Tight end Jason Llewellyn knew in his gut Oklahoma was the place for him

As his offer list blew up, the Sooners stood out due to the family atmosphere and Lincoln Riley’s creativity with tight ends
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Good things come to those who wait.

Tight end Jason Llewellyn knows that better than most.

Earning no major offers through his first two years of high school, the Aledo, TX, product finally began to see the offers roll in at the conclusion of his junior season.

“That’s always been my dream, to play college football,” Llewellyn said. “I’ve put in countless hours just working on stuff.

“When all these offers and attention starting coming in for me, it was kind of like, finally all this work I’ve put in has finally been recognized. But at the same time, it was just the most humbling thing ever.”

Once the offers starting, they didn’t stop. Over the course of the last three months, Llewellyn drew the attention of Rice, Michigan State, Indiana, Baylor, Texas Tech, Arkansas, TCU, Oklahoma State, Utah, Michigan, Texas, Kansas State and Oklahoma, among others.

But for Llewellyn, the Sooners just felt different. A short six days after receiving his official offer from the OU staff, Llewellyn announced his verbal commitment to Oklahoma.

“I’ve followed Oklahoma football my whole life,” he said. “Especially over the last few years. Obviously Oklahoma just won the Big 12 Championship again, like the sixth year in a row, and they have been to the College Football Playoffs and they just build this program up to a top-notch program.

“They use their tight ends a lot and have a very high-powered offense; it’s very appealing to a recruit or tight end like myself.”

What really stood out to Llewellyn once he started talking with the Sooner coaches extensively was the family atmosphere.

“They’re all just very family friendly and you can tell they’re all good people,” Llewellyn said. “A lot of people that are on the staff now were former athletes that went to Oklahoma and they all have come back to be a coach or be able to just work at Oklahoma. And so that spoke something to say obviously it must be a special place. It must have some kind of magic, so to say, for all of these people to want to come back and love it so much to come back and work for you.”

Llewellyn said he’s been able to build a really good relationship with new tight end/H-back coach Joe Jon Finley since OU offered him a scholarship.

“I’ve talked to him almost every day,” he said. “He has that same kind of really good family friendly feel as the rest of the staff has, and I really enjoyed him knowing that he played tight end for Oklahoma.”

Finley’s time in the NFL as a player allowed him to get some of the best coaching, and he can bring that experience back to college football, Llewellyn said.

“He has a lot of knowledge, information that he’s gained over the years that he can definitely shed light onto me,” he said.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Llewellyn hasn’t been able to visit the OU campus yet, but he enjoyed a virtual visit with the staff. He’s had virtual visit experiences with Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma, but the Sooners stood out.

Jason Llwewllyn 

Jason Llwewllyn 

“They were all very well set up and thought out and I thought they all did a great job,” he said. “(Oklahoma) put an interesting twist on it and I liked it a lot.

“It was just a very cool way that they did it versus the other people, and it was very engaging.”

Llewellyn described an experience similar to the videos OU released on National Signing Day, with the coaches helping tour the facilities like they were in a video game.

Already making a name for himself as a versatile tight end, Llewellyn said Lincoln Riley, Cale Gundy and Finley envision him doing a bit of everything in the talks he’s had with them so far.

“They see that I’m a guy that can do everything. That can be in on the line blocking and working with the tackles,” he said. “Or in the slot or flex out wide, anywhere that they want to put me. And they know that I can get the job done.”

Llewellyn mentioned Mark Andrews as a Sooner tight end already in the league, but his biggest influences are Jason Witten, George Kittle and Travis Kelce.

“Living in Texas my whole life I’ve been a big (Dallas) Cowboys fan, obviously, so watching Jason Witten growing up, that was someone I looked up to at that position,” Llewellyn said. “But then through recent years, George Kittle and Travis Kelce, you know, those two guys are some of the best to do it.”

He said he likes to study Kittle’s ability as a blocker, and Kelce’s route running.

Getting better hasn’t been easy over the past year, but Llewellyn was able to help Aledo win its second straight state title and 10th overall this season.

Aledo, like many teams across the country, didn’t even know if they’d get to play.

"We really took it day by day,” he said. “We just played it by ear, day by day. Every opportunity we got to workout or practice, or you know, go up to the facilities and get something done, we took advantage of it. We worked our tails off every day.”

Through the entire process, both the high school season and the recruiting process, Llewellyn’s family has remained supportive.

A legacy at TCU, where his dad Paul played linebacker and his mother Cynthia also is an alumna, he said his parents have let him carve his own path.

“They just said, ‘Find the right place for you; we’re gonna support you whatever your decision ends up being,’ ” he said. “They’ve been so supportive and amazing.”

Though the process has picked up over the last couple of months, Llewellyn said he just knew OU would be the school for him.

"Since I got offered, talking all day and building those relationships," he said, "I could just tell. I got that gut feeling that this was the place for me."