OU Football Practice

OU head coach Brent Venables talks with his team during practice, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, at OU football complex. (Kyle Phillips / The Transcript)

It was an absolutely wild saga, but it ended in Oklahoma’s favor.

After a confusing and chaotic 24 hours, which consisted of Peyton Bowen appearing to sign with Oregon Wednesday morning, the Sooners signed the five-star safety to their 2023 recruiting class Thursday afternoon.

Bowen — a Denton, Texas native and teammates with five-star quarterback and OU signee Jackson Arnold at Guyer High School — is the No. 2 ranked safety in the 2023 class, per 247Sports Composite rankings.

The Sooners officially announced Bower’s signing in a Twitter post Thursday.

Bowen released a statement via Twitter on Thursday.

“Oklahoma has always felt like home to me,” Bowen said in a statement. “Reflecting, it seems as if I was always looking for a reason to branch out and breakaway from home. But my relationships with (OU coach Brent) Venables, coach (Todd) Bates, coach (Jay) Valai, coach (Brandon) Hall and coach (Miguel) Chavis, along with my ties to friends and family locally ultimately led me back to where I always belonged.”

Bowen verbally committed to Notre Dame on Jan. 1, though the Sooners, along with Texas A&M and Oregon, continued to pursue the highly-touted safety.

Bowen held a signing ceremony to officially announce where he’d begin his collegiate career Wednesday. The safety initially put on a Notre Dame hat and indicated he was selecting the Fighting Irish before quickly throwing that aside to announce he was officially selecting the Ducks.

It seemed unthinkable that the Sooners would land Bowen after the ceremony. However, the saga continued to unfold after Nick Harris of Rivals.com reported Thursday morning that Oregon had not received Bowen’s letter of intent.

Just a few hours later, Venables and the Sooners officially landed Bowen, concluding one of the more unpredictable recruiting battles in recent memory.

Bowen becomes the Sooners’ 25th scholarship signee and joins edge rusher Adepoju Adebawore as the second five-star defensive recruit in the 2023 class.

With Bowen on board, the Sooners’ class now ranks fourth nationally, per 247Sports’ Composite team rankings.

Jesse Crittenden is the sports editor of The Transcript and covers OU athletics. Reach him at jesse@normantranscript.com or at 405-366-3580

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