The Oklahoma Sooners pulled off a coup in the last recruiting cycle when they got a last-minute commitment flip from five-star safety Peyton Bowen. Bowen had chosen the Oregon Ducks on Early Signing Day, but after spending more time thinking about his decision, flipped to commit to Oklahoma a day later.
Bowen was one of Oklahoma’s highest-ranked defensive recruits ever and was a huge recruitment boost to help Oklahoma finish with 24/7 Sports’s No. 6 overall recruiting class in 2023, one of Oklahoma’s highest in years and the first full cycle under Brent Venables.
Why Did Peyton Bowen Choose Oklahoma?
There were a few things that drew Bowen to the Oklahoma Sooners. It was closer to his hometown in Denton, Texas than Oregon, as Norman, Oklahoma is a hair over two hours drive. His girlfriend had chosen to play for Oklahoma as a soccer player. His teammate and close friend, Jackson Arnold, was a celebrated quarterback recruit who had committed to Oklahoma months prior. All of these factors played a part in Bowen’s decision.
However, none might have been more pivotal than Brent Venables. A well-known defensive genius, Venables has been seeking to bring Oklahoma’s defense back to meaning something and back to their glory days after the recent years of the Sooners being more of a punchline than a serious unit.
Venables’ reputation as a defensive coach is highly regarded after coaching numerous top defenses at Clemson, and his ability to put players into the NFL has been a significant boost for recruiting. Not only that, but Venables’ prior history at Oklahoma provides an emotional conviction for Venables that appeals to both player and parent.
Peyton Bowen’s Success So Far
Bowen has rotated in the safety room for the Sooners this season, forming a rotation with Tennessee transfer Key Lawrence and Texas Tech transfer Reggie Pearson. Despite this rotation and battling some nagging injuries, Bowen has been a tremendous playmaker for the Sooners who have already come up with big plays this season that have helped Oklahoma get to a 7-1 record.
Bowen forced a fumble in Oklahoma’s victory over the Texas Longhorns in the Red River Rivalry. Just two weeks later, Bowen had a pivotal sack that helped seal the Sooners’ victory over UCF.
Bowen is in line for more playing time as the Sooners look to close out their season with a Big 12 championship. The freshman sensation hasn’t looked back since his commitment, and he looks like a cornerstone for Oklahoma to depend on in their transition to the SEC.