Oklahoma mailbag: Did facility upgrades impact Sooners’ recruiting?
DieHards wants to tackle the best questions from Oklahoma fans. Look for our Oklahoma question of the day Monday through Friday. Join the conversation by sending your questions to @john_shinn, by email to John at email@example.com or at the Oklahoma DieHards Facebook page.
Any Oklahoma fan knows it was easier to move around Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium this past season since the two-year construction project on the stadium’s south end and new Barry Switzer Center was finally complete.
Jerry Bond asks, were Oklahoma’s new athletic facilities a huge reason why they were able to recruit at a higher level this year?
The Sooners spent roughly three years building the Switzer Center, which officially opened six months ago. The state-of-the-art team and player development facilities drew raves from recruits.
“It’s has created some momentum,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said.
The upgrades were a massive selling point with recruits. Between the updated football facilities and the opening of Headington Hall in 2013, Oklahoma’s players have some of the best facilities in the country.
But recruits don’t mention the facilities as much as you’d think. Part of the reason is immaculate facilities are the norm among Power-5 Conference teams. If they don’t have something, odds are a recruit will be shown plans for it to be built while he’s there.
The Sooners just signed their second straight top-10 recruiting class for the first time since 2010. The 2017 and 2018 classes are able to enjoy the upgrades throughout their entire career.
However, winning three straight Big 12 titles, reaching the College Football Playoff for the second time in three seasons and Baker Mayfield winning the Heisman Trophy were major draws, as well.
Players like to be pampered. Who doesn’t? But a championship tradition and history of putting players in the NFL will always be major draws, too.