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Sooners making habit of raiding Kansas' best high school football talent

BY JAKE TROTTER Staff Writer jtrotter@opubco.com Modified: February 5, 2011 at 6:43 pm •  Published: February 5, 2011
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The best high school talent in the nation doesn't reside in Kansas. But recently, the best high school talent in Kansas has been lifted by the Sooners.

That trend continued last Wednesday, when Oklahoma signed defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, the No. 1 prospect out of the Sunflower State.

Phillips, however, is only the latest.

Last year, the Sooners plucked the top three players from Kansas in athlete Justin McCay, quarterback Blake Bell and defensive end Geneo Grissom, who originally committed to the Jayhawks. The year before, OU reeled in two of the state's top four players: fullback Marshall Musil and linebacker Jaydan Bird.

OU coach Bob Stoops attributes his program's recruiting success in Kansas to a couple of factors.

One, proximity. The driving distance is no more than five-and-a-half hours to Norman — usually less — meaning players' families can easily visit or attend home games; and the players can drive home when they need to.

“They're close enough,” Stoops said, “for their families to come down and participate in it without a lot of great expense, without flying and those type of things.”

The other reason, Stoops says, is past success with Kansas natives. Call it the tumbleweed effect.

“Usually, they pay attention and relate to or follow certain players in their area that they may know a little bit,” Stoops said. “You look at players that are here from those areas that are having great careers that we've had success with. You look at the championships and the bowl games.”

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