Stilwell (Kan.) Blue Valley offensive tackle Clay Rhodes is becoming a pro at the whole thanks-but-no-thanks thing. He's had his share of practice. Since committing to Missouri on May 2, the calls from coaches haven't slowed. He's fielded them from Oregon, Nebraska and others and rattles off the same canned response every time.
Well, except in one case.
Oklahoma doesn't get the standard dismissive treatment from the 6-foot-6 lineman. Instead, the Sooners have been welcomed with open arms. The Mizzou commit has visited the OU campus once before and now that he has a scholarship offer he's thinking he might like to do so again. You know, just to make sure.
"If I am going to take a visit anywhere that's not Missouri, it's going to be Oklahoma," Rhodes said. "It's just because I liked it so much the first time. But right now I'm 100-percent Missouri."
Rhodes never misses a chance to restate that fact that his commitment to the Tigers is solid. Outside of his lingering interest in Oklahoma, he has no desire to hear from other schools. So what is it about Bob Stoops' program that has earned OU the chance to make a serious pitch?
"It's just a great opportunity," Rhodes said. "I've visited a lot of schools and they had trophy cases. When you go to Oklahoma, they have a whole room.
"I haven't really decided if I'm going back there yet. I've talked about it and thought about it. I'm just going to see how everything plays out."
Obviously no date for a visit to Norman has been set. Rhodes isn't even totally sure that he'll schedule the trip at all. He'll wait until after the season to broach that topic. For now, he's concentrating on his senior season and the approaching state playoffs.
Only after his high school career is over will he look into playing the role of prize in a Big 12-SEC recruiting battle. "One thing at a time." That's the mantra.
"I really don't know what I'm going to do," Rhodes said. "Having an offer from Oklahoma is great opportunity. It's just wonderful. I'm just really trying to focus on my football team right now."
OU assistant Bruce Kittle is spearheading the Sooners' recruitment of Rhodes.