NORMAN — Thaddeus LaGrone’s friends have told him for a long time that if he makes it big in football, he’ll have a great name for announcers.
“I love my name,” LaGrone said. “A lot of people say it sounds like a Greek name. ‘Thaddeus LaGrone.’ It’s actually from the Bible.”
Oklahoma’s sophomore safety is working on making his name more well-known to OU fans, but that process can be a little longer and tougher for walk-ons.
LaGrone was removed from his Allen (Texas) High School football team his senior season after an injury and a subsequent disagreement with one of his coaches, he said. At the time, he was committed to Baylor, but the Bears stopped recruiting him after his high school career prematurely ended.
He committed to Houston and signed there, but didn’t last long with the Cougars.
“I got hurt and some things happened,” LaGrone said. “Also they had me playing outside linebacker and that wasn’t really what I wanted to play.”
LaGrone — whose cousin is former OU wide receiver Mark Bradley — attended Oklahoma’s 2013 spring game and liked the campus, so he decided to walk on. The safety had to sit out last season, but will be eligible to play this year.
He made waves in the 2014 OU spring game because of a few big, memorable hits on Sooner offensive players.
“Hitting has always been my thing,” he said with a grin.
Obviously, earning regular playing time at a school like Oklahoma is difficult for any walk-on, but LaGrone feels like he’s got a shot, especially considering the Sooners’ inexperience in the defensive backfield. But for now, he’s perfectly willing to play special teams, line up on the scout team and basically do anything to prove he’s capable of contributing.
“I think I’ve definitely proved some things, but I’ve gotta keep on pushing and see what the future holds,” LaGrone said.