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June 7, 2012
No One More Surprised Than Smallwood
Of all the football factories in all of high school football Jordan Smallwood wasn't sure that Oklahoma was ever going to walk into his. Sure the Sooners were aware of him after signing his teammate, Alex Ross, in the class of 2012 - but were they ever going to give him a serious look?
The 6-foo-2, 190-pound receiver from mighty Jenks in South Tulsa went to last weekend's Oklahoma summer camp with hopes of being noticed by Sooner receivers coach Jay Norvell.
As it turns out it wasn't just Norvell who took notice of his ability.
NOTE: Make sure to expand the video by selecting the arrows in the lower right-hand corner for full high-definition resolution.
"The coaches took me out of camp and showed me around the place and the campus and all of that stuff since I was leaving early," Smallwood said. "They told me really liked me so we want to show you around and get you to some games.
"Honestly, I didn't take it that seriously because they were talking about how they only had two spots open. I was just hoping that they would wait so they could see how I do and now they've offered."
After attending the camp, Smallwood clearly came away not expecting much in the near future from the Sooners. Then on Thursday afternoon his offensive coordinator Dub Maddox let the world know, via Twitter, that the Sooners had offered Smallwood.
Interestingly there was one person who wasn't aware.
"I didn't know all day. I guess my coaches knew and didn't want to tell me while we were practicing," he laughed.
"When they told me I was shocked, I just couldn't believe it."
But when he did find out, he wasted little time getting in touch with the head Sooner and letting him know of his desire to head to Norman.
"I just got done talking to coach Bob Stoops about 30 minutes ago. I talked to him and just great things came out of it," he said. "I've already committed, I already let them know.
"He said that now that I've got you, you've got to be a man of your word, a lot of schools are going to come in hot and say you've got to do this and got to do that, but I'm there, so it's a good thing, he was excited and we just talked after that."
Obviously Stoops' decisive nature in handling Smallwood's recruitment was a bonus for the three-star pass-catcher. However, he is aware that it's Norvell who he'll spend most of his time around in Norman. So what type of relationship do the future mentor and protégé currently have?
"I've been talking to him for a couple of days, he is a cool guy. When I was at camp we were just cracking some jokes, and I wanted to get to know him. This season wise hopefully I can get some trips to games in," he explained.
The development between the spring of his sophomore year and this spring has been nothing short of miraculous, not only has Smallwood put on some serious muscle but has become a stronger route runner and looks more explosive than ever before.
Is it simply a natural maturation or has Smallwood made a concerted effort to improve his game?
"Man, it's all hard work, that was the whole name of the thing, a lot of things happened after last year. I knew it was time to step up and do what we do best and finish this year strong, I really took it seriously, over the years I have, tried to gain the weight I needed to gain and speed wise, that was my really big thing, me coming out faster than I was last year," Smallwood stated.
"Oklahoma, they said I'm a real big guy, they like my size, and I'm real quick and I've gotten faster than I was last year. That's what they were talking about. Also they said I'm good kid, people always say good things about me and that they like guys like that at the school. I'm not for sure how they'll use me yet but hopefully they can use me at a lot of positions."
It's a dream that Smallwood is still getting his head around that he is living.
"This is actually the school I've always wanted to go to, I didn't think I was going to get looked at. I hoped they would look at me, and when they said something and told me this. It was a moment when I knew, dreams do come true," he said.
"I was surprised, I'm not going to lie. I mean I've got this whole nation of great players and I was just hoping to get a chance to get one (scholarship offer). Now though, this is it, I don't have to worry about anything else and can just focus on high school and my team."
Though Smallwood admits he is surprised, it's not due to a lack of talent or anything that says he wasn't worthy of the attention he sought - and had not previously received - from a major program. Smallwood might not fit into the mold of the big vertical receiver nor the slippery slot receiver - but while many wonder what role that might leave him tethered to, he says the lack of clarity of a position simply makes him multi-faceted.
"I think it helps a lot, I can do this and I can do that, when people have that skill I have another skill and I can use that to my advantage. I try to use that; I might not be the fastest, or the biggest and just try and improve it. I just try and go off of that; I just have to get bigger and stronger. The best way I can."
Smallwood, who learned of his offer and made his commitment while at a team camp in Bentonville, Ark. and as of yet hasn't had a chance to see his parents and revel in the excitement of his decision.
"I'm not for sure what's next, I'm just trying to enjoy this. Hopefully getting to share all this with my family. I already talked to them and they said they are proud of me. We just talked about, I've just to use this, and you've got to keep your standards high. I've got a reputation now, people can say this or that but I have to do the right things - I have to watch my surroundings."