Dylan Harding wasn't sure this was possible.
“I always kind of doubted myself up until I got my first offer,” Harding said.
There were plenty more after that first one, but it didn't take long to make a decision once the right one came in for the Jenks safety.
Wednesday, Harding officially signed with Oklahoma State after committing to the Cowboys in late July.
He still spends plenty of time thinking about that first one, though.
A couple weeks after the Trojans won the 2012 state championship, Harding was called into the office at school, where he was met by Tulsa assistant Denver Johnson.
“I'm about to change your life,” Johnson told Harding before officially extending the offer.
“Ever since, that's when I realized the sky's the limit,” Harding said. “I knew I needed to put on some weight and I did; got to where I should've been and I got an offer.”
Or, Harding should say, THE offer.
He took a visit to Stillwater in July and soon had that offer from the Cowboys. He wasted no time, committing to OSU almost immediately.
“He was so excited,” said Jenks coach Allan Trimble said. “I just remember him tearing up. It was a lifelong goal for him to play at OSU and I guess he went over and really impressed them.”
Trimble said he could see Harding (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) used in a variety of ways.
“He's got great speed, great length,” Trimble said. “It'll be interesting to see what they do with him. Is he a safety? A linebacker? A receiver? But either way, they're getting a big, tall, good athlete.”
YOUNG CHOOSES UCLA
The Cowboys were hopeful of reeling in one more prized prospect Wednesday, with Louisiana linebacker Kenny Young set to choose between the Cowboys, UCLA, LSU and Texas A&M.
Young went with the Bruins.
A four-star prospect out of John Curtis High in River Ridge, La., Young visited OSU late in the recruiting process, the payoff of enhanced recruiting efforts by the Cowboys' staff in Louisiana.
Even without Young, OSU made those efforts worthwhile, signing defensive back Juwan Offrey and defensive tackle Joyan Williams out of Edna Karr High School in New Orleans, as well as running back Sione Palelei out of East Ascension High in Gonzales.
ONE TO WATCH
As Wednesday progressed, a buzz began to circulate that offensive lineman Deionte Noel of Steele High School in Cibolo, Texas, was switching his commitment from Texas Tech to OSU.
And that is Noel's intention, as a picture of him in OSU gear was sent out on Twitter.
Yet there's a catch.
Noel reportedly has some academic work to take care of to become eligible for college.
For now, the Cowboys' class is complete.
However, Noel could continue to work on his academics and enroll at OSU in the fall.
Noel, an offensive guard, is a three-star recruit by Scout.com and a two-star prospect by Rivals.com.
OFFENSE FAMILIAR FOR LACY
Chris Lacy was relieved to finally sign with Oklahoma State Wednesday morning, and now he's ready to get to work with the Cowboys.
“It's the same offense we run here at DeSoto, so I'll fit right in and catch a lot of passes,” Lacy said.
The 6-foot-2, 191-pound wide receiver committed to Oklahoma State in early August, choosing the Cowboys over offers from Arizona State, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Northwestern, among others.
“I love it,” said Lacy's mother Karen. “He loves it. We like Stillwater, a small, college town and a family atmosphere. And of course, they like to throw the ball, so that's really important. They offer engineering, and that's what he wants to do.”
Lacy and his DeSoto High School teammate, safety Vontre McQuinnie, will now be on opposite sides of the Bedlam rivalry; McQuinnie signed with the Sooners on Wednesday.
“We talk noise to each other every day, leading up to the Bedlam game next year,” Lacy said.
McQuinnie transferred from nearby Lancaster midway through his senior year; Lacy said the first time they squared off in practice, McQuinnie beat him, but that the second time, Lacy won.
Asked if he's excited about potentially matching up one-on-one in future Bedlam games, Lacy said, “Yes sir. If they're dumb enough to put him against me.”
GUNDY ON THE CLASS: “TERRIFIC”
OSU coach Mike Gundy did not hold a signing day press conference, deciding instead to meet with the media on Thursday.
But he did issue a statement on the class via the school's website:
“I think that this is a terrific recruiting class … It takes a group effort, and it gets better and better at Oklahoma State. We have a tremendous product to sell. We have beautiful facilities. We're a winning program. We've won 50 games in five years. Our players believe in themselves. We have a great team concept. The excitement here is more than it ever has been before, but it takes everybody.”
TABER SACRIFICES TO WALK ON
Each Jenks player who signed Wednesday had a table in the lobby of the Frank Herald Gymnasium.
Most were decorated with the school colors of the college the athlete selected. Many had decorated cakes honoring the players for their decision.
Trent Taber didn't sign, at least officially, after deciding to forego scholarship opportunities elsewhere to walk on, but he still had his table decorated with the orange and black of Oklahoma State.
On one corner, behind the cake, was a black Oklahoma State helmet similar to the ones the Cowboys currently wear.
On the edge of the other side, hung a small orange OSU jersey with “Taber” written in marker above the numbers on the back.
When he was about 2 years old, Taber wore the jersey nearly every day.
“I can't tell you how many times I put it through the wash,” Taber's mom, Shea Taber, said.
The fullback/linebacker had opportunities to play elsewhere. His academics and athletics could have landed him at an Ivy League school, Trimble said.
But there was no doubt that Taber would wind up in Stillwater, where he's dreamed of going to school and playing football since he had his dad write his last name in marker on the back of that tiny jersey.
“That's my lifelong dream,” Taber said. “It's a dream come true. I was going to OSU, I just wasn't sure if I was going to play or not. I went up there a couple weekends ago and talked to coaches and I'm so excited.”
Trimble said Taber won't be a player who will go to Stillwater and be forgotten.
In introducing Taber at the ceremony, Trimble compared Taber to Rocky Calmus.
“I think Coach Gundy understands the value of bringing in a leader and a guy that's real blue collar,” Trimble said. “I think football is kind of heading back to where a lot of offenses are going to utilize a fullback and a lead blocker — not all the time but some. I think Trent will be great.”