SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Barry J. Sanders announced he would sign with Stanford, not his famous father's alma mater, Oklahoma State, after Saturday's All-American Bowl all-star game.
Florida State also was pursuing the running back from Oklahoma City, as was Alabama.
Barry Sanders, the 1988 Heisman Trophy winner, stood near his son and other family members as Barry J. announced his decision on national TV in the fourth quarter.
"I think everyone understood my position (about the choice)," said the younger Sanders, wearing a black hat with the block Cardinal "S" on the front. "(Oklahoma State) made my family, and I thank them for it. I'll always have orange in my blood."
All commitments are unofficial until Feb. 1, the first day letters of intent can be signed.
FLORIDA COMMIT: In the same game, Florida landed a commitment from Shelby (N.C.) Crest High defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard. The rivals.com five-star recruit also was considering South Carolina and Clemson.
PENN STATE'S NEW HIRE: Bill O'Brien introduced himself with two quick, no-nonsense sentences at his introductory news conference:
"I feel like I'm a mentally tough guy right now. I feel like I'm the right guy." And with that, O'Brien, the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator the past four years, began his first head coaching job.
"This is unbelievable," he said.
Until Nov. 9, the Nittany Lions had been directed by the same person for 46 seasons: Joe Paterno, fired that day in the aftermath of a child sex abuse scandal involving retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. The case also forced the school president to resign, and the school faces federal, NCAA and Big Ten inquiries.
LATE FRIDAY: Joe Adams and Jarius Wright leave Arkansas 1-2 on the school's career catches list after leading the No. 7 Razorbacks past No. 11 Kansas State 29-16 in the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas. Adams scored on a 51-yard punt return and Wright on a 45-yard catch as the Razorbacks tied a school record with 11 wins. "It's a huge deal for us," said Wright, tops with 168 catches (Adams has 164). "We always talked about winning 11 games."
OKLAHOMA STATE: Coach Mike Gundy agreed to a four-year contract extension through 2019, the Daily Oklahoman reported. Financial details had not been confirmed.
COMPASS BOWL: SMU had three first-quarter touchdowns, including one score passing and one running by quarterback J.J. McDermott, to beat Pittsburgh 28-6 in Birmingham, Ala.
DIVISION I-AA: Quarterback Brock Jensen threw for a touchdown and had a 1-yard keeper for a score as North Dakota State (14-1) beat top seed Sam Houston State (14-1) for its first I-AA national title, 17-6 in Frisco, Texas. NDSU won five Division II titles before moving up.