By Ken MacLeod
For the second time in five years, Arkansas coach Brad McMakin has landed the top prospect in Oklahoma.
He did it in 2012 when he signed Taylor Moore of Edmond. Moore will wrap up his college career this spring as the No. 1 player for Arkansas and one of the top collegians in the country.,
Last week, McMakin, signed a player he said could be the second coming of John Daly when Mason Overstreet of Kingfisher signed with the Hogs.
The comparisons with Daly stop at playing ability. Overstreet is a big kid with amazing power and great touch. He has none of Daly’s other well documented issues. Overstreet is a 4.0 student, registered a 30 on his ACT test, has a grounded family and a great desire to continue to improve.
McMakin, who regards Oklahoma as one of the top hotbeds of young talent in the country, was on Overstreet from the first time he saw him play in his early teens.
"He won the first tournament I watched, then he won the second, then he won the third," McMakin said. "It didn’t take me long to realize that this kid was something special and he was going to explode on the radar. He is just an extreme talent. He is definitely one of the best juniors to come out of Oklahoma in a long time."
McMakin’s early recruiting efforts paid off in a verbal commitment when Overstreet was just a sophomore and he remained true despite late interest from other top schools.
Overstreet grew up playing a rough nine-hole course in Laverne, learning to hit from tight lies and practicing his sand shots from the dirt that would accumulate beside the gravel cart path. Conditions improved when the family moved to Kingfisher, where as a junior this year Overstreet won nine of 11 tournaments including the Class 3A state championship by 13 shots.
It is in the summer and fall Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour events against the state’s top players, players headed to Oklahoma State, Tulsa or Oklahoma, where Overstreet proved to McMakin that he was witnessing something special.
"I realized very early that this kid would be special and tried to get the recruiting done as soon as possible," McMakin said. "He has great hand-eye coordination. He’s a good basketball player. His parents have raised him incredibly well. We really think in terms of a player he can be another John Daly. He hits it 300 yards and has these great soft hands. Daly is a two-time major championship winner, so that’s not bad company.
McMakin credited Morri Rose, founder of the OJGT, with helping foster Oklahoma’s reputation as a fertile recruiting ground.
"It’s one of the best states in the country for talent," McMakin said. "Morri does a great job and gives them the opportunity to play every week against good competition without it costing a lot. We spend a lot of time over there, probably more than we do anywhere, and we’ve tried hard on a lot of other kids that we haven’t landed."
Taylor Moore update:
Although he hasn’t won a collegiate event, and was set back in 2015 by an embarrassing suspension for a voyeurism incident that proved to be much ado about little, Moore is still on track for a successful pro career, McMakin said.
"He was an All-American last year and has done a good job of staying in the process of getting better and better each year," McMakin said. "His stroke average has improved every year. He hasn’t won, but he could have won almost every tournament he’s played in. He’s in the top 10 almost every week. He won the stroke play portion of the U.S. Amateur this summer.
"The one area that Taylor could improve on is his putting. When he putts well, he can win any tournament he’s playing in."