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Norvell used Cam Newton’s example to keep Metoyer motivated through time at Hargrave

by Jason Kersey Published: August 7, 2012
OU freshman receiver Trey Metoyer in his Hargrave Military Academy cadet uniform. PHOTO PROVIDED
OU freshman receiver Trey Metoyer in his Hargrave Military Academy cadet uniform. PHOTO PROVIDED
NORMAN — I wrote for Sunday’s Oklahoman about freshman wideout Trey Metoyer’s journey from 5-star recruit, to OU commit, to Hargrave Military Academy and finally to Norman last January after a tough four-month stay at the Chatham, Va., boarding school.

There was so much to this story that lots of interesting aspects of it didn’t make the final cut for the newspaper. Yesterday, I blogged about co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell’s desire to see more kids take the route Metoyer did because of how valuable it can be.

Here, Norvell talks about one of the big examples he used when encouraging Metoyer to keep his eye on the prize.

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Metoyer admitted being bitterly disappointed that he was at Hargrave last year, and not at Oklahoma, where he thought he belonged.

The disappointment would very nearly boil over into a near depression, where he might have quit if not for some very important people in his life encouraging him.

One of them was Norvell, the Sooners’ receivers’ coach and Metoyer’s primary recruiter, who spoke with the receiver often and even visited him in Chatham a couple times.

“You have got to go to Hargrave,” Norvell would tell Metoyer. “Your dream is not over with.”

Norvell expanded on how difficult these talks were for him personally, although he couldn’t show it.

“It was a hard conversation,” Norvell said. “You become very close with kids when you recruit them for as long as I recruited Trey. You go through the ups and downs with them, but you’ve got to be consisent and be there for them.”

An example often invoked by Norvell of another immensely talented player who had to work his way back into Division I football is Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers quarterback and last year’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Newton got into some trouble at Florida, where he spent his first two college seasons, and wound up at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas. Norvell was one of the Sooner coaches who tried recruiting Newton to Norman before he ultimately went to Auburn, won the Heisman Trophy and led the Tigers to the national championship.

“I try to use the example of Cam Newton with him,” Norvell said. “He went from the penthouse of Florida to Blinn junior college in central Texas in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but tumbleweed out there.

“He did it, he put his time in there, he got out of there and he went on to Auburn and won the national championship.”

There are clear differences between the two situations — Metoyer’s issues were academic, not criminal — and it’s impossible to know if the OU true freshman wideout will ever come close to reaching Newton’s success.

But the point was, Newton had to swallow his pride and spent some time away from the big lights to learn how to be a great football player who could survive the NCAA Division I lifestyle.

“Trey got himself together,” Norvell said. “He did what he had to do. Those were four or five really hard months at Hargrave.”

Metoyer said he now is grateful for his time spent at Hargrave and credits it for his academic success so far at OU.

“It makes you appreciate things a lot more,” Metoyer said. “I worked hard to get where I’ve got. That was my only setback, and I told myself I wasn’t having any more set backs after that.”

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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