District 3A-3: Barry Sanders says recruiting battle 'wide open,' takes attention in stride
Sanders, a big OSU fan and the son of NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders, lists Oklahoma State, Notre Dame and Tennessee as early favorites of his seven offers.
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District 3A-3 coaches' poll 1. Kingfisher (12-3)* 2. Heritage Hall (8-5)* 3. Bethany (7-4)* 4. Newcastle (4-6)* 5. John Marshall (9-3)* 6. Centennial (4-6)* 7. SeeWorth Academy (1-9)* * Denotes new to district 2009 record in parentheses
"I didn't notice any difference in him," Bogert said about the added attention. "With Barry, he's just one of the most easygoing kids I've ever been around."
Said junior quarterback and wide receiver Sterling Shepard: "He's just Barry to us. He hasn't changed because of the attention."
The younger Sanders is a lot bigger than his 5-foot-8 father. He said he still doesn't know how to put on weight, but he has been able to get a lot stronger.
At 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, Sanders has unofficially been clocked at 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has a 31-inch vertical jump.
Initially, the hook was that he's the son of one of the greatest running backs in the game. That will always be there, but Sanders is slowly making his own way and showing he is deserving of the accolades.
"He's very mature and just a natural leader," said Justin Mitchell, publisher of OKVarsity.com, the Oklahoma Rivals site. "He's an intelligent, well-spoken guy and people just want to be around him.
"He's going to take care of business in the classroom, work hard and stay out of trouble. When you have a guy like that is as talented as he is and does that, it makes everyone around him better."
Sanders was a role player on the Chargers team that won the 2008 Class 2A championship, but he took the reins as the No. 1 option last year as a sophomore.
Despite just about everyone in the stadium knowing the ball was coming his way, Sanders accounted for more than 2,000 total yards of offense and 30 touchdowns. And in his first year on defense, he had six interceptions.
Heritage Hall, along with several other prominent 2A programs, is making the move up to 3A this year and is expected to contend for another gold ball.
Sanders said the team is finding its identity a lot earlier this year, and he knows he can't do it alone.
"It's not just me — we have so many talented kids on our team, and we're all coming together," Sanders said. "We're a tighter unit, and I think it's going to show this year."
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