2-6-08 - With a record five Big 12 Championships, a national title, a bowl appearance in each of his nine seasons and six stops at BCS games during Bob Stoops’ tenure, it’s more than coincidental that Oklahoma also produces well on signing day.
The OU head coach and his staff have apparently done so again, attracting a class that is roundly regarded among the top 10 in the nation. A total of 21 prospects inked letters of intent on the first day of the signing period, Wednesday.
“The key is finding good players that fit our program,” said Stoops. “Playing here is not easy because the competition is good and a lot of hard work is expected, but the young men that choose to play here have rewarding experiences. We’re excited about this group because they seem to have a good understanding of what it takes to play at a championship level and they want to carry on the Sooner tradition.
“I want to congratulate our coaching staff for working so hard to identify good prospects and then for developing the kind of relationship it takes to explain the benefits of our program in depth. Our coaches do a great job for Oklahoma and for the prospects because of the way they communicate.”
The new Sooners represent a cross section of positions with three linebackers, three offensive linemen, defensive backs and receivers, two each at running back, defensive end, defensive tackle and defensive back and one each at quarterback and kicker.
Three of the signees hail from the junior college ranks while the other 19 are coming from high school. Three of those, quarterback Landry Jones, running back Justin Johnson and offensive lineman Britt Mitchell are already enrolled at OU. They are already involved in conditioning workouts and will participate in spring workouts as well.
Texas produced the most signees for OU with 11 followed by Oklahoma and Georgia with three and one each from Florida, Maryland, New Jersey and New Mexico.
Oklahoma is scheduled to open spring practices March 5. Those workouts conclude April 12 with the annual Red/White Spring Game.
LB | 6-2 | 250 | Upper Marlboro, Md. | Lackawanna (Pa.) College
Tabbed the Northeast Football Conference Player of the Year ... second team NJCAA All-American ... first team Northeast Football All-Conference on defense ... racked up 86 tackles in 2007, 72 solo ... totaled one sack with three forced fumbles ... two interceptions for a total of 62 return yards ... had 12 tackles in one game against Navy Prep ... clocked at 4.6 in the 40 … coached by Mark Duda … born: Sept. 28, 1983 … pronunciation: BOW-luh-gun.
LB| 6-3 | 230 | Jesup, Ga. |Garden City (Kan.) Community College
Named No. 34 junior college player by Rivals.com … first team All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference … NJCAA All-Region VI … recorded 81 tackles and two tackles for a loss in 2007 as well as one sack … clocked at 4.5 second in the 40 … Garden City was ranked No. 17 in the final NJCAA poll … coached by Lucas Aslin … born: Dec. 5, 1987.
RB | 6-0 | 210 | Ben Wheeler, Texas | Van High School
No. 1-rated running back in the nation and No. 7 player overall by ESPN and CSTV … No. 3 overall nationally by Scout.com and No. 2 in Texas … No. 10 player nationally by Sports Illustrated/Takkle.com … ranked No. 19 player nationally by Rivals.com and No. 2 at running back … No. 1 player on Rivals’ Texas Top 100 … Parade All-American … named the 2008 Southwest Offensive Player of the Year by SuperPrep Magazine ... selected to play in the ESPN All American game ... Texas class 3-A Offensive Player of the Year ... third team EA Sports All-American ... carried 242 times in his senior season racking up 1,910 yards and 30 touchdowns ... attempted 104 passes, completing 57 for 803 yards and four touchdowns … had 185 rushes in 2006 for 1,601 yards and 20 TD while adding another two scores and 128 yards on five receptions ... in 2005, racked up 1,830 yards on 230 carries with 23 touchdowns and six catches for 145 yards and four touchdowns ... guardians: Tracy and Hank Neal … coached by Brady Pennington ... born Oct. 12, 1988 … pronunciation: JER-me.
LB | 6-3 | 220 | Mount Airy, Ga. | Habersham Central High School
Selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl ... also participated in the Under Armour ESPN All-Star game ... No. 5 inside linebacker by ESPN … No. 17 weak side linebacker by Scout.com … named to Rivals.com All-South team ... News Channel 32 All-Northeast Georgia team ... named to the Georgia Football Magazine all-state team ... Gainesville Times first team all-area ... led team with 128 tackles in 2007 ... as a four-year starter, set school record with 395 career tackles ... a team captain, he was also named the team’s Defensive MVP ... parents: Connie and Mike Franklin ... coached by Gene Cathcart … born: Oct. 23, 1989.
OL | 6-5 | 305 | Paris, Texas | Paris High School
Ranked the No. 2 run blocker and No. 29 overall player by Rivals.com ... Scout.com No. 3 offensive guard … No. 7 tackle by ESPN … named to the East Texas all-state team as well as the AP all-state team in 2006 … elected all-district three out of four years ... chosen to play in the 2008 U.S. Army All-American Bowl … recorded 24 pancake blocks in only two games as a senior … compiled 208 pancake blocks in his high school career … allowed just one sack in all four years as a starter … parents: Kim and Tommy Good … coached by Travis Smith … born Feb. 5, 1990.
OL | 6-4 | 275 | Argyle, Texas | Liberty Christian School
Selected as a U.S. Army All-American … named a Parade Magazine All-American … No. 2 center nationally by ESPN, No. 3 by Rivals.com, No. 4 by Scout.com … first team all-state on both offensive and defensive line … received all-district honors for both offensive and defensive line play while being voted the district’s most valuable player … Denton Record Chronicle’s two-way player of the year and member of all-area team … in 2007, recorded 112 pancake blocks while not allowing a sack, and defensively racked up 67 tackles and 11 sacks … in 2006, totaled 61 pancake blocks on the offensive side of the ball and recorded 34 tackles and five sacks on defense … parents: Debi and Richard Habern … coached by Mark Bowles … born: July 28, 1989 … pronunciation: HAY-burn.
TE | 6-4 | 215 | Flower Mound, Texas | Flower Mound High School
No. 32 on the Rivals.com Texas Top 100, No. 11 at tight end … No. 13 TE by ESPN, No. 20 by Scout.com … district offensive MVP in 2007 … selected to the Texas Sports Writers all-state team as an honorable mention wide receiver… in 2007, hauled in 53 catches for 765 yards with 11 touchdowns … also returned six punts for 145 yards and a touchdown and six kicks for 181 yards and another score … rushed 17 times for 131 yards … parents: Kim and Rick Grizzle … his mother played volleyball at Miami of Ohio … coached by Cody Vanderford … born: July 14, 1989
DB | 6-5 | 180 | Gilmer, Texas | Gilmer High School
No. 35 on Rivals.com Texas 100 … ranked the No. 26 athlete in the class by Rivals.com and the No. 44 cornerback by Scout.com … two-time second-team all-state selection … first-team all-district and first-team All-East Texas … caught 48 passes for 734 yards and seven touchdowns in 2007 despite missing four games with an injury … as a junior, had 42 receptions for 810 yards with 16 touchdowns … also that year was credited with 16 tackles, two fumble recoveries, three interceptions and long interception returns of 82 and 42 yards … teammate of Sooner signee Justin Johnson … Parents: Dondi Harris and Katrina Wood-Ray … born: Oct. 22, 1989.
LB | 6-4 | 205 | Garland, Texas | South Garland High School
Named all-state in 2007 … voted unanimous all-district selection … ranked by Rivals.com in its Top 100 at No. 92, as well as its Texas Top 25 at No. 15 … No. 10 safety by Scout.com … No. 16 OLB by ESPN … The Dallas Morning News as first team all-area … racked up 72 tackles in his senior season causing one fumble … recovered another fumble … blocked two punts and had seven passes defended … parent: Tai Hazoome … coached by Mickey Moss … born: Nov. 28, 1989 … pronunciation: IB-uh-loy.
WR | 6-3 | 195 | Decatur, Ga. | Cedar Grove High School
Named Under Armour All-American ... No. 13 player nationally by ESPN … No. 10 wide receiver nationally by ESPN and Rivals.com, No. 18 wide receiver by Scout.com … selected to the Atlanta Falcons 7-on-7 all-star team in both 2006 and 2007 ... tabbed first team all-county in both junior and senior seasons (2006, 2007) ... voted pre-season first team all-state in 2007 ... a three-year player, totaled 34 receptions for 643 yards and five touchdowns his senior season ... in 2006, hauled in 43 catches for 873 yards and seven scores while running the ball 22 times for 417 yards and 3 more scores ... completed two of three attempts passing for 47 yards and another touchdown ... had 15 catches for 478 yards and seven TD in 2005 ... coached by Ray Bonner … born: Nov. 17, 1989.
RB | 6-1 | 210 | Gilmer, Texas | Gilmer High School
No. 2 running back nationally by Scout.com, No. 14 by Rivals.com and ESPN … named to ESPN’s top 150 prospects … No. 17 in Rivals.com Texas 100 … had 204 carries for 2164 yards and 25 TD in 2007 … MVP in Texas class 3-A, East Texas and in his district … first-team all-state as a senior after earning second team honors as a junior … as a junior, logged 86 attempts for 1,015 yards and 11 TD, and as a sophomore had 91 carries for 793 yards and eight touchdowns … played defense as a sophomore and logged 49 tackles, six sacks and one interception … played in U.S. Army All-American Game … cousin of current Sooner receiver Manuel Johnson … teammate of Sooner signee Lamar Harris … guardian: Todd and Dolly Robinson … born: Sept. 29, 1989.
QB | 6-4 | 210 | Artesia, N.M. | Artesia High School
Named Parade All-American ... played in the Under Armour ESPN All-American game ... second team multi-purpose All-American by EA Sports ... selected as New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year ... No. 3 quarterback by ESPN … ranked by Rivals.com as the best player in New Mexico, and as the No. 6 Best Pro-Style Quarterback ... rated by Scout.com as the No. 6 quarterback nationally ... finalist for the Joe Montana Quarterback of the Year award ... a member of both the 2006 and 2007 New Mexico all-state teams ... threw for 3,850 yards on 366 pass attempts and 44 TDs with only 11 interceptions on his way to a state title in 2007 ... those numbers followed a season in which he threw for 3,432 yards and 45 scores on his way to his first state title in 2006 ... also rushed for 294 yards and nine scores in 2006 ... parents: Kellye and Kevin Jones ... coached by Cooper Henderson … born: April 4, 1989.
DE | 6-4 | 240 | Houston, Texas | Strake Jesuit College Prep
Ranked the No. 16 strong side defensive end by Rivals.com … No. 11 defensive end by Scout.com … named the unanimous district Defensive MVP … elected to the All Greater Houston team by The Houston Chronicle … racked up 46 tackles from his defensive end position as well as nine tackles for a loss … recorded 4.5 sacks and six quarterback pressures … also batted six passes and intercepted one … coached by Ron Counter … born Dec. 27, 1989.
DL | 6-4 | 260 | Muskogee, Okla. | Muskogee High School
Named to Rivals.com’s all-state team while being ranked in its Top 100 (86), Best Defensive Ends (8) and Oklahoma Top 25 (2) … No. 11 defensive tackle nationally by Scout.com, No. 15 by ESPN … selected to The Tulsa World and Oklahoman all-state teams ... Muskogee Phoenix’s Defensive Player of the Year ... recorded 98 tackles his senior season with 20 going for a loss, including six sacks ... also registered two interceptions, eight batted passes and three forced fumbles ... for his career, racked up 160 tackles, 38 for a loss and 13 sacks ... totaled six interceptions and 21 broken up passes for his career... parents: Stacy and Sabrina McGee ... coached by Matt Hennesey … born: Jan. 17, 1990.
WR | 6-5 | 200 | Metuchen, N.J. | Metuchen High School
No. 13 wide receiver by Scout.com, No. 21 by ESPN … elected to the AP all-state team in 2007 … finalist for the Gatorade Player of the Year Award … four-year starter in both football and basketball, as well as the New Jersey state champion in the 200-meter dash … elected to play in the Offense-Defense All-American game … tallied 77 tackles from his safety position, as well as one interception and six passes broken up … racked up 46 receptions for 612 yards with six touchdowns … ran 51 times for 455 yards and five touchdowns … accounted for 14 total touchdowns … parents: Cornelia and Jeremy Miller … coached by Bob Ulmer … born April 10, 1990.
OL | 6-6 | 320 | Roscoe, Texas | Roscoe High School
First team all-state in 2007 after receiving second team all-state honors in 2006 … two-time all-area team member (2006, 2007) … No. 34 offensive tackle by ESPN … No. 45 offensive lineman by Scout.com, No. 68 byRivals.com … totaled 64 pancake blocks his senior season despite missing four games due to injury/illness … graded at 97 percent on his blocking assignments in 2007 … anchored the line for an offense that averaged 455.5 yards per game … parent: Cari Duda … coached by Wes Williams … born: June 9, 1989.
WR | 6-3 | 200 | Muskogee, Okla. | Muskogee High School
Rated the No. 1 player in Oklahoma by Rivals.com and the No. 8 receiver nationally … No. 10 receiver by ESPN … No. 1 player in Oklahoma and No. 15 receiver nationally by Scout.com … top-50 prospect by Sports Illustrated/Takkle.com … selected to both the US Army and Parade Magazine All-American teams ... named an all-state team member by both The Oklahoman and the Tulsa World ... Muskogee Phoenix’s Most Valuable Player … caught 59 passes in 2007 racking up 994 yards and 10 scores ... totaled 167 receptions for 3,444 yards and 45 touchdowns as a four-year starter ... parent: Debra Owens ... coached by Matt Hennesey … born: April 15, 1989.
S | 5-11 | 198 | Gainesville, Fla. | Butte College
JUCO All-American ... named both all-region and all-state in 2007 ... ranked in the Rivals.com JUCO top 60 ... racked up 70 tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss and one sack ... intercepted six passes while defending six others ... picked up four fumbles while forcing one ... had three plays over 98 yards, all for touchdowns, one 99-yard fumble recovery, one 98-yard two-point conversion return and one 100-yard field goal return ... in 2006, played in seven games carrying 100 times for 384 yards and five TDs ... ran a 4.38 second 40-yard dash ... coached by Jeff Jordan … born: Oct. 20, 1986.
DL | 6-3 | 285 | Garland, Texas | Garland High School
Ranked by ESPN as the No. 35 defensive tackle nationally, No. 39 by Scout.com , No. 56 by Rivals.com … recorded 22 tackles in 2007 with two sacks and two forced fumbles … also credited with seven quarterback hurries … in 2006, totaled 25 tackles with two sacks … also picked up a fumble and recorded two quarterback hurries … parents: Natalie and Chris Pipkin … coached by Jeff Jordan … born: Dec. 6, 1989.
DE | 6-4 | 242 | Fort Worth, Texas | Keller Fossil Ridge High School
No. 11 prospect nationally by ESPN, No. 14 by Sports Illustrated/Takkle.com … No. 1-rated defensive end nationally by Rivals.com and ESPN, No. 2 by Scout.com … EA Sports All-American ... named the 2008 Southwest Defensive Player of the year by SuperPrep Magazine ... Parade Magazine All-American ... elected to play in the 2008 U.S. Army All-American Bowl ... received all state honors in each of his last two seasons (2006, 2007) ... Dallas Morning News All-Area Team ... recorded 84 tackles in 2007 with 11 sacks and 36 quarterback pressures ... holds school records in both sacks in a career with 29 and in a game with three ... earned first-team all-district honors in 2006 and 2007 while being named the sophomore of the year in 2005 ... parent: Sherrilyn Wright ... coached by Tony Baccarinni ... born March 14, 1989.
K | 6-1 | 190 | Tulsa, Okla. | Tulsa Union High School
Member of both The Oklahoman and Tulsa World all-state teams ... Rivals.com No. 17 player in Oklahoma ... No. 11 kicker nationally by Scout.com ... selected to play in the 2008 Oil Bowl ... named district special teams player of the year ... converted all 42 extra point attempts ... hit 14-of-19 field goal attempts, the longest coming from 47 yards ... made the game-winning extra point to beat 6-A state champion Jenks … kicked two field goals and had two punts downed inside the five yard line in a 13-6 semifinal win over Muskogee … handled punting duties, averaging 38.4 yards on 26 attempts ... parents: Debra and Leo Way ... coached by Kirk Fridrich … born April 18, 1990.