Like many recruitniks with a dog in the hunt, I got caught up in the pursuit of wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, the mythically talented Missourian considered the best prep prospect in the 2012 class, in hopes that he'd go Sooner.
It turned into one of the more fascinating recruiting battles that I can remember. It's not often that the nation's most prodigious talent hails from the Show Me State. The fact that he and his family played the game so close to the vest helped build something of a mystique around him, sparking tall tales, rumor-mongering and rampant speculation about where DGB would end up. Add in a Blind Side-like backstory, and it makes for a pretty compelling story.
Not surprisingly, his family's recruiting memoir set plenty of tons wagging. I didn't find anything in it particularly objectionable, but, no matter how benign, a tell-all article is the kind of thing almost sure to piss off fans of any program involved. Factor in that Thayer Evans was the name on the byline, and, well, y'all remember.
(I'm efforting to get Evans on for a podcast.)
When Stoops discusses recruiting, he frequently leans on the mantra that he and his staff "get the players they're supposed to get." I've never been more convinced he's right than after reading that article.
One could read the DGB Chronicles and take it as a lesson that Stoops and his staff need to re-evaluate how they approach recruiting. Something about OU's presentation clearly didn't work for the Beckhams. Maybe next time the coaches should try to get a better read on the parents and soften things up around the edges – work on better tailoring their message to fit the situation.
That's like telling Mack Brown that he needs to drop the "Mr. Picture" persona and put on his Nick Saban game face. It sounds like a good idea in theory, but it just wouldn't work.
Ultimately, you are who you are. It takes plenty of self-assurance to embrace that in an endeavor like recruiting, because there is no one-size-fits-all strategy that will appeal to every prospect you come across. You have to be willing to accept that some of your targets simply won't mesh with your personality.
Clearly, the Beckhams weren't blown away by OU's vibe during the recruiting process. Furthermore, Arkansas and Missouri both offered DGB's brother a scholarship, which Stoops apparently isn't down with. That was all she wrote for the Sooners.
Would OU have had a better chance had Stoops approached things differently? Probably so, but it doesn't really matter. Stoops just doesn't roll that way.
Even if it costs OU a DGB.