EDMOND — The way Heath Newland sees it, there are two ways he could've reacted to Oklahoma's offer to make him a “preferred walk-on” in its 2013 recruiting class.
“You can take it as the school didn't want you, because they didn't respect you enough to give you a scholarship,” said Newland, a four-year starter on Edmond North's offensive line.
“Or, you can look at it like you're borderline. They wanted you, they just couldn't give you a scholarship right now, so just go show them. Work hard every day.”
Newland chose the latter, accepting the “preferred walk-on” offer that Sooners co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel presented to him at school on Friday.
Heupel told the 6-foot-2, 285-pound Newland that the Sooners are OK when it comes to interior offensive linemen on scholarship, and that coaches' more pressing need is at offensive tackle.
Oklahoma loses senior tackle Lane Johnson next season; current sophomores Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams both have starting experience, but after that, the Sooners are extremely thin at tackle.
Redshirt freshman Derek Farniok has impressive size at 6-foot-9, 315 pounds, but is still raw and working to develop his skills. True freshman Kyle Marrs (6-5, 320) is redshirting this season, and Nathan Hughes (6-6, 248) switched from defensive end during fall camp.
Dylan Dismuke, a Duncan native and true freshman last year, took a medical hardship that prematurely ended his career because of a lingering knee injury. Will Latu, a junior-college transfer in last year's class, moved on before even enrolling at OU because of academic problems.