DENTON, Texas — Jackson-Arnold has turf burned on both arms to mark Denton Guyer’s 47-28 loss to DeSoto in last weekend’s Texas 6A-II semifinals.
The scrapes and bruises left by the Dallas Cowboys’ playing surface inside Ford Center linger in the five-star Oklahoma quarterback’s commit days after a 21-point loss. So is the conversation Arnold had with DeSoto’s coaching staff minutes after his last high school game.
“He saw me in the hallway and congratulated me on a great season,” Arnold said in an interview with Denton Geyer High School’s Tulsa World earlier this week.
“He said, ‘You can be mad or sad about everything that happened tonight, but be grateful that you can play next year.’ Most of the people on your team will never play again.” You’re coming off the high school field for the last time, but you’re about to step into a whole new chapter.
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“Thank you very much.”
In fact, the fifth-best quarterback in the nation in 2023 and the #1 prospect in the entire state of Texas, he’s about to start his next chapter. Arnold finally arrives in Norman next month, almost a year after he committed to Brent Venables & Co.
The Sooners’ top recruit in the 2023 class is spending his last days as a high school student at Denton Guyer this week after finishing his senior season missing out on a second consecutive title with 3,476 yards, 33 touchdowns and three interceptions. . .
Next, Arnold will head to the Under Armor Next All-American Game on January 3, 2023 in Orlando, Florida. There he captained the team his speed, plus he plays alongside six of his OU commits. After that, he plans to join the Sooners as a mid-career recruit for the spring training camp in mid-January.
“From next week through Christmas there will be a trip to the hobby lobby and everything else (for school),” Arnold said. “I’m really excited. But it’s kind of weird to pack everything in and leave it behind.”
Of course, there was more to Arnold’s early arrival at OU than school shopping.
Sooners offensive coordinator Jeff Levy has hired a highly regarded quarterback since playing the same role for the Ole Misses from 2020-21.
Arnold credits Levy in his major draw to OU. His first-year coordinator for the Sooners attended his show for Arnold’s six touchdowns in the Wildcats’ quarterfinal against Southlake on December 3. He Carroll and the two remained in close contact. We are fighting.
Arnold says he’s also familiar with “just about every recruit” in the Sooners’ recruiting class, which currently ranks seventh nationally in 247Sports’ 2023 team rankings.
And with an offseason workout with strength and conditioning coach Jerry Schmidt waiting first at Norman, Arnold hopes the early start will help ease the immersion.
“I was thinking about texting Levy, my coach, and doing a workout. OU Workout, so I can get into it and I wouldn’t be surprised,” he explained. I’ve heard some tough things, but you have to do it because that’s what makes you stronger.
What was Arnold most excited about during his first few months at OU?
“It’s definitely Springball,” he said. “Either you get used to the atmosphere of college football, or you get used to the speed of the game … I’m sure the competitiveness and the speed of the game will jump to a whole new level in college, so it’s just a matter of getting used to it and learning. It’s all about what I’m most looking forward to.”
Another source of excitement? A chance to develop the relationship he forged with current Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel.
Arnold and Year 4 Passer committed to OU in early 2022 just a few weeks apart. They met during Arnold’s first visit on the program, and Gabriel was his host when Arnold made his official visit in June.
“We became close friends during our time with him there,” said Arnold.
The two quarterbacks texted after a game this fall.In 2023, they will share the position room.
Arnold said of the opportunity to work with seasoned veteran Gabriel, “I think it’s a big deal. I hope he stays for another year. Picking up on trends and things like that will help you win your first job next year.”
“If my number is asked to play, I’m going to be ready to play,” he continued. “But I learned under Dillon and expect to learn from him. I’m ready to play, but I’m also ready to learn from him and absorb everything I can for him.”
His high school football career is a book. Now, Arnold has arrived in Norman, and life in the Sooners’ quarterback’s room is just around the corner.