August 17, 2008
Calm Oku targets October
Midwest City, Okla., running back David Oku has played the recruiting game smoothly with a calm outlook at what he hopes will be a bright future. He recently trimmed his list of schools to Nebraska, Tennessee, Florida State and Louisville when he eliminated both Michigan and Illinois.
"I can't do the spread," Oku said. "People have said that it shouldn't matter what offense, but I don't like to run side to side. Most of their plays are from the shotgun. I like to be seven yards deep and run downhill."
Oku grew up a Seminoles fan and that has left many believing that the talented tailback will migrate southeast to play his college ball.
"I don't know how many people I have to tell that it does NOT matter," Oku said emphatically. "Just because I liked them as a child doesn't mean I'm definitely going there. Most fans don't see what is involved in recruiting. I'm not saying I don't like them, but everyone is even."
Tennessee is the only school that Oku has previously seen in person. He will take all five of his official visits consecutively starting on August 30th with Louisville. The following week, he'll visit Tallahassee; followed by a trip to a "secret" school on the 13th. He visits Knoxville on the 20th and rounds out his five week marathon in Lincoln, Neb., to check out the Cornhuskers on the 27th.
As for that so-called secret school, Oku gave a clue to where he'll be tripping on September 13th.
"It's a secret," Oku said. "I'm not telling anyone about it, but if they see me on campus at the game then it might get out. It's one of the most dominant schools in the nation. I will give you this hint. It's the biggest game on that weekend."
Oku is looking to make his decision sometime during October. His father is in the Army and will return home from Iraq during that same time period and Oku hopes to make the decision in front of his dad. It's a special moment that Oku is looking forward too.
"My dad is coming in from Iraq and I want to do it when he's here," Oku said. "I want to have my whole family with me. My principal won't let me do it at the school because she don't want to let all the kids out of class. If my classmates can't be there then I don't want to do it at the school.
"I've not seen my dad in forever and that's why I want do do it when he's here. I can get it done and then we can hang out a lot until he has to go back in December."
The one-on-one, relationship-building time with his dad is what Oku says that he misses the most. It will be a short amount of time, but he will be glad to get away from all of the hoopla surrounding his pending decision.
"Everyone is bugging me and it's getting old," Oku said. "Parents at my school are always asking me where I'm going. It's unreal."
Just shortly before Oku did his interview with VolQuest on Thursday night, he had been on the phone with Tennessee defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell, who serves as Oku's primary recruiter for the Vols.
"I just got done talking to coach Caldwell," Oku said. "He's so laid back and that's the way I like it. He's not a coach that tries to sway you out of every other school that's recruiting you. He doesn't say he's dying to get me like other coaches. He just says they would love to have me. He's such a laid back guy and I think that's why a lot of kids like him and he's so successful at recruiting."
Oku admitted that he doesn't like negative recruiters, citing a moment when friend and current Vol Gerald Jones was getting heavily recruited by both the Tennessee and Florida.
"That's why (Gerald) didn't like Florida," Oku said. "They just kept badmouthing Tennessee. He didn't want to hear that and I'm the same way."
Oku loves to surf the Internet, reading the message boards on different sites. He often finds himself laughing at what is said. He also likes to find out what Jones is doing during Tennessee's fall camp. New Tennessee offensive coordinator Dave Clawson has had Jones all over the field at various positions during camp and Oku has taken notice. He has spoken with Clawson on a couple of occasions and while he was in town Tennessee's annual spring Orange and White game, Oku got to see how he would fit into Clawson's offense.
"He's showed me the offense," Oku said. "We are all on the same page and that's the way I want it to be. They showed me how they would use me and I liked that."
Oku still hopes to be a mid-term enrollee, but first things first. He straps on full pads for the first time today and hits the high school football fields of Oklahoma for the final fall starting Sept. 5.
Rivals.com rates Oku as 4-star running back, the top ranked all-purpose back in the nation and 90th-best overall player in the class of 2009.
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