NORMAN — Savion Byrd likes to analyze the world he’s about to sample.
Not always, of course. Having “never been outside Georgia a day in my life” as a kid, he happily hopped in the car when his mom got a new job and woke up 14 hours later in Desoto, TX. He decided to play high school football at Duncanville, TX, just by looking through a chain link fence and watching the team practice.
But for the most part, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Byrd, who was an SI All-American candidate this summer, gives consideration to most situations that come his way.
Such as recruiting during a pandemic.
“One of the most (frustrating) things is a college coach calling me,” Byrd told SI Sooners. “We’re at home 24/7. It’s not like we can just go down the street and do something (to work out). So it’s like they call you and they have nothing to talk about because — they’re at home as well.
“It’s like, ‘I’m not trying to give you the cold shoulder or anything, but I’m just being at home, just chilling.’ ”
Byrd is one of the most coveted offensive tackles in the 2021 recruiting class, so he’s gotten a lot of those phone calls. Like, a lot. With offers from Oklahoma, Texas, LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas A&M, Auburn, Florida State, hometown SMU and others, it seems like he’s been on the phone constantly lately.
And he doesn’t just answer it all the time.
“Before I answer the phone for a coach,” Byrd said, “I gotta think about it, like, ‘Do I really want to talk to him? Is he really gonna do this? Is he really gonna do that?’ Like, some days, it’s OK for a recruit to just not talk to a coach. Because some days it can be overbearing. Sometimes you just need a day off to yourself. That’s something I do.”
In the competitive business of college football, coaches must constantly sell, sell, sell. That’s how the industry works. Bottom line, they’ll be fired without good recruits. Still, it can be incredibly annoying to a 16- or 17-year-old boy.
“Just the same questions,” Byrd said. “Same questions, 24/7. People just call and call and call. And I think a lot of kids, like, recruits, they use football as their way to calm down. Or even just go to the gym. They use those type of things to calm down. But since they can’t, I feel like that’s a big factor why people hurry up and commit.”
Byrd said he has dreams of playing in the NFL, of course. But he also dreams of coaching college football. If he gets there, he’ll see recruiting from a different perspective.
But that’s OK. Byrd has been broadening his horizons ever since his mom asked if he wanted to move with her from Atlanta to the Dallas suburbs.
“I said, ‘Yeah, sure. I’ve never been to Texas,’ ” Byrd said. “I’d never been outside of Georgia a day in my life. And it was the longest drive ever. It was like 14 hours. I’m just asleep in the car one day and I wake up in the morning and I’m in Texas.”
“By the time I got to Texas, I didn’t know a thing. Like, I thought people were riding on horses, horseback, cowboy hats. It was none of that. It was just like every other place.”
Byrd said before he signed up for last weekend’s Sooner Summit, he was interested in Oklahoma — the state as well as the football program.
“There’s a lot of history in Oklahoma I’m really interested in,” he said. “Just back in the day where this was, like, this settlement. People moved here just to get the settlement. You can see it right now. It’s really all the countryside. It reminds me of Georgia and Florida mixed together.”
Byrd said when the Sooner Summit attendees took a campus tour last Friday, he was impressed by a different type of Oklahoma history.
“Went to the stadium for the first time and I was amazed,” he said. “To think of how many Heismans played there. It’s crazy.”
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