LB coach Kish closes strong for Sooners

NORMAN, Okla. -- Entering the fall, some Oklahoma fans were wondering what in the world first-year linebackers coach Tim Kish was doing.

Kish had made a big reputation as a solid recruiter during his time at Arizona. Several months into the job at OU, and he hadn’t help land any of the top Arizona recruits, had taken too long with many top Texas prospects and had some fans calling for a change.

Supporters of Kish said give it time, give him an opportunity to build the relationships with recruits and judge him from there.

If January is an indicator of what Kish is going to bring to the table in 2014, OU fans can rest easy about the stability of its linebackers coach.

One of the biggest steals of January was three-star wide receiver K.J. Young (Perris, Calif./Citrus Hill). A relative unknown, Young’s stock soared following an OU offer Dec. 27. It was the connection Kish built with Perris Citrus Hill coach Eric Zomalt that led to Zomalt reaching out to Kish to take a look at Young. The rest is history.

Kish has become OU’s go-to guy in Houston and that paid off with three-star defensive tackle Matthew Romar (Port Arthur, Texas/Memorial). Kish kept tabs on Romar throughout the fall. And when OU let Romar know it was interested, the rapport was already there.

After losing ESPN 300 linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni (Dallas/Jesuit) to Texas A&M on Jan. 6, it was imperative the Sooners not drop another linebacker.

Three-star commit Dominique Alexander (Tulsa, Okla./Booker T. Washington) made visits to Arkansas and Kansas State but opted to stick with the Sooners. When OU wanted to seal the deal, it was Kish who was sent to Tulsa for the in-home visit last week.

Defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright did an incredible job, landing ESPN 300 prospects D.J. Ward (Moore, Okla./Southmoore) and Matt Dimon (Katy, Texas/Katy), but it was such a solid closing month for Kish. And it was a necessary strong stretch for Kish to shut up some of the doubters.

Kish was also instrumental in helping Wright seal the deal with three-star defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Houston/Alief Taylor). Kish built up the rapport and then Wright closed the deal when the Sooners decided to get serious.

Kish’s mark wasn’t just found in 2013, though. He has hit the Houston area hard for 2014, and the Sooners have offered several ESPN Watch List prospects. OU won’t land them all, obviously, but Kish is making sure it’s in the conversation.