DALLAS — Growing up in Plano, Texas, Chris Engles couldn’t help but be a Texas Longhorn fan. All of his friends bled the burnt orange and decorated their trapper keepers with Longhorn stickers while both his parents are alumni.
Engles was destined to move to Austin and join the Texas family.
However, Engles’ plans took a different path after attending the annual Red River Rivalry game seven years ago. Even though the Sooners lost 45-12, he had an epiphany of sorts.
“As so many of my family attended UT, I had no choice but fall into being a UT fan,” Engles said. “I didn’t know any better. That is until my junior year of high school, I knew that at that point I was ready to make the jump and no longer be a Texas Fan. It was that Oklahoma-Texas game in 2005 that changed my loyalty and allegiance forever. It was then that I began thinking on my own about colleges and sports and not listening to the rest of my family.”
Engles went on to become one of the thousands of Texans who have left their Texas roots to make a new home in Norman as students of the University of Oklahoma. While the Red River Rivalry is known for its gridiron battles, the one that takes places between the schools’ recruiting departments is just as fierce.
“Obviously, our first mission is to serve Oklahoma,” said Matt Hamilton, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Financial Services. “There are so many family and students in Texas, that Texas is absolutely a very important and fertile recruiting ground for us. We are delighted to come down here.”
There are currently 27,292 students enrolled at Oklahoma’s campus in Norman. While more than 14,000 are from Oklahoma, 4,507 of the school’s 7,600 out of state students hail from Texas. In fact, 18 percent of this year’s freshman class comes from the Dallas-Metroplex, according to Hamilton.