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Tales from the trail: Chicken fried steak nearly made Eddie Hinton an OSU Cowboy

Eddie Hinton grew up a Sooner fan. So when the Lawton High star committed to rival Oklahoma State after visiting both instate schools, everyone in town was stunned.

BY JAKE TROTTER, Staff Writer, jtrotter@opubco.com Modified: January 31, 2011 at 2:05 pm •  Published: January 31, 2011
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Eddie Hinton grew up a Sooner fan. And his hometown of Lawton was a Sooner hub.

So when the Lawton High star committed to rival Oklahoma State after visiting both instate schools, everyone in town was stunned.

The day before signing day, Bill Thomas, an OU player who was Hinton's teammate at Lawton two years before, called his buddy to find out what happened.

“He asked me, ‘Why are you going to Oklahoma State?'” Hinton recalled.

First he explained how the Cowboys had wined and dined him on his recruiting trip, while OU had gone to little trouble. After further prodding, Hinton divulged the main reason why he chose OSU.

“It sounds really stupid now,” he said, “but I said to Bill, ‘They have the best chicken fried steak I've ever had.”

As soon as it came out of his mouth, Hinton realized how silly his explanation was.

“What kind of a decision was that?” Hinton said, laughing, still befuddled by his thinking at the time.

Immediately, he let the Sooners know he would be signing with them.

Hinton went on to star at OU as a receiver in the late 1960s. He set several school receiving marks that stood until Bob Stoops brought a pass-first offense to Norman at the turn of the century.

After college, Hinton was drafted by the Baltimore Colts and became one of Johnny Unitas' favorite targets.

“Going to OU was the best decision I ever made,” he said.

As for OSU's chicken fried steak?

Answered Hinton: “Still the best I've ever had to this day.”