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Terrance Anderson's Journey
A blow-by-blow account of one recruit’s official visit to the University of Oklahoma

NCAA member institutions are allowed to bring in a total of 56 prospects for official recruiting visits to their campuses each year. Oklahoma recently hosted one such recruit in 5-foot-10, 163-pound cornerback prospect Terrance Anderson from Aldine, Texas.

Anderson was in Norman the weekend of the Texas A&M game. It just happened to be his first official visit to a college campus. Even so, he knew exactly what he wanted going into the experience.

“Probably the thing I’m looking for the most is to see how the campus is. I’m really into all this to get an education first and I want to see how the campus is and how I would feel if I was an outsider,” said Anderson 24 hours prior to his arrival. “I want to feel like I’m welcome. If I feel that way, we’ll have a good time.”

Anderson also mentioned wanting to meet one player, in particular, during his time in Norman — Adrian Peterson. As it turns out, Peterson and Anderson ran track together two summers ago and it was an experience he has not forgotten.

“I haven’t talked to A.D. in a while,” said Anderson. “I haven’t talked to him since he’s been (at Oklahoma). If I get to see him and talk to him, I’ll feel real good about that. At least I won’t feel like no one from Texas is there.”

For Anderson, his first trip to Oklahoma was not just any trip. It was a journey which would include some firsts, like his first plane ride. Moments after Anderson’s flight landed in Oklahoma City, his adrenaline was still pumping.

“That was the very first time flying. I was real nervous. But it went real smooth and I’m feeling really good about it,” said Anderson.

His journey had begun.

It was Friday night and Anderson’s ride greeted him at the airport, ready to take him to campus. From the very start, Anderson almost immediately got a good vibe, beginning with his initial impression of his possible future home.

“When we first got into the town I thought, ‘Wow, this is a nice town.’ It was like a country town with a city atmosphere. It made me feel at home already,” explained Anderson.

Once they reached campus, Anderson was introduced to Sherrone Moore, one of the country’s top junior college offensive tackles, also in town on an official recruiting weekend.
Next stop for Anderson and Moore was Memorial Stadium.

“I get to the stadium and I thought, ‘Wow, this stadium is huge’,” explained Anderson. “And when I get there, the team is warming up on the field. I got out there on the field and saw the players, and I’m like, ‘These players are huge. They are huge!’“

And even before he had time to catch his breath, Anderson found himself face-to-face with Bob Stoops, in what became a surprising meeting for the talented cornerback.

It seems a common theme among recruits in Texas — maybe it’s the way Stoops is portrayed outside the Oklahoma borders — but Anderson was shocked at how nice the Sooner coach actually was.

“Coach Stoops comes up to me and talks to me. (He) is such a great fella. I really didn’t think he was that type of guy. He seems a whole lot different on TV. But he’s a great guy,” said Anderson.

Next on the agenda, a quick tour of campus with assistant director of University of Oklahoma Athletic Academic Affairs Teresa Turner as his guide.

For Anderson, this is what the trip was all about. He made it clear, even before scheduling the visit, that academics are his top priority. He plans to major in business management, and finding out about the academic side of OU was
his primary mission.

Turner’s tour made another big impression on Anderson.

“She points out everything to me and I just noticed how close together everything was,” said Anderson. “You can’t get lost there. Everything is so close together.”

After the tour, Anderson heads back to the hotel to prepare for dinner and a Friday night chapel service the team provides as a voluntary activity. A highly spiritual person, Anderson elects to attend and welcomes the message of one-time OU player Sherdeill H. Breathett.

Breathett was a two-year letterman at Oklahoma in 1980-81 and has gone on to become a highly inspirational speaker.

“He’s really dedicated himself to the Lord and he’s touching us. He’s telling us about his life and his childhood. What he had to say really touched all of us,” said Anderson.

It was the perfect way to end a whirlwind day. And as Anderson headed back to the hotel for a good night’s rest, he was already anxious for the morning to arrive, along with another long, but fun and informative day.

“That Friday night I was like, ‘Man, that was a lot of stuff,” he said.

***

Saturday morning arrived early and Anderson and the other recruits are shuffled through the breakfast line. It’s time to leave for the game and Anderson was about to get treated to one of the best experiences of the entire trip — a ride on the team bus to the stadium.

“We’re sitting in the front of the bus as recruits,” explained Anderson. “As we’re driving up there, everybody is just waving and cheering, and I’m like, ‘Man, this is crazy!’”

Once off the bus, the players headed to the locker room to get suited up, while Anderson and the other recruits were directed to the Switzer Center to pickup their game tickets.

“We see some of the Heisman Trophy winners, we see the Heisman Trophy and the national championship trophies and it was just crazy,” said Anderson. “That building is unbelievable. That’s a building anyone would want to be in. It was just a really good experience.”

Following his trip through the Switzer Center, it was time to hit the field for pregame warm-ups. Once again, Anderson found himself in awe.

“After they were finished with the pregame, everybody was in the stands. That right there probably got to me. That probably got to me the most. They had a record-setting (crowd) too. It was a lot of red and I could see all of it,” said Anderson.

One of the best barometers for Memorial Stadium is to listen to the noise level of the crowd when an opposing offense has its back against the goal line in the nouth end zone.

Asked about his thoughts on that situation during the OU-A&M game, Anderson fought for words to describe the experience.

“Oh yeaahh!,” he shouted. “I was like, ‘Woah!’“
During the game, Anderson said all of the recruits were unavoidably swept up in the action.

“The game was intense and it was a real good game. During the game we were right behind the sideline in the stands,” said Anderson. “The game was intense and the other recruits were just talking because we wanted to suit up and go out there and play.”

After OU’s 36-30 victory, Anderson had locker room access where he was thrilled to witness the postgame celebration. When the cheering finally settled down, he was able to speak to Adrian Peterson.

“I met up with him after the game and we talked a little bit in the locker room. He asked me how things were going and he said, ‘I see you’re on the official visit list for Oklahoma, (so) you must be pretty good.’ I was trying to be humble in the situation, so I was just like, ‘I guess so.’

“He had a real good game and he’s just so popular in Oklahoma. We were talking and he asked me if I still run track and all that. We talked about the summer track when we ran together, so that was good.”

For most recruits, going out on the town and helping a team celebrate a big victory would be the first thing on their list. But for Anderson, he was more than happy with a detour to OU’s Prentice Gautt Academics Center.

“We talked about nothing but academics. That’s what I wanted the most,” said Anderson. “When they started talking about that, I was hooked.”

Oklahoma is building a national reputation for providing one of the best academic support programs in NCAA athletics. And after its presentation to Anderson, he was convinced Oklahoma was the real deal in regards to supporting academic progress.

“With all the information they gave us, it seems like it’s hard for you to fail,” he said. “You cannot fail at that school. Everybody, not just players, but everybody in that school has to go to class. You’re going to class — no ifs, ands, or buts. If you struggle in class, you’re going to have your own assigned tutor. You can’t fail. You just can’t fail.”

After hitting the serious side of things following the game, it was time to get a little taste of the Norman night life.

Anderson was able to head out with his host, Juaquin Iglesias, as well as Sooner commitment Dominique Franks and his host, Reggie Smith. The foursome spent a few hours touring the town.

“I had a real great time at these two parties,” said Anderson, leaving any and all details out of the equation.

***

Sunday morning arrived early for Anderson. Although his flight back to Houston wasn’t scheduled until 12:20, he was up and ready to go when assistant coach Bobby Jack Wright showed up to take him to breakfast. After that, the two dropped back by the Switzer Center for a sit-down chat about his experience.

“We’re talking about the trip and I told him it was great and everyone made me feel welcome,” explained Anderson. “He told me how he wanted me to play defensive back, but that it didn’t matter what position I play because he wanted me to come to Oklahoma.”

The Oklahoma coaching staff is not about the hard sell with recruits, according to Anderson. And that’s something that he appreciated during his Sunday conversations with Sooner coaches.

“After that, (Coach Wright) told me everyone wanted me to come to OU, but he didn’t want me to make a commitment to anyone until I knew that’s the school I wanted to go to,” Anderson explained. “I really felt comfortable about all that.”

After his meeting with Wright, Anderson headed to the big man’s office. And once again, Stoops immediately broke down any preconceived notions.

“It made me feel real good inside because this is a guy, who really when I first saw him, I didn’t think he was that type of person to be honest,” said Anderson. “I thought he was one of those cocky coaches that had a lot of success early and acted like he couldn’t lose. That’s how I thought he was and he wasn’t like that at all. He was a real nice guy and he acted like he meant what he said.”

Anderson is happy to share a further glimpse of what that last meeting with Coach Stoops offered.

“I talked to Coach Stoops and he shows me rings and watches and national championship rings, and I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, this stuff is huge! This stuff is great!“ Anderson explained.

“He talks to me and asks how the trip was and I said it was fun and everyone made me feel welcome,” he continued. “He talks to me about academics and I said I liked it. The academic center was great and I told him I thought it was a great way to keep the athletes in check. He told me he didn’t care (what position) I played,
he just wants me to come and be a Sooner.

“That basically was our conversation.”

With that, Anderson was on his way to catch his flight. At least until he was stopped by one last coach — defensive coordinator Brent Venables — who had a final word or two to share.

“I was running behind schedule because I was talking to Coach Venables and he gives me a big-time conversation and then my escort started telling me we had to go,” said Anderson.
Apparently, Venables got a little carried away during their chat. Then Anderson’s driver missed a turn to the airport. The trip finally ended with the 4.5 40-yard-dash cornerback sprinting to his gate at Will Rogers World Airport.

“I get there and they tell me it’s too late and they told me I was going to have to run. I’m running down the way to try and get to the airplane and when I got there they told me I had barely made it,” said Anderson.

***

Anderson didn’t commit to Bob Stoops and Oklahoma on that final Sunday. But the weekend did give the Sooners a big boost in the race to sign him.

“Right now, Oklahoma’s No. 1 on my list because my visit was great and I had a good time,” said Anderson. “Oklahoma State’s No. 2 because I haven’t visited them yet. It could change after my visit.”

The Cowboys will host Anderson on Dec. 2, and even with visits still scheduled to Iowa State and Nebraska, Anderson says he could see a scenario where he makes a decision after that visit to Stillwater.

“Me making a decision after the OSU visit? Maybe, maybe not, because I have to see how things go,” he said.

When Anderson came to Oklahoma, he said he wanted to know about the little things. He wanted to feel comfortable and at home. So how did the Sooners grade out?

“Those little things like making me feel welcome and the little things like being good people — I saw that everywhere,” said Anderson.
“Everywhere I went in Norman, it was about good people. Everybody knew everybody and they made me feel at home with the little things I was talking about. I found it, and it was there in Oklahoma.”

After his visit to Norman, the nouth end zone is still calling. Anderson may take that chance to jump out of the stands and onto the field to help the Sooners battle their way to many more victories in the future.