Family ties helped Oklahoma State flip LaDainian Fields away from TCU

Family ties helped Oklahoma State flip LaDainian Fields away from TCU

The three-star player from Del City was committed to TCU, but in his heart he wanted to be a Cowboy. Here’s a peek into the decision-making process that made that happen.

Sam Hutchens

By Sam Hutchens

| Dec 23, 2023, 6:00am CST

Sam Hutchens

By Sam Hutchens

Dec 23, 2023, 6:00am CST

Oklahoma State had the trump card.

Even though TCU had LaDainian Fields’ early commitment, Oklahoma State had his cousin. Those family ties ultimately changed his college choice.

Fields, a three-star cornerback, signed with OSU on Wednesday, flipping on his previous commitment to TCU. 

Fields’ mother, LJ Johnson, said the past few days have been hectic, and that her son has been in contact with both schools.

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster,” Johnson said. “I can’t lie about it. It’s been a flood of emotions, but we’ve worked through it and we’ve been praying and he decided his heart. He needed to be a Cowboy.”

Fields played both ways at Del City High School, scoring 22 offensive touchdowns as a receiver and intercepting seven passes at corner. He starred for the Eagles alongside his cousin Rodney Fields, who is a three-star running back committed to OSU in the same class. 

LaDainian and Rodney have been going to school together since fourth grade. Now, the streak will be extended into college.

“They are truly more like brothers than cousins,” Johnson said. “They are extremely close.”

OSU offered LaDainian last week, opening a door for him to join the list of people in his family with OSU connections. LaDainian’s uncle, Rodney Fields Sr., was a huge fan of the Cowboys. He was shot and killed in 2010. LJ said Rodney Fields Sr.’s childhood bedroom was OSU-themed. 

“(LaDainian) has been interested in us for a while,” coach Mike Gundy said. “He had another school that he’d been committed to, but obviously he’s close to home. We’ve had a number of players from Del City and he has got a relationship with (Rodney) Fields. So, as we just kind of pushed through it, there was a really good spot for him.”

Robert Jones is the coach at Del City. He played cornerback at OSU in the mid-2000s. Gundy said familiarity there helped OSU recruit LaDainian, as did the possibility of teaming up with Rodney for four more years.

“That played a huge role,” Gundy said. “To the other school, you can’t take it personal. None of us can. Because we had a trump card there that we were able to use.”

LaDainian also earned offers from Washington, Kansas State, Washington State and others.

“He felt like he’s a guy that can come in and can help us a variety of ways,” Gundy said. “He’s a little different from the standpoint of he’s a very successful offensive player, [and] we think he has great defensive skills and also in the return game.”

Johnson said it is hard to pinpoint when her son made the decision to flip to OSU.

“In his heart, he knew,” Johnson said. “But in his mind, we really had to sit down and really go over the pros and cons of each school.”

Share with your crowd
Sam Hutchens covers Oklahoma State sport for Sellout Crowd. He interned for The Stillwater News Press in 2021 and The Guthrie News Leader in 2022, where he won a first-place OPA award for in-depth reporting. He has also covered sports in southwest Oklahoma for The Lawton Constitution. He strives to tell you the OSU sports stories that you want to tell your friends about. You can email him at [email protected] and connect on Twitter (X) @Sam_Hutchens_

The latest from Sellout Crowd

  • Daryen Jefferson is the top runner this season at Douglass High School, of the OKCPS programs that benefit from Fields & Futures outreach. Jefferson first realized he could run fast when his elementary school teacher told students they could have more recess time once they finished running laps. (Provided)

    Daryen Jefferson runs to success from humble beginnings at Douglass | Fields & Futures Huddle Up

  • Dec 28, 2023; San Antonio, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Jackson Arnold (10) throws a pass against the Arizona Wildcats at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

    The Georgia roots behind Jackson Arnold’s new uniform number

  • Feb 8, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Doug Gottlieb on the Fox Sports set on radio row at the Super Bowl 58 media center at the Mandalay Bay resort and casino. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Doug Gottlieb’s passion might be just what OSU basketball needs

  • Feb 25, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) shoots the ball during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Chet Holmgren lifts the Thunder to statistically significant win in Houston

  • Fourth-ranked Iowa gave No. 2 Oklahoma State its first loss of the season Sunday afternoon. The 22-9 defeat is the first dual OSU has lost in Gallagher Iba Arena since a loss to Minnesota in 2022. (Mitch Alcala for The Oklahoman/USA Today Network)

    How Iowa’s losses led to Oklahoma State first wrestling defeat