OSU stars could have been Sooners

NORMAN, Okla. -- At one point in his life, Brandon Weeden envisioned himself wearing crimson and cream. The Oklahoma State quarterback had two schools in mind when he decided to quit professional baseball and play college football:

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

So Weeden made a call to both in-state programs. The response from OU was quick and decisive.

"I threw my offer out there and they wanted no part of it," said Weeden, who has passed for 4,111 yards and 34 touchdowns with 12 interceptions for the Cowboys this season.

His top receiving target knows exactly how that blow to the ego felt. Justin Blackmon, the 2010 Biletnikoff Award winner, had visions of lighting up the Owen Field scoreboard as well.

"There was a time where maybe I thought [I would play at OU]," Blackmon said. "But not too seriously."

Oklahoma decided not to offer the Plainview, Okla., standout, as the Sooners weren't sure the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Blackmon would develop into the athletic, strong pass-catcher who now terrorizes defensive backs throughout the Big 12.

OU wasn't an option, so Blackmon and Weeden had to move on. Independently, each set his eyes on Stillwater.

And Oklahoma State took them both in with open arms.

Cowboys coach Mike Gundy wanted to recruit Weeden during his high school days at Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe, so Gundy didn't hesitate when the player inquired about walking on.

"I really liked him then," Gundy said of Weeden, who was drafted out of high school and signed with the New York Yankees. "I remember wanting to recruit him then but knowing it was going to be a waste of time."

Even back then, Weeden had the arm strength and accuracy that has made him a Heisman Trophy candidate this year.

"We didn't really recruit him but we kept him on the list," Gundy said. "When they said Brandon Weeden called, I remembered right then."

To be fair, no one can fault the Sooners for turning away Weeden. As good as he is or was, OU didn't go wrong with Sam Bradford and Landry Jones -- one No. 1 overall NFL draft pick and one projected NFL first-round pick -- running OU's offense.

"That will be a deal when I'm done here," Weeden said of being turned down. "Anytime [that happens] ... just being a competitor ... that will add some fuel to the fire."

While Weeden not starring in Norman is understandable, in hindsight the Sooners flat-out missed on Blackmon.

Though there's no guarantee he would have signed with OU, he didn't get the chance. He was never offered a scholarship. Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops told reporters before last season's Bedlam game that he regretted not recruiting Blackmon harder.

"Once I started getting looked at by OSU, I knew I was coming here," said Blackmon, who has 103 receptions for 1,241 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2011.

Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, OU's passing game coordinator and receivers coach when Blackmon was being recruited, expressed interest in the standout receiver, but ultimately decided to go in another direction. The Sooners signed receivers Jameel Owens, Josh Jarboe and Dejuan Miller in their 2008 class. Only Miller is still on the team.

While Sumlin stopped recruiting Blackmon, Oklahoma State's then-receivers coach Gunter Brewer went in the opposite direction.

"Brewer went to watch him play basketball and he kept saying he's athletic as all get out," Gundy said. "We thought he was very athletic, and once he got into our weight program for 12 or 18 months his body would change, and that's what happened.

"He wasn't as fast as he should be but he had great body control, great hands, he was a smart kid with a good attitude and good raising. When we put in his highlight tape, he kept making play after play after play."

Sadly for Sooners fans, those plays will be made for the Cowboys on Saturday.

Brandon Chatmon covers University of Oklahoma sports and recruiting for SoonerNation. He can be reached at bchatmonespn@gmail.com.

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