- Bob Przybylo, Reporter, RecruitingNation
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Offensive tackle Dalton Rodriguez (Tulsa, Okla./Union) was all set to be the fifth commitment for Oklahoma's 2013 recruiting class. But a Friday afternoon conversation with four-star athlete Stanvon Taylor (Tulsa, Okla./East Central) changed things. Because Taylor decided to jump the gun and commit before him. Taylor's talk with Rodriguez swayed the cornerback, who committed to OU on Friday night.
Rodriguez will have to settle for being the sixth commitment as he announced his pledge to the Sooners on Saturday afternoon to a Tulsa radio station.
"I was looking for the school that was the right fit for me and what I'm trying to do," Rodriguez told ESPN.com. "The coaching staff is incredible. I loved my visit [to Oklahoma], and I had a great feeling."
No in-state prospect's stock has soared more than Rodriguez -- who wasn't on OU's radar initially -- since the beginning of the calendar year. Tulsa and Texas Tech stepped up to offer him first, and then he started to receive more attention from across the country. With family on the West Coast, Rodriguez was looking at schools such as Arizona State and UCLA, but a visit to OU for its March junior day changed everything.
At 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds, Rodriguez plays defensive end for the Redskins. Based on his large frame, however, the Sooners have him pegged as a future offensive tackle in college, even though he hasn't played tackle since junior high.
Rodriguez picked up an offer from Oklahoma State last month -- as a defensive end -- despite having never seen the campus. But things changed for good Monday when OU offensive tackles coach Bruce Kittle stopped by practice and offered him later in the day.
Rodriguez said the OU offer felt different, but he still wasn't ready to commit. He wanted to see OSU's campus, but then he realized his heart was with the Sooners.
"I want to be a part of the tradition," he said. "The facilities are some of the best in the nation. They know how to win."
Offensive tackle is a major position of need for OU as the Sooners are expected to take at least three for this class. With no tackles committed entering the spring evaluation period, it was evident the six-week stretch was going to be busy for Kittle, who has offered a handful of tackles in the last two weeks and now has his first commit at the spot.
When Oklahoma high school spring football starts on May 14, Rodriguez isn't sure where he will play, now that he knows his future is on offense. Tulsa Union is the four-time defending Class 6A state champions so all Rodriguez knows is winning. He would like to get a chance at tackle, and he should have a better idea of what position he will play his senior season after spring football is over.
The plan, Rodriguez said, is for some younger players to get a chance to step up at tackle. If nobody can produce, Rodriguez will get his wish.
Rodriguez is the third in-state commitment for the class, joining Taylor and defensive end D.J. Ward (Lawton, Okla./Lawton).