Belleville West junior kicker Austin Seibert, the nation's top-rated kicker in his class, got a big head start on his senior year Friday by giving a verbal commitment to the University of Oklahoma.
Seibert chose the full scholarship offer from Oklahoma -- a rarity for a kicker -- over offers from Missouri, Northwestern and seven other Division I schools.
"It means a lot," Seibert said of the full scholarship offer. "It shows that with dedications and hard work, anything can happen. There's plenty of kickers out there that work really hard, but it's awesome knowing I can go to college and not have to worry about bills or anything like that.
"It definitely feels great. It kinds of puts Belleville on the map a little more and my senior year, I can go in and prove to people I am good enough to go into OU and start."
Seibert gave the Sooners coaching staff his verbal commitment while visiting the campus Friday with his family. He also visited Oklahoma in February.
As an All-Area junior last fall, Seibert kicked nine field goals and made 41 extra-points, averaging 46.8 yards on punts and close to 75 yards on kickoffs.
In three seasons at West, Seibert is 17-of-24 on field goals and 80-of-86 on extra points
Seibert was rated the No. 1 kicking prospect among all of the nation's juniors by two national kicking and punting recruiting combines -- Kohl's Kicking and The Kicking Coach.
"I went (to Oklahoma) on a junior day a couple months ago and went there today with my family," Seibert said. "Football was perfect, facilities were perfect, coaches were great. It felt like the place for me."
Former Auburn assistant Jay Boulware, now the tight ends and special teams coach at Oklahoma, made a personal visit to Belleville West to watch Seibert kick. The Sooners extended their scholarship offer after that visit.
"I hit a few kickoffs that went 80 yards and out the end zone," Seibert said. "I missed one field goal out of 30 and my punts were phenomenal as well. He told me I was one of the best kids he's seen. He's coached two kids that have broken the record for points scored at their school and he's coached two NFL guys, so it's an honor to hear him say that."
Oklahoma also presents an opportunity for playing time fairly early on since current kicker Michael Hunnicutt graduates after the 2014 season.
Seibert said he also had offers from Miami, Indiana, Kentucky, Holy Cross, Sam Houston State and Alabama-Birmingham.
He made visits to Oklahoma, Missouri and Northwestern and admitted it was tough picking a final destination. He cannot formally sign a letter of intent until February, 2015.
"Oklahoma just felt right, it set itself apart from the other colleges I felt," he said. "I made sure everyone in the family got to see the place before I made a final decision."
Seibert said his Twitter feed blew up Friday night after he tweeted the official news of his verbal commitment to the Sooners.
"Everything was getting kind of hectic," he said of the recruiting process. "I'm not complaining. I'd rather have that than not have any offers at all."