DESOTO, Texas — Vontre McQuinnie sat in the DeSoto High School gymnasium Wednesday morning and signed with Oklahoma.
Strangely, though, McQuinnie — who committed to OU more than a year ago — has technically been an Oklahoma Sooner several months longer than he's been a DeSoto Eagle.
McQuinnie played football in nearby Lancaster his entire life before his family moved to DeSoto midway through his senior season. The 6-foot-1, 204-pound safety decided after the move to switch schools, too.
“I was kind of against it at first, but it was a decision he made,” said J.W. Smith, Jr., McQuinnie's stepfather. “I think it was a better fit. He felt like he wasn't being pushed to his potential.”
Lancaster signed off on the transfer, but McQuinnie still had to sit out two games because of University Interscholastic League rules. The UIL governs public school activities in Texas.
“I didn't ask any questions,” said DeSoto coach Claude Mathis. “We were about to go into the playoffs, so I was trying to end the season off well. I had too much on my mind to worry about that.
“All I knew was that it was legal. That's the only thing I had to understand.”
McQuinnie's transfer came at a convenient time for DeSoto, which had just lost a starting safety for the season with a broken arm.
Once McQuinnie was eligible, he made an immediate impact on the DeSoto defense, adding a tough, physical presence who could play well in pass coverage and in run support.
In the Eagles' 48-41, playoff quarterfinal victory over Euless Trinity, McQuinnie returned a first-quarter fumble 84 yards for a touchdown that ended up being the difference in the game.
“He made a hell of a play,” said Paul Beattie, DeSoto's secondary coach. “He was a leader. He helped out the younger kids. He just fought hard the whole time he was with us.
“He's a strong, strong kid. When he puts his hands on you, it's hard to get away. I can only imagine how he's gonna be in about a year after getting in the OU weight room. He'll be a beast.”
McQuinnie said all OU coaches have told him that they want him to be that same physical, vocal leader in Norman.
“At Lancaster, I was leader of the defense,” McQuinnie said. “Here, I was vocal. They want me to bring some personality to the defense.”