By Mike Moguin
GTR Sports Writer
All Noah West needed was one visit and his mind was made up.
A linebacker on Bixby’s 2018 Class 6AII state champion, West signed with Army on National Signing Day.
“I took my official visit the weekend before signing day and I was just amazed with all the facilities and the whole culture there. Right after my first day of my official visit, I decided that’s where I wanted to be,” West said.
West, 6-3, 222, who also played tight end, chose Army over Abilene Christian, along with other schools from which he received D-I offers. He also had some D-II offers, including University of Central Oklahoma.
He, along with teammates Ethan Hall and Cade Cavender signed letters of intent on Feb. 6 before friends, family and school administrators with their respective schools.
While West declared his allegiance to West Point, Hall signed with the University of Tulsa and Cavender signed as a preferred walk-on with Oklahoma State.
West had a phenomenal impact in the Spartans’ 34-13 win over Stillwater in Class 6AII state title game in November. He forced nine tackles, four solo, three for loss and 2.5 sacks that evening.
“I think I was just playing for everyone around me – my teammates,” West said. “I didn’t want to end up how it was last year. I wanted to get that taste out of my mouth. It could have been my last game ever, you just never know. So, I just wanted to give it my all on every play.”
When asked what he will remember about being a Bixby Spartan, he said “it will be the brotherhood. Every kid on this team plays for each other. The friendships that come out of this are crazy. We’re all so close.”
When visiting Army, West said he really liked the coaches.
“They definitely know what they are doing, obviously,” West said. “The players are just all hard-working. They worked hard in high school to get there and now they work even harder in school and in the weight room and on the field. That shows. They were ranked 19th in the country this year at the end of this season. I think they’re all hard-working. It’s a lot like Bixby.”
As for military training, it’s done in the summer, West said. The No. 1 priority is academics during the school year.
Army came to Norman this past fall to play the University of Oklahoma.
“I didn’t get to go, but I really wanted to,” West said.
The Spartans’ linebacker agreed that the Black Knights played a disciplined and methodical style of football against the Sooners.
“I watched the whole thing on TV and that’s what really impressed me about them,” West said. “Before the game, I didn’t think it was going to be close. I think it showed their hard work too.”
Army dominated in time of possession, keeping the ball for about 75 percent of the game. The defense was impressive as well, mounting a goal line stand and holding the Sooners well below their scoring average. Army came just short short of pulling off the upset, succumbing 28-21 to OU in overtime.
West watched Army at other times in the season too.
“I watched quite a few of them,” he said. “Another one that sticks out is the bowl game against Houston. They beat them 70-14. Houston was a previously ranked team. They had a pretty good program the last couple of years and they just killed them. That was very shocking.”
Army tied a pair of bowl records in the blowout win against the Cougars: most points scored and largest margin of victory.
West said he is considering majoring in engineering and is ready to impact the program.
“I just hope to go in there and work as hard as I can and try to get on the field as soon as possible,” he said.
He is also prepared for the culture shock.
“It’s not the New York that everyone else thinks of (referring to Manhattan),” West said. “It’s got a lot of mountains and trees. So, it wasn’t that too big of a difference and New York City is 45 minutes away. It will be a big culture change, but I think I can handle it. It’s beautiful up there.”
One game West is looking forward to is when the Black Knights welcome OU to West Point in 2020.
“Hopefully, Coby Tillman and I get a go at each other,” he said, with laughter. Tillman is a former Bixby standout who is playing at OU as a walk-on.
“He’ll be playing fullback and I’ll be playing inside linebacker,” West said.