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Oklahoma Commit Jake Taylor Not Opening Recruiting, 'Especially to USC'

The four-star offensive lineman from Las Vegas reaffirmed his pledge to OU after Lincoln Riley's departure and told SI Sooners exactly why he's sticking with the Sooners.

This time, Jake Taylor wasn’t interested in Lincoln Riley’s sales pitch.

Taylor, a 4-star offensive lineman from Las Vegas, received a message last week from the former Oklahoma coach after Riley’s departure to USC.

Riley wanted to set up an in-home or on-campus visit with the Bishop Gorman High School senior.

Instead, Taylor said no thanks.

“I told coach that I respect his decision,” Taylor told SI Sooners, “but I will not be opening up my recruiting process, and that’s especially to USC, haha.”

The 6-foot-4, 280-pound Taylor, the No. 8-rated offensive tackle in the 2022 class, verbally committed to the Sooners on July 7, 2021.

Instead of accepting Riley’s overture, he posted a tweet that he would reaffirm his commitment to the Sooners — with the standard Horns Down photo, of course.

Taylor said news of Riley’s departure caught him completely off guard.

“I was extremely shocked when I heard the news of coach Riley leaving,” Taylor said. “I found out the news on the way to my birthday dinner. So the emotion of excitement I had for the dinner was crushed by the uncertainty of my future.

“My reaction and how I felt was almost like a two-year long relationship ended with getting cheated on.”

Taylor, who chose OU over Notre Dame and Alabama, said he leaned on a single tenet that he’s continued to live by as a priority college football recruit.

“I personally have heard throughout this entire process, never commit to a coaching staff for this exact reason,” Taylor said. “The college level is a business, so everyone will do what’s best for themselves. So I had committed to the university for the vibe and the feeling I have when I took a step on campus. It feels like home to (me).

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“Once again, I did not commit to a program for one person, so I did not even have a thought of opening up my recruiting process again. I committed to my home, regardless of which coach is leading us.”

Taylor said as of Sunday he hadn’t spoken with new coach Brent Venables yet but can’t wait to start that relationship.

“I love everything coach Venables has done with both programs, which is Oklahoma and Clemson,” he said. “I am very excited to hear the news, for I know how great and intelligent he is on this sport.

“It also provides greater chance of my position coach to stay as well, which is one of the biggest reasons for why I am excited.”

Taylor’s position coach at OU would be Bill Bedenbaugh, but Taylor said he doesn’t have any insight yet on whether Bedenbaugh will be Venables’ offensive line coach or not.

“There is no confirmation … ” he said. “Of course, this is the absolute biggest thing that I am still waiting to find out. I love that coach, and he is a guy I would love to play for. If he’s not able to stay at Oklahoma, I hope the utmost best for (Bedenbaugh) and his family.”

There’s also uncertainty about Venables’ offensive coordinator, but Taylor said he isn’t worried.

“I hope that I could be utilized in any OC’s game plan coming in,” he said.

Either way, Taylor can’t wait to sign with the Sooners next Wednesday and step onto Owen Field for the first time in a crimson and cream uniform.

“The fan base is the best in the entirety of the nation,” he said, “and they have welcomed me with arms wide open. I couldn’t be more thankful for the and how they contribute to my confidence of this decision.”

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