NORMAN — The second area where OU had to reload was in the secondary. The Sooners have to replace three of four starters from last season. There’s also the matter of playing in the pass-heavy Big 12, which makes having as many as seven defensive backs ready to play essential.
The Sooners literally criss-crossed the country to get them. They stayed in state to get Tulsa East Central cornerback Stanvon Taylor and landed cornerback Dakota Austin from Lancaster, Texas.
The Sooners went to Miami to land cornerback Ahmad Thomas. Then jumped out to Fresno, Calif., to secure the signatures of safety Hatari Byrd and cornerback L.J. Moore.
“Really excited about all of them,” Bob Stoops said. “They all have size and they all have range to them on top of ability. Definitely, we’re excited about them. We feel like it’s a really good group.”
OU got the two best linebackers in the state — Norman North’s Jordan Evans and Tulsa Washington’s Dominique Alexander — to come aboard.
The offensive needs started on the offensive line. OU went the junior college route to secure immediate help at both guard and tackle. Trinity Valley (Texas) tackle Josiah St. John will push for immediate playing time. Mammoth guard Dionte Savage (6-foot-5, 345 pounds) will do the game. The only prep offensive linemen the Sooners inked was Houston tackle Christian Daimler.
The highest rated recruits in the class were at two positions where OU doesn’t require instant impact. Cypress, Texas, running back Keith Ford is a five-star recruit with Scout.com and a unanimous top-seven running back with ESPN, Rivals and 247sports.com. However, OU has seniors Damien Williams and Brennan Clay along with Alex Ross and David Smith coming out of redshirt.
It’s the same case with Colleyville, Texas, quarterback Cody Thomas. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the country. However, Thomas is also one of the best baseball players in the country. Stoops said he’ll get the opportunity to play both sports at OU.