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October 1, 2013

Sarvary had key turning point

Oklahoma's Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium is an intimidating place for even the most seasoned Big 12 veteran. It's where the title hopes of several teams, Kliff Kingsbury's 2002 Texas Tech team included, have ended. Few teams, and you can again include the Red Raiders, have knocked off the Sooners in Norman during Bob Stoops' tenure.

Tyler (Texas) Tyler J.C. offensive tackle Drew Sarvary -- Texas Tech's newest verbal commitment -- is probably unique in the 2014 class in that he has played against OU in Memorial Stadium. And he wasn't intimidated. In fact, he felt encouraged.

Sarvary signed with Florida A&M out of Tallahassee's North Florida Christian High School in 2012. He quickly moved his way up the Rattler's depth chart and by the second game of his true freshman season, the 6-foot-7, 310-pound prospect had cracked the starting lineup.

The team's opponent that week? The Oklahoma Sooners.

While the Rattlers were 55-point underdogs and ended up losing the game 69-13, Sarvary left the Sooner State knowing he belonged in major college football.

"I did well against them," he said. "With them having a very, very good defensive line -- five of them went to the NFL last year -- and I realized I could play regular, D-1 football."

Sarvary started the rest of the season for FAMU, even earning MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors at one point, but decided to transfer to Tyler J.C. to pursue his FBS dream.

He quickly began receiving scholarship offers, but Texas Tech stood out above the rest thanks to his relationship with safeties coach Trey Haverty and offensive line coach Lee Hays.

"I like them a lot," Sarvary said. "Coach Hays is a good guy. I talk to him all the time. I like his style of coaching. I think I would fit there well. He's more of a players' coach. He wants the players to succeed more than him. He's all about the players. The whole coaching staff is. Coach Haverty, he's a cool guy. He was excited when I called him. He really liked it."

While the Red Raiders had his attention, Sarvary was reluctant to pull the trigger on a commitment before visiting the South Plains. Thanks to the Apaches' Thursday night game against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M -- which they won 63-49 -- Sarvary was able to officially visit Texas Tech last weekend and a commitment followed on Tuesday.

"Throughout the last two months, I've been thinking about it, thinking about it," he said. "I wasn't going to jump into any decisions. I didn't have a chance to go make a visit there until last weekend. I told myself I wasn't going to jump on anything -- I wanted to go see the place before I commit. It felt right. Everything was super nice and the people were really nice. It was fun.

"I was really impressed with the coaching staff and where the program's going. I thought it was a good fit for me. They had everything I wanted there."

Sarvary knows the Red Raiders need help up front and Hays has told him that he'll have an opportunity to start early.

"They feel like I can start right away," he said. "They have a really big need on the offensive line. They emphasized that. He feels like the opportunity is there for sure. That's their main need on the team, is offensive linemen.

"He feels I could play guard or tackle because I played guard at my last school and played tackle for four years."

Sarvary chose Texas Tech over offers from East Carolina, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas and South Florida.

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