“More kids are willing to listen now than in the past,” Fielder said.
Some players may be from the West but have a connection to the state of Oklahoma or OSU. Jacobs has family in the Tulsa area. Allen's high school coach, Tony Tabor, grew up in Perkins.
But Jackson and Hautau, by all accounts, just chose to come to Stillwater.
During a casual conversation about recruiting in 2011, Gundy noted he would prefer to have the vast majority of his players from the Great Plains/Midwest region.
Not just because of the immense talent in the area. He also alluded to the fact that there is just a different type of mentality and attitude in this part of the country compared to the West Coast.
In many ways, Gundy is right. Take it from someone who grew up in the Scottsdale area. Not far from Allen's high school, in fact.
But the right types of kids — when measuring based on pure skill and work ethic and character and any other qualities — can be found in all parts of the country.
“I think (Gundy will) always prefer more local guys from Midwest,” Fielder said, “but if you have a chance to get a Kyle Allen-type, then they've got to pursue it.”
Making a concentrated effort to expand recruiting is smart. Developing relationships with coaches out West can be extremely valuable, both in the present and down the line. California has always had a strong high school football reputation. And this year, Arizona has five players ranked Rivals' most recent top 100. Oklahoma, by comparison, has two in what's expected to be a banner recruiting year for the state.
And based on the 2014 offer list so far this spring, pushing for a presence in the region is starting to happen.
“It obviously takes time to develop connections out there,” Fielder said, “but if they get even just one or maybe two quality guys each year, it's worth it.”