The Oklahoman's Super 30: How OU football commit Jacob Sexton was molded by wrestling
EDMOND — Phil Sexton had one condition when his son, Jacob, decided that he wanted to play tackle football in elementary school.
“You’ve got to wrestle for two years before you can play football,” Phil told his son.
The choice wound up being a wise one, playing a big role in where Jacob Sexton, now a hulking offensive tackle at Deer Creek who is one of the top recruits in the nation in the 2022 class.
Sexton checks in at No. 4 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 rankings of the state’s top high school football recruits in the 2022 class.
And Phil Sexton says his son’s wrestling career played a big part in developing the mentality that’s helped Jacob get there.
“I think more than anything what it taught him is you’ve got to work for what you want,” Phil Sexton said. “And fortunately he’s done that.”
After he started wrestling, Sexton looked toward the two-year mark with anticipation — as much for playing football as quitting wrestling.
“I’m not gonna lie, those first two years were really rough, being 8 years old and in that room with everybody,” Sexton said.
But even during the period he was looking forward to transitioning away from wrestling, Sexton saw the benefits quickly.
He points to those initial lessons in wrestling as laying the groundwork for development that’s led him here.
“That mental focus and the mentality that wrestling gives you (is important),” Sexton said. “It teaches you leverage, balance and, again, just that mental toughness is huge from that.”
Wrestling taught Sexton skills that not only he uses constantly on the football field but illustrated them in a way that wouldn’t have been as easy to recognize at that time on the football field.
“Those simple moves that everyone gets taught the first year or two of wrestling, the simple shots, just driving through people, so in a double leg you wouldn’t stop at the feet, you would drive through them,” Sexton said, “just like in a block you wouldn’t hit them and then quit pushing them, you’ve got to hit them and drive through.
“That’s probably the first thing I noticed as a kid. I didn’t really think that the two sports would collide like that and teach you stuff, but they really do.”
Still, Sexton walked away from wrestling after two seasons, wanting to give basketball a try instead.
That experiment was a short-lived one.
“Apparently you’re not allowed to hit anybody in basketball,” Sexton said.
Sexton committed to OU on July 3, setting off a wild recruiting month for the Sooners.
His commitment was the first of seven in the 2022 class for OU this month. The Sooners have also picked up two 2023 commitments in July.
While things have heated up on the recruiting front for OU, Sexton has enjoyed the break from the grind the recruiting process can become.
“I’ve really enjoyed it, just talking to Coach (Lincoln) Riley and Coach B (Bill Bedenbaugh, OU’s offensive line coach) is a whole lot easier than before I made my top five where I was talking to 21 different schools and multiple coaches from each school,” Sexton said. “It’s a whole lot to keep up with. So it’s been really nice being able to finally focus on that one.”
Sexton plans on savoring everything about his senior season, far beyond just his final season as a high school football player before making the transition to college football.
Sexton plans on sticking around for the spring semester, to compete not only in wrestling but in track and field.
“I think I’ve got a great shot at winning a state championship (in wrestling) and then a state championship in shotput and discus too,” Sexton said. “I’m staying for the full year and finishing up high school and just kind of enjoying those last few moments.”
While going for those track titles is important, winning a wrestling title before he transitions solely to football is his biggest non-football goal of the upcoming year.
“Track is fun but I wasn’t ever crazy focused on it,” Sexton said. “But wrestling, definitely. Just having all that hard work that I’ve put in that last 10 years (culminate with this season), that’s exciting.”
The Oklahoman’s 2022 Super 30
Name: Jacob Sexton | School: Deer Creek
Super 30 ranking: No. 4
Height: 6-foot-6 | Weight: 299 pounds
Position: Offensive lineman
Recruited by: Committed to OU
About the series
The Oklahoman’s Super 30 feature series will spotlight each high school football player on the Super 30 recruit rankings for the 2022 class. The series continued Wednesday with No. 5, Broken Arrow’s Maurion Horn. See No. 3 on the list in Saturday’s editions of The Oklahoman. Here are the last five players we’ve featured:
No. 8: Braylin Presley, WR, Bixby
No. 7: Robert Spears-Jennings, WR/DB, Broken Arrow
No. 6: Jayden Rowe, DB, Tulsa Union
No. 5: Maurion Horn, ATH., Broken Arrow
No. 4: Jacob Sexton, OL, Deer Creek