By David Fong
Regional Sports Content Manager
TROY — Alex Dalton is anxiously awaiting the day he joins the “Sooner Nation” and is able to don the crimson and cream of Oklahoma University.
All of that is going to have to wait however, as he wants to savor his final few months as a Troy High School senior.
“I want to enjoy high school,” Dalton said. “There are still things I want to accomplish here at Troy.”
And Dalton is willing to put his career as a college football player at Oklahoma on hold until he can accomplish those things. He’s already turned down the opportunity to play in a pair of prestigious national high school all-star games in order to focus on his high school wrestling career.
Dalton was invited to play in the Under Armour All-America High School Football Game — which will be broadcast on ESPN Jan. 2 — and the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, which will be broadcast on the NFL Network Jan. 4. Had Dalton chose to play in either of those games, he would have been matched up against the top recruits in the nation and play in games that have featured such stars at Florida State’s Jameis Winston, current Cincinnati Bengal A.J. Green and current Indianapolis Colt Trent Richardson.
Instead of playing in a domed stadium in front of thousands, however, Dalton would rather be wrestling for the Trojans in high school gyms in front of hundreds.
“The main reason I didn’t want to play in any all-star games is because I didn’t want to miss any of my wrestling season,” Dalton said. “I was an alternate to go to state last year, and I feel like I have unfinished business. I love wrestling and want to have a great season. The second reason I decided not to go was because I didn’t want to risk injury playing in an all-star game. I didn’t want to have a torn ACL or anything like that. It’s still just an honor to know I got invited to two of the top bowl games in the country.”
Dalton also had the opportunity to enroll at Oklahoma early and go through spring drills with the team. With only one scholarship center on the Sooners’ roster going into spring practice — Dalton played tackle at Troy, but likely will play center or guard for the Sooners — he could have enrolled early and got a leg up on earning a spot in Oklahoma’s two-deep roster. Academics wouldn’t have been a problem for Dalton, who carries a 3.9 grade point average and already has completed all the necessary high school courses — but again, he wanted to spend his final few months soaking up all Troy has to offer.
“I talked to some guys out there at Oklahoma and they said I should enjoy high school while it lasts,” Dalton said. “I want to be able to do all the things high school kids do. I wanted to finish my wrestling season and be able to throw (shot put and discus) for the track team in the spring.”
Dalton’s decision not to enroll early certainly hasn’t hurt him in terms of earning postseason season honors. He was named All-Greater Western Ohio Conference, first team All-Southwest District and special mention Division II All-Ohio.
“Alex had a great season,” Troy High School football coach Scot Brewer said. “He deserves every accolade he’s received. He worked hard all season, and it’s no surprise to see him win those awards. He’s a great kid who comes from a supportive family. I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Dalton also has seen his stock rise in the eyes of recruiting experts. The nation’s leading recruiting site, rivals.com, recently awarded him a fourth star (out of five) and named him the 172nd overall prospect in the nation, the No. 7 guard prospect in the nation and the No. 5 prospect in Ohio. He’s the highest-ranked offensive lineman in Ohio.
“I really don’t pay too much attention to all of that,” Dalton said. “But people will tell me about that and it’s a nice honor. Right now, I’m more focused on working hard and getting ready for college. I’m really looking forward to playing at Oklahoma. It’s a great atmosphere out there. They make you feel like a part of a family. Their fans are great. I can’t wait to be a part of that.”
Even if it does have to wait a few months.