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Recruiting: Crimson Bloodline
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OU hoping Tulsa Union lineman Matt Romine continues his familyâ€™s Sooner legacy
Finding the top offensive lineman in the state of Oklahoma for 2007 is not all that difficult, even though the 2006 season is still a few weeks away. Simply look no further than Tulsa. Thatâ€™s the home of Matt Romine, a 6-foot-6, 275-pound offensive tackle for Union High School.
Romine turned in a dominating junior season on the football field, one that demanded attention from every corner of the country and attracted scholarship offers from high-profile programs such as Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Michigan and Alabama.
Thatâ€™s just a small sampling of the schools beating a recruiting path to the young manâ€™s front door.
â€śIt started off about a year ago, after my sophomore year. I started picking up some letters and questionnaires and stuff like that,â€ť said Romine. â€śThen last October, I picked up my first offer from Houston and itâ€™s just kind of slowly picked up over each month. This past May was just crazy with all the coaches calling and people coming by the school and stuff like that.â€ť
In the eyes of college recruiters, Romine is a potential impact player with a big up side. When programs were allowed their one phone call during the May recruiting and evaluation period, there werenâ€™t a lot of assistants dialing up Romine.
Instead, he was answering calls from some of the biggest names in the college football coaching fraternity.
â€śHeâ€™s a little different,â€ť answered Romine, when asked what it was like to talk to Notre Dameâ€™s Charlie Weiss. â€śYou can definitely tell heâ€™s from (New) Jersey. He just speaks what he thinks and thatâ€™s kind of what I like about him. He doesnâ€™t hold anything back. Heâ€™s got that Jersey accent and heâ€™s telling you how it is.â€ť
Bob Stoops didnâ€™t hold back either. He called Romine on May 1, the first day coaches were allowed to contact junior recruits.
â€śIâ€™ve gotten to know him a little bit,â€ť Romine said of his relationship with Bob Stoops. â€śWhat I see in Coach Stoops is just a fierce competitor. The guy hates to lose and thatâ€™s what I like about him.â€ť
Stoops has a bit of an edge over the competition when it comes to potentially landing Romine. Both his father and grandfather attended the University of Oklahoma, making Romine a fixture at OU football games in recent years.
â€śMy dad bought season tickets a couple of years ago. We went to every game that year and weâ€™d been to a couple of games before that. I was at the national championship game in Miami and Iâ€™ve definitely followed OU and been to a lot of their games,â€ť said Romine.
With so many big-name schools courting the talented tackle, the process can become dizzying at times. Letters and calls have flooded in during the spring and summer months, and Romine is starting to sense a need to pare things down.
â€śItâ€™s definitely making this decision very hard on me,â€ť said Romine. â€śTalking to all these coaches like Mike Shula, Lloyd Carr, Charlie Weiss, Bob Stoops â€” all these coaches are guys Iâ€™ve been following all my life and watching on TV, and itâ€™s just awesome.
â€śIâ€™m hoping to get my top five by the start of the season. Iâ€™ve thought about making an early commitment and getting over it. But Iâ€™m kind of leaning toward taking advantage of the five official visits. I want to have five down by the start of the season so I can just take those visits and go from there.â€ť
But the Sooners appear to be in a solid position to impress the stateâ€™s top-rated lineman. Even though Tulsa is a football factory in its own right, state pride and Oklahoma ties are strong in the Romine household.
â€śWe talked about Oklahoma guys and how theyâ€™ve been born and raised in Oklahoma and how theyâ€™ve become All-Americans at Oklahoma,â€ť offered Romine, when asked about his conversations with Stoops. â€śWe talked about that a lot. Jammal Brown is from Oklahoma and thatâ€™s what weâ€™ve talked about.â€ť
Romine is also fully aware of Wes Simsâ€™ success with the San Diego Chargers and Davin Josephâ€™s status as a first round pick in this yearâ€™s NFL Draft.
But the Sooners will have to continue their efforts with Romine. Heâ€™s talented enough to have the top football programs in the country recruiting him, and he's not afraid of competition at any of those top schools.
â€śIâ€™m a firm believer that if you can play, youâ€™re going to play. If I think Iâ€™m one of the best, I think I can go somewhere and theyâ€™re going to find a spot for me. It may not be at left tackle, but Iâ€™ll be on the field,â€ť said Romine.
Thatâ€™s exactly the attitude Oklahoma coaches are looking for in every player they recruit. And because of his immense talent and competitive spirit, itâ€™s likely Romineâ€™s list of suitors could grow even larger before the summer ends.
This story, along with a complete recruiting report, appear in the 2006 Football Preview Issue of Sooner Spectator. Subscribe Today!