Heupel ended up in Norman after what may have been the least glamorous recruiting visit in college football history. His host was Oklahoma's new offensive coordinator, Mike Leach, an odd bird with a brilliant football mind. "It wasn't one of those deals where you're introducing him to pretty girls and taking him for a steak dinner," recalls Leach. "I didn't have a lot of furniture in my office, so we basically sat cross-legged on the floor watching video and talking until he said he'd rather be a Sooner than go to Utah State."
The sensational numbers Heupel put up the following season helped Leach land his current gig. Since then, all of the passers he has plugged into his system have thrown, quite literally, for miles, but no Tech quarterback has finished higher than ninth in the Heisman voting. Harrell marked a departure because he was the first true blue-chip quarterback to choose the program.
"I love Lubbock," he recently proclaimed, before ticking off several things not to love about Lubbock. "You look around, there's not many trees, the wind's always blowin', there's not as much going on here as at some other schools with stronger traditions.
"But that's why I came here. To throw the ball around and get to a higher level and create some traditions of our own."
Because he has, a program that started the season with zero Heismans and zero national titles could finish with one of each.