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March 31, 2012

Bryant Commits and Shocks Everyone, Including Himself

There were two things that Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heritage School Greg Bryant and everyone else in the recruiting knew coming into his unofficial visit to Oklahoma this weekend, he'd be there on Friday, and he wasn't going to commit.

Well, Bryant said after spending about 36 hours in Norman he simply couldn't think of any reason not to.

The nation's No. 23 overall player and No. 4 running back took the trip with his cousin, uncle, and father and admits that when he arrived the idea of committing was the furthest thing from his mind.

"Yeah, I committed," Bryant, a four-star, admitted. "It just snuck up on me, I came in thinking I wasn't going to commit. I was planning to wait until signing day but as I stayed there it just made it seem like Oklahoma was the place for me.

"Just spending time there and feeling comfortable, listening to what coaches had to say, watching practice and that made me see that I could be there and that it's the place to be."

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound back made the announcement just after Oklahoma's Saturday scrimmage and the first person to know was none other than Sooners head coach Bob Stoops.

"I went to go get some Oklahoma clothes that I could wear back to Florida and when I got back I told him right on the field," he recalled.

"He was happy and he started hugging me and he yelled for the players and the players, they came in a circle and when he told them everybody went crazy."

Unlike many official visitors Bryant actually had some time to spend around the Sooner players, most notably ace player-recruiter Kenny Stills, and he says that after things settled down the message from the players was the same as it had been before hand.

"They were just telling me that it's a place that they show you a lot of love and it's all about Oklahoma football in that state and it's a good environment to be in," he explained.

The man largely responsible for Oklahoma getting Bryant on campus is Sooner running backs coach Cale Gundy. But Stoops didn't want to spoil the moment of the long-time Sooner assistant and his prize target, instead choosing to let Bryant inform Gundy.

"Actually he wasn't there when I committed, then he came up walking, and he didn't have any idea and Stoops told me to tell him what I told him and that's when he started going crazy," Bryant laughed.

Since SoonerScoop.com broke the news of Bryant's commitment earlier this afternoon there has been wild speculation about just how solid Bryant's commitment might be and if there could be future visit plans. Such chatter was something he shot down quickly.

"I'm done with recruiting, this is what I needed so I can focus on my high school team, my academics, and just my senior year. I know I'm definitely going to be going to Oklahoma, that's why I committed," Bryant stated.

For many running backs the appeal of playing for Oklahoma has long been the chance to be the 'next Adrian Peterson' but after the emergence of Demarco Murray for the Dallas Cowboys last season that recruiting tool has become two-fold for the Sooner coaching staff.

"While I was there, watch some highlights of Adrian Peterson, Demarco Murray," Bryant said. "Actually, earlier the coaches said I can catch out of the backfield and either way they are going to get the ball in my hands. Coach Gundy said I remind him of Demarco and Stoops said Adrian Peterson."

While the people around Norman were a big element of his decision he admits that when he returns to Norman he'll have a new vocabulary to get his head around.

"On the visit I got to walk around and chill with the players and actually education wise I spoke to the academic counselor and we went on a tour and then we were just watching practice," he said. "Talking to (Kenny Stills), he didn't have to tell me nothing, it was just telling me how everything is, it's different, it's way different from Florida, but I like it. For one, they talk way different, it's a whole new language (laughing)."

But the language barrier is something Stills can certainly help Bryant with, that is if Stills remains for his final year in Norman in the 2013 season. If he doesn't, that may also be to Bryant's advantage as he'll hope to grab Stills' No. 4 during his time in Norman.

"Oh yeah, that's a lucky number, I've got to have that talk with him," Bryant chuckled.

A big part of going so far from home is the support of a recruit's family, and apparently that's not something the Sooner staff will have to worry about in regard to Bryant's father who joined him in Norman over the weekend.

"Oh my dad, he loved it, he helped me make the decision. He went on some of the tours with me and saw everything, he said it's going to be hard to see me but he said it's no big deal and that I have a big future at Oklahoma," he said.

With a decision made, Bryant will now turn his focus to leading his American Heritage School to a second straight state title in 2012 with a roster he says is 'better than last year'. However, he knows that all year long he will be hearing about how he should have stayed in Florida to play his college ball.

"I already got some texts, 'I can't believe you're not going to Florida and Florida State', stuff like that. But I'm ready for it, I know where I want to go," he said.


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