By Robert Przybylo
The atmosphere for Bishop McGuinness tight end Gabe Ikard’s signing to Oklahoma was actually pretty tame compared to some of the other ones I’ve attended.
Maybe it’s because of Ikard’s size and ability, that took away some of the shock that say a town like Dewar has with having Ronnell Lewis going to OU.
Or maybe because the Ikard family’s home away from home is the Norman campus. Both of Gabe’s brothers, Sam and Ben, are currently at OU and his parents were Sooners.
So even when Ikard was receiving offers left and right from everywhere, including top-notch academic programs like Stanford and Notre Dame, everyone was just waiting for OU to come along.
And the Sooners did and Ikard signed Wednesday to play for OU. The usual cast of characters was there (family, coaches and players), nothing really out of the norm. Must admit had me a piece of cake and a couple of pieces of pizza.
Ikard was wearing an OU shirt, so no last-minute switches here (not that anything was ever rumored with Gabe). He spoke about the great tradition OU has at TE and how he hopes to add to that.
Able to watch Ikard play a couple of times and thoroughly impressed with his will to win. He was able to make adjustments when teams would try to stop him. And most of all, he came up big when he needed to the most (remember the huge TD vs. Sallisaw in the playoffs this year?).
Don’t know how much time Ikard is going to see, if any, next year. With Jermaine Gresham returning, hmm, safe bet he’s not starting. And Brody Eldridge is still a beast. But Ikard doesn’t mind.
He said he looks forward to learning a lot from both TEs. He said something that got me thinking. In this modern day world of “me, me, me,” he said he doesn’t care about not playing right off the bat. When you have great players like OU has, you want them on your team, he said.
Putting personal pride aside is a big sign of maturity, IMO. OU quarterback Sam Bradford went to Putnam North, just up the road from McGuinness and Gabe said he has a great relationship with Bradford from when they were younger.
For now, Ikard is just looking to get back to 100 percent. In his first basketball game this season, he broke his foot. He said he’s recovering fine. He learned that maybe he tried to make the transition a little too fast from football and basketball.
Who can blame him? He was just itchin’ for another state title. At McGuinness, Ikard won two state championships in football and basketball. Missed out on a third in football this year in the finals and basketball is still pending.
Ikard’s intelligence is going to help him stand out amongst the group. Both with his smarts about the game and his smarts off the field. He has an engaging personality that makes it easy for people to want to cheer him on.
Read about Ikard’s decision and see Ikard give his thoughts about making it official and becoming an Oklahoma Sooner.