“Some of the greatest players in the history of baseball have been small-town Oklahoma people. Mickey Mantle. Johnny Bench. You can go on and on. Baseball across the state is good.”
Oklahoma kids also come with a bonus in addition to talent and skill: passion.
They know the schools, often carry strong feelings for one program and have a deep desire to succeed for that program.
Like Overton, Gray's favorite moment from a year ago, when the Sooners advanced to a Super Regional and were on the doorstop of a trip to the College World Series: Bedlam, when he beat the Cowboys in the regular season.
“That was my favorite game, because I grew up not being too fond of OSU,” Gray said. “It was really good getting a win against them.”
It's the same for the Cowboys.
“It's important that guys want to be at Oklahoma State,” Holliday said. “I want guys who want to be here, to whom it's important that, ‘I want to be in that program. It means something to me. I'm aware of its history. I want to be in Stillwater. And I want to be a part of the community.'
“I want people who love Oklahoma State … because I do.”
On the current rosters, 10 of OU's 32 players are from Oklahoma, while 12 of OSU's 34 are home grown. For both, Texas is the other primary recruiting ground.
And more Okies are on the way, with Golloway adding five and Holliday four in the early signing period in November.
“We would recruit here first because they're the best players and the right players,” Holliday said. “And there are those types of players here … good enough to help us win a championship, and to have a passion to be a part of what we're doing.
“We'll go get the best players anywhere we can. And if they're right here at home, that's awesome.”