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May 20, 2013

Sooners Were the Right Fit for Dalton

Following his second visit to Oklahoma in the matter of a few weeks many thought that Troy, Ohio offensive lineman Alex Dalton could leave Norman, Okla. as a Sooner commitment. However, it'd been nearly three weeks since his departure from Norman and there had been little movement for the 6-foot-4, 280-pound prospect.

With a previously listed top three of Stanford, Indiana, and Oklahoma many wondered if the distance from Norman was going to become an issue. And while he admits it was considered it seems as though for Dalton and his family it was simply a matter of patience before his decision to pledge to Oklahoma on Monday.

"I more or less, let it sink in, I wasn't trying to rush anything. I was making sure that it was the right place, and making sure it was where I wanted to go, the right academics, and football and everything like that," Dalton said.

"Distance, I did think about it for a while, I wanted to juggle it around, and I finally came to the conclusion that no matter where I was, I wasn't going to be able to come home that much. I don't think it's going to be too big of a deal because my parents can still come to my games and see me play.

"I had known about a week before where I wanted to go, but for it to be over is crazy. I know where I'm going, and I can now focus on going there and having it set in my mind."

There is no denying that Dalton has built a particularly strong relationship with Oklahoma offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and when the coach that Dalton has such a kinship with came by Troy high school it spurred on a decision.

"He actually came by and saw my coach but he couldn't talk to me or anything and later that morning I called him and told him I was going to him commit," he admitted.

As a first-year assistant Bedenbaugh has been tasked with hitting the ground running with the job of immediately replenishing Oklahoma's currently experienced and nearing graduation, group of offensive line stock with quality young talent. The commitment of Dalton is a key move in that direction and though he wasn't necessarily the first offensive line commitment in Bedenbaugh's short tenure, following Andrew Feo's decision roughly a week prior, he is the first prep player to choose the Sooners under Bedenbaugh's guidance.

"I think that means something, to start something new, well not something new but new at Oklahoma, and start to make his offensive line legacy there," Dalton explained. "Coach Bedenbaugh has always been with me, always been recruiting me, he was the first coach to ever hand write me a letter and he has kind of been following me all along."

Though he has the most familiarity with tackle the plan for Bedenbaugh is to turn Dalton into his future center but as Dalton, like many lineman, is aware that he'll need time to physically mature the chance for early playing time wasn't really part of his decision process.

"It was a lot of things put together, football tradition, an opportunity I didn't want to pass up, I think going to Oklahoma is going to make me the best player I can be," he said. "That's where I'm going to excel. Coach has a lot of faith in me, not just football but academics - they have the degree I want, it was just the right fit."

With all this said, it'd be easy to assume that all is done for Dalton but considering Oklahoma's lack of connection to Ohio - the talented center target is only Oklahoma's second commitment in the Buckeye state since 2005. However, according to Dalton, he knows his future.

"No, I'm pretty locked in. I'm not going to treat other coaches rude, if they want to talk I'll respect them but I'm locked in."



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