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July 13, 2009It may have seemed only a matter of time after Oklahoma offered Jarrett Lake that he would pledge his future to the Sooners, and the chance to play with his best friend Gabe Lynn.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound multi-purpose athlete went to watch his friend take part in summer workouts on Monday with little thought of making his commitment to the Sooners. And while it may not have surprised recruiting fans around the Big 12, Lake was caught a bit off guard by his decision.
"I didn't really come in expecting to commit. It kind of surprised me though," Lake said. "It really came down to talking to coach (Brent) Venables. We all talked about me and what he is looking for in all of his linebackers and how he didn't necessarily get all of that last year.
"The moment I was kind of sure actually I was talking to coach Venables. It gave me a chance to understand the players and the linebackers and that was pretty much it."
So what did SoonerScoop.com's No. 12 prospect in the state expect on his trip to Norman?
Lake says he was simply making a trip to see his friend.
"I was just going down there to watch the team work out. Coach Venables found out I was coming down so he wanted me to come by and talk to him," he explained.
It was just a few short months ago that Lake, and seemingly every coach evaluating him, was unsure of what position he might project to in the college game. And though he has never played linebacker he says the reality that he'll be playing Big 12 football is something he has come to terms with.
"I'm committed to play linebacker. The drills that I went through going through all the camps, everyone seemed impressed with how physical I was. I have no problem adjusting to playing linebacker," he said.
"I've thought about how crazy this has all been. It's hard to believe when my dad thought I should play linebacker. I found out I was physical enough to play linebacker."
His lack of familiarity with the position comes from spending most of his time for the Trojans on the offensive side of the ball. A situation they have offered to remedy but Lake says he realizes for his current team his biggest impact is possible on the offensive side of the ball.
"Pretty much, at Jenks they don't necessarily play their players both way. They want an athlete on offense who can do a little bit of everything. I think this year I'm going to be that athlete on offense," he said.
"I'm actually going to try to get on the field some at linebacker. If not during the season, at least during the scrimmage or during the preview, or even just in practice.
"My receiver coach said if you need to play linebacker to get ready for college and we don't have a problem with that. We just really need some athletes on offense, I just decided to stay with offense, if the team wants me to play linebacker."
The man who will be his first full-time linebackers coach, Sooner defensive coordinator Brent Venables, could hardly contain his excitement when Lake made his pledge to spend his future in Norman.
Not surprisingly Venables immediately dove into his future plans for Lake.
"He was very excited, he is very energetic. I was the first linebacker to actually commit and I was all that he was looking for," Lake recalled. "He says he doesn't want me to think about playing one linebacker he thinks I could play all three positions for them."
Lake, who says his commitment is solid, paid tribute to the man who has helped put his recruiting wheels in motion, Tyrone Lynn.
"He was real excited for me, he was the one that came to me and said I should try and play linebacker. He brought the idea to me, all the credit for all of this really goes to him," he explained."
With his decision in the rearview mirror Lake says his focus can now return solely to Jenks football. He has one day of passing league remaining and then will begin preparations for his senior season.
After watching his friend take part in strength and conditioning coach Jerry Schmdt's workout today Lake says he doesn't anticipate the impact of his decision settling in until he is sweating right next to Lynn next summer.
"Yeah it has sunk in a little bit; I'm still in a state of shock a little bit. It won't sink in until I work with coach Schmidt," he said.
"Gabe is starting to widen out, gaining a lot of muscle. He really is making strides. You can tell their workout program is no joke."