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January 21, 2012

Sanchez Ready to See Norman

One of the most difficult aspects of any coaching change, particularly near National Signing Day, is trying to create a seamless transition of recruiting targets from one coach to another. That transition is only magnified when you seem to be identifying new targets almost daily - as Oklahoma has over the past few weeks.

As Zack Sanchez visited Oklahoma for their 2011 junior day it may be a bit of a reach to call him an entirely new prospect, but what is new is his offer from the Sooners. Interestingly it came from a, now, former Sooner assistant.

"Coach (Brent) Venables called me about a week and a half ago saying that they had offered me and then after that coach Bob Stoops called me and we talked," Sanchez said.

It was Venables' quasi-replacement that put the call into Sanchez even prior to the 13-year Sooner assistant leaving to take the defensive coordinator job at Clemson.

"The next day I talked to coach Mike Stoops and we've been in contact the most since then," he said. "Actually, Mike Stoops came to the school last Tuesday, he is really the one I've been talking to."

While other recruits are a bit worried about the newness of everything in Oklahoma's defensive staff, for Sanchez he says it's something that could be to his advantage.

"He is back, so everything is new to him as well, as it is for me. It would be good, you know his first year is my first year, I'd be with him and we'd be growing together," he explained. "But he is a real cool coach, you can tell he is a high intensity guy."

No one would doubt the 6-foot, 172-pound Sanchez's assessment of the newly hired Sooner defensive coordinator but some might be surprised with the way Stoops handled their meeting.

"He didn't pound me, didn't go on about why this is why OU is better than Baylor. He talked about why he came back, expectations beyond the field, and just finding what is the best fit for me," he said.

"That was huge for me, you would expect him to come in, with me be committing to Baylor, and really get down on him. The fact he didn't - it told me this guy is real, it says a lot about him."

However, as should be no surprise to Sooner fans who have gotten accustomed to the wire-to-wire recruiting of the Baylor Bears, don't expect Art Briles bunch to take this lying down - particularly with Sanchez headed to Waco this weekend.

"They told me that they are going to fight for me and they aren't mad, they expected schools were going to come in late, so they weren't surprised especially with the kind of senior season I had," he explained. "They just want me to think about it, and not move fast and I told them I wouldn't.

"I told coach Stoops I was going to think about it, they've handled it pretty well, they kind of expected it to happen. They want me at Baylor obviously."

In spite of a heavy Dallas influence on Oklahoma's roster Sanchez says most of the players that he knows are not from the Lone Star state. He met Sooner commitment Sterling Shepard during last year's Army junior combine and knows of guys like Derrick Woods and Trey Metoyer but says he doesn't know either personally.

So with his visit scheduled for Jan. 27, how does he plan to handle any type of announcement or ceremony?

"I'll come back and the coaches, I'll call both coaches and everyone will know my decision and if I'm not sure before National Signing Day, it may be a surprise it may be a surprise. If I'm not able to put it out there, I'll just do it on Signing day," Sanchez explained.

"It's not a big thing for me, doing the publicity thing."


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