How Drake Stoops Stepped Out Of Dad's Shadow, Leaving His Own Legacy At Oklahoma

How Drake Stoops stepped out of his dad's shadow, leading his own legacy at Oklahoma

Tuesday, December 26th 2023, 10:19 pm



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The Alamo Bowl marks the end of an era for Oklahoma Football: Drake Stoops will wear the interlocking “OU” on his helmet for the final time. 

For 24 of the last 25 years, a ‘Stoops’ has roamed the sidelines in Norman. From 1999-2016, it was Bob Stoops, rebuilding the program into a national powerhouse as the Sooners Head Coach. 

A year after Bob’s retirement, Drake Stoops stepped foot on campus- an undersized walk-on anxious to prove he belongs. 

While most people would assume being the son of an OU legend would make life easy for Drake, it often had the opposite effect. In a recent sit-down interview with Drake, he explained to me, “I think that is one thing people get mixed up, thinking it is given to you,” adding, “I am the one with the helmet and shoulder pads on. My dad is nowhere to be found. I’m the one putting in the work. I’m sweating, I’m bleeding, I'm getting in fights. That’s me out there.” 

Despite receiving other Power Five offers, Drake often struggled with ‘Imposter Syndrome’ in his early days at OU. 

Drake admits, “Self-doubt is a very real thing. Early on, am I good enough to play at this level? Will my dream ever come true?” 

In those moments, Drake often leaned on his mom, Carol, to keep him grounded. “Freshman year I felt alone and isolated... I’d always just call her and kind of get it all out there. She was always supportive and very optimistic. That is one thing I always admire about my mom, her optimism. She is always a bright light in my life.” 

Carol remembers those calls with her son: “I said, ‘why do you do this? You love football and you love your teammates. You just need to refocus.” 

In his final season, Drake has established himself as a leader, a go-to receiver, and a fan-favorite. He loves it when the crowd makes a collective “Stoops” call after he makes a play. 

“It means a lot to me to have all their support and how they have embraced me. They let me pave my own way for myself and step out of my dad’s shadow a little bit. When they say ‘Stoops’ they mean Drake Stoops, and that means a lot.” 

Drake will wear the Crimson and Cream for the final time in the Alamo Bowl on Thursday night. After that, he will start his NFL journey, working to prove himself all over again. 

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