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Terrance Anderson's Journey
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A blow-by-blow account of one recruitâs 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.
âProbably the thing Iâm looking for the most is to see how the campus is. Iâm 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,â said Anderson 24 hours prior to his arrival. âI want to feel like Iâm welcome. If I feel that way, weâll have a good time.â
Anderson also mentioned wanting to meet one player, in particular, during his time in Norman â Adrian Peterson. As it turns out, Peterson and Anderson ran track together two summers ago and it was an experience he has not forgotten.
âI havenât talked to A.D. in a while,â said Anderson. âI havenât talked to him since heâs been (at Oklahoma). If I get to see him and talk to him, Iâll feel real good about that. At least I wonât feel like no one from Texas is there.â
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 Andersonâs flight landed in Oklahoma City, his adrenaline was still pumping.
âThat was the very first time flying. I was real nervous. But it went real smooth and Iâm feeling really good about it,â said Anderson.
His journey had begun.
It was Friday night and Andersonâs 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.
âWhen we first got into the town I thought, âWow, this is a nice town.â It was like a country town with a city atmosphere. It made me feel at home already,â explained Anderson.
Once they reached campus, Anderson was introduced to Sherrone Moore, one of the countryâs top junior college offensive tackles, also in town on an official recruiting weekend.
Next stop for Anderson and Moore was Memorial Stadium.
âI get to the stadium and I thought, âWow, this stadium is hugeâ,â explained Anderson. âAnd when I get there, the team is warming up on the field. I got out there on the field and saw the players, and Iâm like, âThese players are huge. They are huge!ââ
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 â maybe itâs the way Stoops is portrayed outside the Oklahoma borders â but Anderson was shocked at how nice the Sooner coach actually was.
âCoach Stoops comes up to me and talks to me. (He) is such a great fella. I really didnât think he was that type of guy. He seems a whole lot different on TV. But heâs a great guy,â 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.
Turnerâs tour made another big impression on Anderson.
âShe points out everything to me and I just noticed how close together everything was,â said Anderson. âYou canât get lost there. Everything is so close together.â
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.
âHeâs really dedicated himself to the Lord and heâs touching us. Heâs telling us about his life and his childhood. What he had to say really touched all of us,â said Anderson.
It was the perfect way to end a whirlwind day. And as Anderson headed back to the hotel for a good nightâs rest, he was already anxious for the morning to arrive, along with another long, but fun and informative day.
âThat Friday night I was like, âMan, that was a lot of stuff,â he said.
Saturday morning arrived early and Anderson and the other recruits are shuffled through the breakfast line. Itâs time to leave for the game and Anderson was about to get treated to one of the best experiences of the entire trip â a ride on the team bus to the stadium.
âWeâre sitting in the front of the bus as recruits,â explained Anderson. âAs weâre driving up there, everybody is just waving and cheering, and Iâm like, âMan, this is crazy!ââ
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.
âWe see some of the Heisman Trophy winners, we see the Heisman Trophy and the national championship trophies and it was just crazy,â said Anderson. âThat building is unbelievable. Thatâs a building anyone would want to be in. It was just a really good experience.â
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.
âAfter 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,â 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.
âOh yeaahh!,â he shouted. âI was like, âWoah!ââ
During the game, Anderson said all of the recruits were unavoidably swept up in the action.
âThe game was intense and it was a real good game. During the game we were right behind the sideline in the stands,â said Anderson. âThe game was intense and the other recruits were just talking because we wanted to suit up and go out there and play.â
After OUâs 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.
âI 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, âI see youâre on the official visit list for Oklahoma, (so) you must be pretty good.â I was trying to be humble in the situation, so I was just like, âI guess so.â
âHe had a real good game and heâs 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.â
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 OUâs Prentice Gautt Academics Center.
âWe talked about nothing but academics. Thatâs what I wanted the most,â said Anderson. âWhen they started talking about that, I was hooked.â
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.
âWith all the information they gave us, it seems like itâs hard for you to fail,â he said. âYou cannot fail at that school. Everybody, not just players, but everybody in that school has to go to class. Youâre going to class â no ifs, ands, or buts. If you struggle in class, youâre going to have your own assigned tutor. You canât fail. You just canât fail.â
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.
âI had a real great time at these two parties,â said Anderson, leaving any and all details out of the equation.
Sunday morning arrived early for Anderson. Although his flight back to Houston wasnât 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.
âWeâre talking about the trip and I told him it was great and everyone made me feel welcome,â explained Anderson. âHe told me how he wanted me to play defensive back, but that it didnât matter what position I play because he wanted me to come to Oklahoma.â
The Oklahoma coaching staff is not about the hard sell with recruits, according to Anderson. And thatâs something that he appreciated during his Sunday conversations with Sooner coaches.
âAfter that, (Coach Wright) told me everyone wanted me to come to OU, but he didnât want me to make a commitment to anyone until I knew thatâs the school I wanted to go to,â Anderson explained. âI really felt comfortable about all that.â
After his meeting with Wright, Anderson headed to the big manâs office. And once again, Stoops immediately broke down any preconceived notions.
âIt made me feel real good inside because this is a guy, who really when I first saw him, I didnât think he was that type of person to be honest,â said Anderson. âI thought he was one of those cocky coaches that had a lot of success early and acted like he couldnât lose. Thatâs how I thought he was and he wasnât like that at all. He was a real nice guy and he acted like he meant what he said.â
Anderson is happy to share a further glimpse of what that last meeting with Coach Stoops offered.
âI talked to Coach Stoops and he shows me rings and watches and national championship rings, and I thought, âOh my goodness, this stuff is huge! This stuff is great!â Anderson explained.
âHe talks to me and asks how the trip was and I said it was fun and everyone made me feel welcome,â he continued. âHe 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 didnât care (what position) I played,
he just wants me to come and be a Sooner.
âThat basically was our conversation.â
With that, Anderson was on his way to catch his flight. At least until he was stopped by one last coach â defensive coordinator Brent Venables â who had a final word or two to share.
âI 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,â said Anderson.
Apparently, Venables got a little carried away during their chat. Then Andersonâs 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.
âI get there and they tell me itâs too late and they told me I was going to have to run. Iâm running down the way to try and get to the airplane and when I got there they told me I had barely made it,â said Anderson.
Anderson didnât 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.
âRight now, Oklahomaâs No. 1 on my list because my visit was great and I had a good time,â said Anderson. âOklahoma Stateâs No. 2 because I havenât visited them yet. It could change after my visit.â
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.
âMe making a decision after the OSU visit? Maybe, maybe not, because I have to see how things go,â 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?
âThose little things like making me feel welcome and the little things like being good people â I saw that everywhere,â said Anderson.
âEverywhere 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.â
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.