July 29, 2013

Windham: 'I've Got Fans'





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Each and every year Oklahoma seems to claim a commitment from out of left field who many assume will waiver or elect to stay closer to home. And while sometimes those cases prove true, as often as not the player ends up donning the Crimson and Cream. The class of 2014's version of this story is Gulfport (Miss.) Harrison Central Tito Windham who committed to the Sooners in mid-May just two days after Oklahoma chose to offer the Magnolia State product.

In fact many schools, including Florida State and Southern Miss, have remained in contact with the 5-foot-11, 181-pound prospect and are hoping he can be the player to turn away from the Sooners.

"It's kind of the same, everybody talks to me," Windham said admitting he'd just been speaking with the coaches from Southern Miss. "I ain't going to ignore them, I'm not going to change my commitment."

That being said, to date Windham says there has never been any doubt as to where he'll end up and as such recently set up his official visit to Norman for Oklahoma's West Virginia game weekend on Sept. 6.

"It was the game, I always just liked watching West Virginia play because they had Tavon Austin, the receiver, and the quarterback (Geno Smith). I used to like West Virginia," he said.

The state of Mississippi's current No. 20 overall prospect has helped build his name due to an impressive camp performance earlier this month.

"There have been a lot of reporters too, I got an MVP at a 247 camp and after that a lot of people have been hitting me up," he recalled. "I just wanted to go out there, I had heard some comments and any time I get a chance I'm going to play.

"I wasn't surprised by the (reported 4.39-second 40-yard dash time). I ran it two times at another camp. I knew I was going to run it."

Prior to the camp there had been numerous questions about Oklahoma's plans for Windham - would he be a cornerback, a safety, could he work in early on special teams? His two-headed pair of Sooner assistants have given him a clear picture since the time of his commitment.

"I'm going to be strictly corner and do some return," he said. "That's what I get from (cornerbacks) coach Bobby Jack Wright and (graduate assistant) coach (Chip) Viney."

Windham mentioned budding recruiting juggernaut Ole Miss as a new school that is starting to get more and more involved in his recruitment however he remains constant that his plans to build a future in Norman are not going to be changed.

How is it that he can be so confident of a place he has never seen in person?

"I really think this is going to be my chance to get far away and there is a good chance I can come in and get early playing time, I thought it was a good idea for me and I like the coaches a lot," he said. "When I visit I just want to see the campus, I want to meet all the coaches and I want to go around and check out all the program has to offer."

A key element for many players - particularly those that fall into Windham's particular scenario - to stick is to build a relationship with current commitments and future teammates. When he committed Windham was unaware of anyone connected to Oklahoma's program but thanks to Twitter has begun to build a relationship with a fellow long-distance Sooner pledge.

"I've talked with Dallis Todd, me and him have been talking quite a bit," he said. "Also I've been talking with the safety that's committed - Marcus Green.

"I'm just trying to build a relationship, so it can get stronger, I can know who I'm playing with."

Those Twitter 'bonds' have an ever-growing role in the recruiting world, as Bob Stoops alluded to in a conversation with SoonerScoop.com recently. And though Stoops, through the school, has since backed away a bit from the comments, there is no doubt that recruits like hearing from fanbases and Windham is no different.

"Yeah, I hear from Oklahoma fans some, I probably get something mentioned to me a few times a day. Sometimes I don't respond, but sometimes I do," he said.

"I like it, because I'm like 'I've got fans'."

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