DT has one last crack at Texas

Senior McFarland, once subject of big OU-UT recruiting battle, ready for last RRS

Updated: October 11, 2012, 1:54 PM ET
By Brandon Chatmon | SoonerNation

NORMAN, Okla. -- More than four years after the most ballyhooed Red River battle for a recruit in recent memory, Jamarkus McFarland has no regrets about his decision to attend Oklahoma.

"I've had no serious injuries and I've had a great experience here," McFarland said. "I've met some of my best friends I'll have forever in my life. I feel like I made the right decision, it's been home for me and I've had nothing but positives. It's all turned out well."

[+] EnlargeJamarkus McFarland
Jackson Laizure/Getty ImagesDefensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland is one of the keys to the Sooners slowing down Texas' running attack.
The Sooners defensive tackle was one of the nation's top recruits in the Class of 2009, and the battle between OU and Texas for his services was documented on various websites and in newspapers across the country.

"I laugh at it because I took it so serious then," McFarland said. "It wasn't as intense as I took it as. I feel like I would have had more fun with it if I could have done it all over again because I was 18 and looking at this as a big change in my life and looking at it messing up my life if I made the wrong decision.

"I couldn't have went wrong with any choice when it came down to it."

His lone regret is how he handled the recruiting process.

"Have fun with it, man," McFarland said. "It's not that serious. I was depressed over it and everything and me and my family had some arguments on some stuff. But it's all fun and games."

McFarland eventually picked the Sooners, thanks in large part to the relationship he had developed with Jackie Shipp. It was a huge recruiting win for OU over Texas, LSU and others.

The senior has had a up-and-down career since stepping onto campus with lofty expectations on his shoulders. Playing in the shadows of Gerald McCoy, Tommie Harris and other former standout defensive tackles in Norman, McFarland has been solid but not spectacular. He has started 14 of 40 career games and has tallied 62 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks.

In his final season, however, McFarland has stepped up his production. He has started all four games, compiling 11 tackles -- including three tackles for loss -- and a team-high two sacks, already more than he recorded in any other season during his career.

He added the first interception of his career last week against Texas Tech.

Now, as he prepares for the final Red River Shootout of his career, McFarland wants to end his career with three consecutive wins over UT.

"Right now, it's a totally different feeling than last year," McFarland said. "It's exciting for me, it's my last chance. I've watched guys since my freshman year, this game is the one they want to go out with a win, they want to win it.

"It's one of those games you take a picture after. It's not just a regular win, it's something you live with for the rest of your life. Being the last time I get to play, I want to leave with a sweet taste in my mouth, not sour."

To do that, McFarland will have to play extremely well. OU's defensive interior has taken a lot of criticism this season as the Sooners have struggled to be consistently disruptive in opponents' backfields. If that changes Saturday, OU's chances of winning undoubtedly will increase.

It's the last opportunity for McFarland, who has just two career tackles against the Longhorns, to leave a lasting memory in the minds of Texas fans that doesn't involve the recruiting process.

It's also the last opportunity for the Texas native to leave his mark on one of college football's best rivalries, and to tattoo a lasting memory of his final RRS performance in the minds of Sooners fans.

"I'd like to make more plays but when you're playing teams like that you can't be selfish -- you have to play like a unit," McFarland said of his play against the Longhorns. "It's bragging rights, the gold hat, all of that. I've done my part but at the same time I would like to stand out more and make plays.

"That's everybody's dream, to make history and be on that highlight tape in the future."

Brandon Chatmon | email

Oklahoma/Big 12 reporter