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Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018
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Armwood's Striker commits to Oklahoma

TAMPA - Armwood rising senior outside linebacker Eric Striker, a two-year starter for the Hawks, has made a verbal commitment to the University of Oklahoma, head coach Sean Callahan announced Saturday. With this commitment, Striker becomes the second Hawks star to make an early decision on college. Earlier this year, Armwood running back Matt Jones, who will also be a senior next fall, decided to attend the University of Florida. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Striker was in Norman, Ok., for an unofficial visit today when he made his commitment. His other finalists were Iowa and Ole Miss. Callahan said Striker has said he wanted to play for the Sooners since his freshman year at Armwood. "When Eric was a ninth grader, he told me two things, that he wanted to be a wide receiver and play for Oklahoma," Callahan said. "I knew I was going to win one of those things and it turns out to be Oklahoma."
Striker said when it came to the recruiting process, one of his primary motives all along has been to attend college outside the state of Florida because he wanted to "grow" as a young adult. So after receiving an offer from his dream school and taking a visit there, Striker said it was an easy decision to commit early. "I always hear about guys wanting to stay home to play college football, to stay close to their mom and family," Striker said. "But I've always wanted to leave Florida so I can grow and learn to take care of myself on my own." At the same time, Striker was looking for what he called "high-level football" outside the state. Once he saw Florida play Oklahoma in the 2009 BCS Championship game as an Armwood freshman, Striker was sold on Sooner football. "From there on out, I've been watching Oklahoma," Striker said. "They've got seven Big 12 championships and they just won the last won under Bob Stoops, who's a good coach." For Striker, one of the biggest selling points of Oklahoma is the lack of turnover on their coaching staff. "They've got guys on their staff that have been there 10, 12 years, including the coach who recruited me, coach (Brent) Venables," Striker said. "That's just a good sign of stability." Hawks defensive coordinator Matt Thompson said the Sooners made Striker an offer based solely on the highlights film they had on him. But Thompson said Oklahoma will likely not be disappointed with Striker once he suits up for the school's storied football program. "Besides always running to the ball and being Johnny-on-the-spot, he's so versatile and still has so much room to grow," Thompson said. "He can play rover safety, outside linebacker or inside linebacker. And for us, this year, we're counting on him in a leadership role. He'll be calling the plays in the huddle." [email protected] (813) 259-7456
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