NORMAN — Bob Stoops took in an SEC outcast, seen by many as a drug dealer and bad seed unworthy of a second chance in major college football.
Stoops and athletic director Joe Castiglione were risking their football program’s reputation, and told him upfront there’d be zero tolerance for any malfeasance in Norman.
“We can’t have anything bad happen while you’re here,” they told him. “If your name gets brought up for anything, you will be out of here.”
Lynn McGruder kept his nose clean for four years, became a key contributor on the defensive line, graduated and completely changed his public image, which was stained following his 2001 arrest on a felony drug charge and subsequent dismissal from Tennessee
The Sooners added former Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham last week, a surprising move considering Green-Beckham’s checkered past and Stoops’ reputation as a strict, no-nonsense disciplinarian. While many fans may be hesitant to embrace the controversial decision, though, McGruder became an instant Green-Beckham supporter, and hopes the troubled wideout makes the most of his second chance.
“It doesn’t look good on the program for them to take a second chance on certain people, because most people don’t really look keen onto that type of situation,” McGruder said. “But it really speaks volumes of the program and of Coach Stoops and the staff.
“They don’t have to do that at all, because they’ve already got the top players in the country. It’s a beautiful thing, man. He should take advantage of it.”
Green-Beckham — the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2012 recruiting class — was involved in two drug-related arrests and, most recently, allegations that he broke into a woman’s apartment and assaulted her. He wasn’t charged in the alleged assault, but Missouri dismissed him anyway.
Stoops and the Oklahoma coaching staff recruited Green-Beckham heavily out of high school, establishing a relationship that allowed them to believe he is capable of changing and staying out of trouble in Norman.
According to sources, Green-Beckham will be kept on an extremely short leash, and almost any missteps will result in his dismissal.