colvin came on a corner blitz and made what he called his favorite play of the season. When Colvin was about four yards from Tech quarterback Seth Doege, he leapt just in time to snatch his first career interception.
Colvin struggled — as the rest of Oklahoma's defense did — in late-season shootouts with West Virginia and Oklahoma State. Mountaineers receiver Stedman Bailey caught 10 passes against Oklahoma for 205 yards and four touchdowns.
But even in that game, Colvin intercepted one pass, tipped an interception to Javon Harris, broke up three passes and made eight tackles.
The occasional lapses might stem from Colvin's preseason position change — the second of his OU career. He played cornerback as a freshman, but started at safety last season.
“I feel like I could have played corner last year, too, and I would have had a more rewarding year,” Colvin said, while adding the different experience was good for him.
“I've grown as a player each year and I'm starting to get more of a feel for the game. It's only my second year playing corner, so I'm starting to get comfortable.”
With another season at cornerback, he could potentially accomplish individual and team goals, while also vaulting himself into first-round draft pick territory — all points Stoops surely addressed during his heart-to-heart with Colvin.
Stoops relentlessly educates his players on the fiscal repercussions of skipping their senior seasons. He's undoubtedly had or will have similar conversations with safety Tony Jefferson, fullback Trey Millard and wide receiver Kenny Stills, all of whom are also contemplating the 2013 NFL Draft.
“Second-round money is not taking-care-of-mom money,” Stoops said, explaining the rationale behind his money talks with players. “You're young. By the time you pay the taxes, your agent, you get a house, get a car, then you got 50 years of your life to live, you're gonna go through that.”
Jefferson, the face of Oklahoma's defense and its most talked-about player, said Colvin was “tremendous” this season.
“Honestly, I don't know what our defense would be without him,” Jefferson said. “His senior year, he'd probably end up a top-15 pick. I know he's gonna show the leadership that he has.”