- Bob Przybylo, Reporter, RecruitingNation
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Three-star running back David Smith (Midlothian, Ill./Bremen) was set with his decision in December. He had made four official visits and West Virginia was the clear leader.
But as soon as Oklahoma reached out, everything was thrown out the window. The next month was a whirlwind for Smith as he got to know OU running backs coach Cale Gundy better. Any questions Smith had about the Sooners were wiped away with a great official visit last weekend.
He punctuated the crazy 30-day period by verbally committing to the Sooners on Tuesday afternoon in a special ceremony at Bremen High. He chose the Sooners over the Mountaineers.
"West Virginia was the leader. I'm happy [Oklahoma] came in," Smith said. "I feel like everything happens for a reason. I just had a heck of a feeling for OU. I'm happy to be a Sooner, man."
That feeling was never more evident than Tuesday as Smith was overwhelmed by emotion several times and at a loss for words when asked about his decision.
For Smith, OU was always just a dream. Despite not growing up in the area, the Sooners always had been one of those special schools.
He liked the school so much that he emailed the coaching staff when he was a sophomore to let them know he was interested, but he never heard back.
The Sooners, however, never forgot about the tailback. And when Oklahoma lost three running backs to transfer this season, Smith was among the first prospects the staff reached out to to get a feel for his interest.
No running back was more interested than Smith, who started talking with Gundy just before the holidays. When describing his relationship with Gundy, Smith said he is a straight shooter, he's real. That feeling with Gundy translated to the rest of the OU family.
"The hardest part is taking each trip and trying to find out what's real about the schools," Smith said. "I know once I [attend Oklahoma] it definitely won't be the case. I tried to find all the real things at each campus.
"At OU, everything was, like, perfect."
Smith, 6-foot and 197 pounds, said he had a great time on his official visit to OU last weekend. He spent the first part of Saturday sitting in between Gundy and head coach Bob Stoops at a Sooners basketball game. He spent part of the night with fullback Trey Millard and quarterback Landry Jones as the duo helped show him what it's going to be like when he steps on campus.
It was obvious that OU meant a lot to Smith well before the visit. Early last week Smith named the Sooners and the Mountaineers as his two finalists despite having never been to Oklahoma.
Smith also visited Purdue, Boston College and Cincinnati. Gundy had an in-home visit with Smith two weeks ago where Smith was officially offered and the visit was set up.
Smith only rushed for 533 yards and six touchdowns as a senior, but he wasn't in a system that brought out the best of his abilities, he said. The offense didn't showcase his playmaking skills in open space and his top-flight speed. He is excited about getting that opportunity now.
"It's actually a pretty good thing over there as a tailback coming in," he said. "I know I'm going to have to work. That's not a problem. I'm ready to compete."
Smith's commitment gives the Sooners three running back commits for the class of 2012 although more could be on the way. He joins the fourth-ranked running back in the nation,Alex Ross (Jenks, Okla./Jenks), and three-star prospect Daniel Brooks (Port Lavaca, Texas/Calhoun).
OU will also welcome junior college prospectDamien Williams (San Diego/Arizona Western College) this weekend on an official visit and has also offered Boston College commit Akeel Lynch (Athol Springs, N.Y./St. Francis).
Lynch said Tuesday that Smith's commitment does not change anything for him. He was supposed to make an official visit with Smith but was unable to make the trip because of inclement weather. Lynch said he still plans to take an official visit although no rescheduled date has been set.
Smith is the 19th member of the 2012 class and the 14th on offense. Smith said one of the biggest things he has been looking for is that home away from home feeling. His search is ending in Norman, Okla, and he couldn't be happier.
"So many kids dream about playing at OU, but I'm going to actually do it," Smith said. "That's going to be me out there. It's the greatest feeling in the world.
Bob Przybylo covers football and basketball recruiting for SoonerNation. He can be reached at email@example.com. Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com contributed to this report.
Three-star Illinois running back David Smith chose Sooners over West Virginia at ceremony Tuesday