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Barry J. Sanders is open to all possibilities

Recruiting: Heritage Hall running back respects father's legacy but is ready to blaze his own trail.
By Robert Przybylo, Staff Writer, Modified: February 12, 2011 at 7:26 pm •  Published: February 12, 2011

On a given day, you're likely to see Barry J. Sanders strolling up and down the halls of the Upper School at Heritage Hall wearing Oklahoma State gear.

The next day Sanders might be sporting some Alabama apparel. Sanders' choices at this time are unlimited when it comes to college clothing.

It feels like every week another major university is offering a scholarship to the Chargers' star running back. Sanders currently has 14 official offers to go with interest from other top schools.

And right now he's simply soaking it all in and not ruling anything out.

“I'm not in a rush to do anything,” Sanders said. “I'm going to take my time and see what's out there. This is going to be a well-thought-out decision.”

Is there really a chance that Sanders, a name that carries so much weight and so many great memories in Stillwater, will actually leave the state?

Sanders, the son of former Oklahoma State legend and NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders, has listed the Cowboys as one of his favorites, but OSU is not a slam dunk for the younger Sanders. No school is.

And his family is OK with that.

“I've told him before not to look at the pressures of being his father's child,” said Aletha House, Sanders' mother. “I don't want other people's expectations take him to a place he doesn't want to be.”

His family is going to be supportive of whatever decision Sanders makes, but how will Oklahoma State fans respond if Sanders leaves?

OSU, Alabama, Florida State and UCLA are among his current favorites, though that can change as the offers continue to roll in. Most recruiting experts have the 2011 classes of the Crimson Tide and the Seminoles as the top two in the nation. Sanders is acutely aware of that fact.

“Alabama is a proven program that's always looking to get better,” Sanders said. “At Florida State, I love what coach (Jimbo) Fisher is doing there. He has recruits excited about the program.”

This is where being his father's son is helping Sanders out. Having the “Barry Sanders” name has brought about a lot of extra attention. A lot of added expectations. But it's also made him tougher — at least mentally.

Sanders started to turn some heads as early as junior high, and his three high school years with Heritage Hall have left not much more to be desired. Two state championships, a number of highlight-reel runs and growing more comfortable in his skin with each passing day.

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