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June 14, 2012
Mastro Set to Lead 2013's Band?
Many wondered if Oklahoma might pick up a commitment from Dallas Jesuit three-star linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni during his on-campus visit to Norman last weekend.
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"Really, the majority of the time (on the trip) I felt like (committing to Oklahoma) was what I wanted to do. My dad and uncle were with me and felt the same way," Mastrogiovanni said.
"I wanted to commit but I promised myself, my coaches, my friends, and my family that I wouldn't make a rash decision. I needed to sleep on it and pray about it, at the end of the day I felt like Oklahoma was the best fit for me."
However, after taking a few days to think about his decision the nation's No. 22 inside linebacker had fulfilled his promise and taken the time to find the right answer. As such, he made the call to Sooner linebackers coach Tim Kish.
"Yes sir, I called coach Kish and he was golfing. I think it caught him off guard but he sounded really excited about it. I tried to call coach (Bob) Stoops but he is in Miami right now. Coach Kish said I'd get him on the phone later today. Coach Kish sounded really excited about me committing."
The excitement, presumably, comes from not only the reality of Mastrogiovanni's talent but also the fact that he brings something a bit different to the table compared to much of what is currently on Oklahoma's roster. A difference that many think will become the norm given more and more recruiting classes.
"They've told me that they really like my range, my athletic ability and quickness. They mentioned Tom Wort but I think I'm a little bigger than him. They'll try me at inside and outside, and see what works. I think it'll start at inside because that's where I'm most comfortable right now," he said.
"We didn't really watch any tape. Coach Kish sat us down in the linebacker film room, the schedule and how things work, and the expectation as far as how things work. They talked about how they look at the opposing offense the upcoming week and I'm pretty familiar with that because we do the same at Jesuit."
Mastrogiovanni's commitment may have been the first year assistant's first 'get' but it wasn't just the well-regarded recruiter that helped seal the deal for Oklahoma.
"Just talking to coach Stoops, his time is so valuable and he gave us so much of it, he stuck with us on the whole tour," he said.
"Coach Kish was so welcoming, and he was just the kind of guy I can see myself playing for, and I'm going to give him everything I have and I know he'll do the same for me. Just the coaches, everything OU has to offer, the convenience of where it is, it's a two and a half hour drive from my house."
For those still getting to know Kish Mastrogiovanni offered some insight into the newest Sooner staffer.
"Immediately I could tell he really cares about his players, he wants to win, he has a winning attitude. There wasn't anything negative about him that I noticed. We talked pretty much the whole time, it sounded like he had a plan for me and he really knows what's going on, he is going to give his players everything he has," he said.
The Mastrogiovanni's have always been open with the reality that the ties, and interest, in Oklahoma has been long-standing. However, it wasn't just the state of Texas' No. 41 prospect that had to be sold on being a Sooner, his father came in needing some questions answered as well.
"My dad is really big on education, they convinced him that they push their players to strive in the academic field, that was a major positive for my parents. My dad got the impression that the coaches really care for the players as well, the facilities are really great, and I'm going to be really successful there."
With the decision made, one of the top linebackers in the state of Texas will be enjoying some down time after going through his recruitment along with watching his teammates J.J. Gustafson and Jake Oliver.
"You know, going into it, when Jake really got all the offers, then J.J., I started getting mine a little later, we toyed with the idea of going to the same school. But we were rational about it, we made the best decision for us. That turned out, J.J. going to A&M, and Jake going to Texas, and I'm going to Oklahoma - we're going to stay great friends," Mastrogiovanni confessed.
"I'm really looking forward to (some down time), lately this has taken up a lot of my time. I'm grateful for it, not many kids get to go through this but now I can get back to focusing on my senior season and focusing on the present."
Well Sooner fans could demand that there be some separation of the friendship between Mastrogiovanni and Oliver during one Saturday in October?
"I think I can handle that," he laughed.
Mastrogiovanni, commitment No. 10 for the Sooners class of 2013, joins a class that is still taking shape and more notably still getting to know each other. That's something he hopes to remedy going forward.
"I'll definitely get to know the commits and try and form a relationship. From what I've heard the transition that first year on campus is really rough, I think it would be much easier to get to know those guys better. And you know definitely I'll ask the coaches who they are interested in and talk to them as much as I can too."
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