All alone in a gym outside Oklahoma City two Sooners search for success.
OU’s former fullback turned trainer J.D. Runnels works with Putnam City Pirate Ron Tatum.
A new experience for the high school senior.
“I’ve never done most of the stuff he showed me, so it’s different,” Tatum, an OU football commit, said. “I think it will make me better. I can’t wait to see how I grow.”
As the two pushed forward it didn’t take long for Runnels to realize why Tatum’s touted so high.
“I see what OU sees,” Runnels, owner and operator of Nutrition and Athletic Club of Choctaw, said. “I see what LSU saw. I see what Alabama saw. I see what TCU saw. The kid’s special. I could go on and on about the kid. The biggest thing I think is that he has very few things to work on. If I had to give him a Rivals ranking, I mean, that kid is a 4.9 star if you ask me. I’m excited about the challenge of getting him a fifth star.”
The former Chicago Bear even sees Tatum taking the steps from a prospect’s highest ranking to a pro field.
“He’s on his way to the NFL,” Runnels said. “He really is. I’ve seen defensive ends in the NFL. If he truly puts the work in he’s a NFL draft pick.”
Tatum’s future once went through Texas, but now the teen’s made the move to OU, and Runnels is there to guide him.
“It’s like family I guess because we’re both going to the same school,” Tatum said. “Probably the same coaches. Just the same opportunity. He can probably teach me something about there before I get there. So I’ll know when I get there. He’ll probably tell me how the coaches are, so I’ll know before I get there, so it won’t be a big shock to me. He’ll just tell me how comfortable it is.”
Tatum says it won’t be the last time he comes to work out at the Nutrition and Athletic Club of Choctaw.
He went through exercises like trying to balance on a ball for 30 seconds on one foot.
J.D. uses the analogy of giving the kids he helps the answers to the test.
He now has the chance to do so in another Oklahoma City area OU player in Tatum.
Runnels says the opportunity for a former Sooner to help a future Sooner is priceless.
“Parking, the cafeteria, the dorm situation, the work outs,” Runnels said. “My thing is wherever a kid goes I want him to stick it out to make it through, and especially at the school I went to. I’m glad Ron trusts me. I’m glad he likes the workouts, and the facility. I look forward to him being in the brotherhood, and me saying I knew him before he was a Sooner."