Oklahoma’s Bedlam win — and all that went with it — made an impression on the Sooners’ latest verbal commitment.
“A big impression,” Kendel told Dolby.
Dolby, a junior college All-American in the 2023 recruit class, was among the dozens of recruits watching Saturday night as OU defeated OSU 28-13. He told AllSooners he loved his visit so much that he wasted no time in pledged to Brent Venables and the Sooners.
“After the Bedlam game, I was in the dressing room with Coach V and them and I told them I was going to go ahead and sign up,” Dolby said.
Dolby said he was simply blown away by the magnitude of OU football, from meeting safety coach Brandon Hall and Venables to the atmosphere of the game itself.
“Like the fans were crazy,” Dolby said. “You can tell OU fans stand behind OU, the football team and OU in general. The fans went crazy. The mood was crazy too. I could tell the fans didn’t care even though it was a 5-5 Oklahoma football team. They would still come and show themselves.
“In terms of meeting the coaching staff, it was truly a blessing to be able to meet Coach Venables in person for the first time. He was very excited to see me. I met the whole coaching staff and it felt like family man.”
Dolby said Venables told him he was dying to meet him and of course Venables showed that. But what Venables did next really impressed Dolby.
“The biggest thing for me was when I first met Coach V,” Dolby said. “I had met him and he was in a meeting and he said, ‘I want you to come out of the tunnel with me.’ So I had to get out of the tunnel with Coach V. So yeah, it was cool.”
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Dolby plays corner, slot corner and safety at Northeastern A&M College in Miami, OK. He played in eight games for the Golden Norsemen that year when NEO missed the postseason and Dolby decided to pull out.
“It was more about a business decision not to play,” Dolby said.
Another thing Dolby enjoyed about his visit to OU was meeting 2023 5-star quarterback Jackson Arnold. Hearing so much about Oklahoma from such a high-profile recruit really cemented everything Dolby thought he saw and heard.
“They let me speak to him and he basically told me about the family here at OU why he committed,” Dolby said. “He told me he didn’t have an offer when Lincoln Riley was there. He just told me that he fell in love with the program and the coaching staff. He told me that’s why he made a commitment – he wasn’t trying to pressure me into a commitment or anything, but he just gave me every reason in the world why he felt OU was the best place for him is. I really took it in.
“And I agree with him about that coaching staff. The coaching staff is really a family. And since I’m a Juco guy, family is important to me. Being able to experience that and meeting different players and the coaching staff, the fans, everything was just real. Coach (Brandon) Hall was the first coach to greet me and I felt he was very genuine. Everything they talked about on the phone, everything about me, they showed it in person. It’s definitely real.”
Dolby attracted the interest of Division I at Ohio’s Springfield High School, but admitted that he “wasn’t mature in the classroom” and academically didn’t care about the business. He said then-NEO defense coordinator Cory Sullivan visited him in his senior year and told his high school coach that Dolby could definitely be a D1 talent if he ironed out his grades.
“So I decided to take the Juco route in Oklahoma, where he was.
“I ended up playing as a true novice. Locked in the classroom. In my spring semester last year I had a grade point average of 3.4 and this summer semester I had a grade point average of 4.0. I just really locked myself in the classroom and it’s all history since then. Literally what he said: If you take care of the notes, there’s nothing stopping you, you can play at the D1 level.
“I was hungry. It made me even hungrier. You have to do this. It took a little longer to figure it out, but I figured it out.