The bids are in: Sooners welcome 24 new players on Signing Day
Oklahoma closed National Signing Day on Wednesday with 24 signees, giving the Sooners the No. 15- and No. 16-ranked recruiting class by Rivals.com and ESPN.com, respectively.
“We’re really excited about the excellent class we put together here this year,“ coach Bob Stoops said. “Like always, I think we’re always looking for a good mix of guys on both sides of the football, (and) I felt like we got that.”
Four-star running back Keith Ford — the No. 48 player in the country according to Rivals.com — headlines a class that boasts seven four-star recruits.
“(He’s) one of the better players down in the whole Houston area,“ Bob Stoops said. “Catches the ball well, has the ability to make people miss, physical to run through people — all the things you really want.”
Other standouts from the 2013 class include quarterback Cody Thomas, defensive tackle Kerrick Huggins and defensive backs L.J. Moore, Stanvon Taylor and Hatari Byrd.
“Overall, just as a blanket statement, I think that this group of kids really has a strong work ethic,“ co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said. “They come from strong programs that have won, and I think their character is one we will be very proud of here at Oklahoma.”
Thomas is one of those players. A 2013 MaxPreps preseason All-American baseball prospect and, according to Rivals.com, the nation’s No. 7 quarterback, he has drawn comparisons to former OU quarterback Sam Bradford.
“Whatever [Bradford] did, he did it well,” Bob Stoops said. “And Cody is like that. Everything he does, he does well.”
The 6-foot-5 220-pound quarterback/outfielder has sparked specualtion as to whether he’ll attend OU or sign an MLB contract this summer, but the Sooners’ coaching staff is confident Thomas is committed to playing football.
“Cody is a guy that football is important to him,” Bob Stoops said. “It isn’t like here’s just a baseball player that’s playing football for the heck of it, football is important to Cody, and he wants to succeed.”
Defensively, the Sooners also addressed a number of needs, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said.
“I think we’re in a better position now, a year down the road, than we were last year at this time,“ he said. “I feel like we’ve caught up in a hurry. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
OU picked up key recruits in the secondary and defensive line, two areas of concern for coaches and fans alike.
“I thought as the year went on our defense started to deteriorate a little bit towards the end of the year,” Mike Stoops said. “(We) just need to try to find some more playmakers in our defense, put our players in better position to make plays and, certainly, that is our responsibility (as coaches).”
With that being said, Mike Stoops had high praise for the defensive backs of the 2013 class.
“When this group is finalized [Wednesday], this will be as complete a group of secondary guys that I’ve ever been associated with,“ he said. “When you look at their skill level, their size, their speed, their range, their character, this is a very complete group of players that will contest for playing time.”
Fans won’t have the opportunity to see most of the 2013 class in crimson until the summer, but early signees punter Jed Barnett, receiver Dannon Cavil, defensive lineman Quincy Russell, safety Ahmad Thomas and defensive end D.J. Ward will participate in spring football, which ends in the annual Red-White Spring football game.
The Spring Game is scheduled for 2 p.m. on April 13 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, and tickets can be purchased for $5 online or by calling the OU Athletics Ticket Office.