In November, Austin Kendall ran onto the field at Milan Puskar Stadium for the second time as an Oklahoma Sooner.
If you asked him at that point what his future plans were, he would have told you about his upcoming battle for the Sooner’s starting quarterback job. He spent all three of his seasons backing up Heisman-trophy winning quarterbacks — sitting behind 2017 Heisman winner Baker Mayfield in 2016, redshirting in 2017, and backing up Kyler Murray in 2018 — while also finishing his undergraduate program in Norman.
For most, you can’t get a better environment in which a quarterback can develop, for iron sharpens iron as they say.
“I was getting ready to go back to OU, getting ready to prepare for another battling job,” Kendall said.Instead, the Sooners decided to go in a different direction. Jalen Hurts, a former national champion at Alabama, announced his decision to transfer to Oklahoma, leaving Kendall’s playing time in question. On top of that, five-star quarterback recruit Spencer Rattling was entering the mix. It was then he decided to enter the transfer portal.
“I’m kind of doing what I want to do this time,” Kendall explained. “I graduated, did everything right by the program at Oklahoma, and it was kind of a final decision of, let me to do something right for myself.”
During his quick transfer process, he weighed his personal relationship with Neal Brown to make his decision.
“It was kind of a short period when I had to realize I needed to get out of Oklahoma through talking to my dad and my family,” Kendall recounted. “Coach Brown had just gotten the job at West Virginia….it was a pretty easy transition because I knew him so well just through personal experiences.”
Kendall says he was in contact with Brown throughout his time in the transfer portal, and that made WVU stand out when he was making his decision.
“He did everything he could do to get me here,” Kendal said. “That really meant a lot, and it meant that he really cared about me and me getting to play for him.”
Now that he’s here, Kendall says there are some noticeable differences in WVU’s program from Oklahoma’s, especially in how they prepare.
“It’s just the little things that [WVU coaches] are keyed on, and I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t really used to that at Oklahoma,” he explained. “We kind of did what we want, but here they’re really keyed on individual workouts through different footwork and stuff, and I think it’s going to pay off.”