John Shinn/DieHards
Oklahoma signee Delarrin Turner-Yell brings versatility to Oklahoma's secondary.

Oklahoma recruiting: Summer visit sold Delarrin Turner-Yell on Oklahoma

Stay up to date with Oklahoma football recruiting with the latest news, notes and analysis in the daily edition of DieHards’ Wagon Wheels. In this edition, we catch up with 2018 signee 3-star safety Delarrin Turner-Yell.


Oklahoma landed gem in Delarrin Turner-Yell

HEMPSTEAD, Texas — The recruitment of safety Delarrin Turner-Yell went largely under the radar. He didn’t attend many camps to raise his stock. Turner-Yell just went about his business of being a do-everything player at Hempstead High School.

Bobcats coach Royce Young likened him to a safety valve that could keep anything from getting out of hand.

“He just has that natural go-get-’em,” Young said of Turner-Yell. “He’s going to get it done, and it doesn’t matter what it takes. He’s a tremendous leader without being vocal. He’s a kid young men follow because of the work he puts in.”

But Turner-Yell likely was headed to Baylor until he and his father took a trip to Norman in late July to see the Oklahoma campus and get to know the Sooners coaching staff.

Hempstead, a Class 3A school about 40 miles southeast of College Station and 55 miles northwest of Houston, seemed like a long way from Norman. Until he sat down with the coaching staff.

Oklahoma knew about Turner-Yell early. Hempstead defensive coordinator Plez Atkins was Oklahoma defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks’ roommate at Iowa when both went to school there in the early 1990s.

But meeting Cooks and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley last July at the ChampUBBQ changed everything for Turner-Yell. The Sunday afternoon event for recruits and their families is designed to build relationships.

“It was the first time I really got to meet the coaches. I got to see what kind of guys they were,” Turner-Yell recalled on Wednesday.

A few days later, Turner-Yell dropped his Baylor commitment. By the end August, he jumped on board the Sooners’ 2018 class.

What are the Sooners getting from the safety?

“We have a saying here that we’d rather tell you whoa then have to tell you to go,” Young said. “He’s one of those kids you have to pull the reins back on. He’ll knock himself out when it comes to making plays. He comes downhill with a purpose. It was a pleasure to coach a young man like that.”

Here are some other highlights from Turner-Yell’s interview with DieHards on Wednesday:

DieHards: If you could give a junior one piece of advice about recruiting, what would it be?
Turner-Yell: I would say stay focused. That’s really it.

DieHards: Was it hard to do that?
Turner-Yell: Not for me it wasn’t.

DieHards: Did you set up a timeline for everything to happen?
Turner-Yell: I really didn’t. I just kind of let everything happen.

DieHards: I know you were committed to Baylor before flipping to Oklahoma. Why the change?
Turner-Yell: OU actually offered me before Baylor. Some things happened when I went on the visit to Oklahoma.

DieHards: The first visit was to Oklahoma’s annual ChampUBBQ in July? What did you like about the visit?
Turner-Yell: It was the first time I really got to meet the coaches. I got to see what kind of guys they were. Coach Cooks and Coach Riley were the main guys I talked to.

DieHards: It seems like Lincoln Riley has an ability to connect with anyone he meets. What did you notice about him?
Turner-Yell: It didn’t take long. At the barbecue, he took me up to his office and sat down with me and my dad and we had a talk. You could tell right there he was a good guy.

DieHards: How long did you and Dad discuss it after the unofficial visit?
Turner-Yell: I want to say about two weeks. After the visit, I de-committed from Baylor two or three days later.

DieHards: Was there anything else that really attracted you to Oklahoma?
Turner-Yell: It was mainly the coaches. I had a dude that I had been competing against throughout high school (Oklahoma 2018 early enrollee Jaquayln Crawford), but he went early. He was in my ear. He was there, and he asked me how I liked it. I told him I really enjoyed the trip.

DieHards: Did Crawford’s commitment impact your decision?
Turner-Yell: Not really. I didn’t want to pick a college because of the players who were there. I wanted to go because of the coaches and mainly the academics.

DieHards: How did Oklahoma sell you on playing defense in the Big 12?
Turner-Yell: I asked Coach Cooks how he coached his players. He told me the different techniques he showed them. I wanted to know how he handles a guy making a mistake. Some coaches want to jump on you and all of that. He’s not that kind of guy. Then my defensive coordinator [Atkins] was his roommate. They learned to play the same position in college. What I learned in high school is going to translate to Oklahoma because Coach Cooks is teaching the same thing. There won’t be a big learning curve for me.

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