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Why QB Brendan Zurbrugg's Winding Path to Oklahoma was a 'Blessing'

The talented dual-threat star from Ohio was one of two quarterbacks to sign with the Sooners last week.

The excitement of National Signing Day also brought a huge sigh of relief for incoming Oklahoma quarterback Brendan Zurbrugg.

Standing 6-foot-3, the product of Alliance, OH, is one of two quarterbacks in OU’s 2024 signing class, joining Michael Hawkins Jr.

And though the end of the recruitment process that eventually landed him in Norman has Zurbrugg thrilled, he battled through plenty of uncertainty.

The dual threat initially committed to Syracuse, but he later changed his verbal pledge to Northwestern.

Scandal then struck in Evanston, ushering a coaching change for the Wildcats and again opening Zurbrugg’s recruitment, where Oklahoma then pounced.

“Syracuse was kind of the first Power 5 school to really offer me,” Zurbrugg told AllSooners in an exclusive interview prior to National Signing Day. “ … I was ready to commit because it was my first Power 5. It was an opportunity I really didn’t want to lose because, you know, quarterbacks at any given moment,, somebody could commit before and all of a sudden it’s gone. That was the idea behind that.

“And then a week — the night actually of my official visit at Syracuse I got a call from Northwestern offered me. I was kind of hesitant to go on the visit because I’m kind of a loyalty guy. It doesn’t sound like it with three schools, but I’m a loyalty guy. I ended up going on the visit. I liked it a lot.”

Zurbrugg acknowledged the potential that Syracuse could end up making a coaching change before Signing Day, and he was comfortable with the stability Pat Fitzgerald brought to Northwestern. But nobody, certainly not Zurbrugg, could have predicted the twists and turns in the hazing scandal that eventually led to Fitzgerald’s dismissal.

Then-OU offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby pounced, as he admired Zurbrugg’s skillset and wanted the Sooners to rebuild depth at quarterback by taking both him and Hawkins.

“A blessing happened with Oklahoma,” Zurbrugg said. “Oklahoma just kind of spontaneously reaching out.”

Now preparing to arrive on campus, Zurbrugg won’t play for Lebby. He’s more than comfortable with offensive coordinators Seth Littrell and co-coordinator Joe Jon Finley, however, as Zurbrugg said he was familiar with Littrell’s track record as both a play caller and a head coach.

“I know that like, they hired somebody that is not going to change too much,” he said. “He kind of has a very similar offense to Jeff Lebby.

“… I feel excited. Ever since I committed I’ve been really fired up to sign. Really fired up to get down there and start working out, start hanging out with the guys.”

Zurbrugg said he hit it off with Hawkins when he visited in July, too, and that the duo are looking forward to pushing each other at practice.

“It’s cool,” Zurbrugg said. “Pretty good guy. More than anything just excited to compete and learn with him.”

Having Hawkins already committed wasn’t a deterrent for Zurbrugg, as he was one of the most productive quarterbacks in Ohio.

In his final high school season, Zurbrugg passed for 2,322 yards and 26 touchdowns, only throwing four interceptions, while adding another 1,038 rushing yards and 13 scores on the ground.

FB - Brendan Zurbrugg

Oklahoma quarterback signee Brendan Zurbrugg is comfortable making plays with both his arm and his legs.

OU coach Brent Venables was excited to get both signal callers signed, adding depth in 2024 behind starter Jackson Arnold.

“You've got two really good young quarterbacks,” said Venables, “Michael Hawkins and Brendan Zurbrugg from Ohio, that bring a wealth of experience at the quarterback at the high school level.

“They're incredibly talented guys. They've got all the right stuff to them from a leadership, instincts, humility and toughness standpoint.”

Zurbrugg said he plans to enroll early this winter in Norman, where he hopes to immediately begin the work to follow in the footsteps of all the great quarterbacks who have found success at Oklahoma.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Zurbrugg said. “I’ve heard a lot of people call it QBU. … It’s something that’s really exciting to be a part of and I know that the University of Oklahoma will make me the best quarterback I can possibly be.”