Originally Published: Feb 3, 2010 5:30 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
NORMAN, Oklahoma – The Oklahoma Sooners signed 28 recruits on National Signing Day Tuesday and likely will finalize a 29th soon. Rivals.com ranked the Sooners’ class No. 7 in the nation, but they were the only team in the top 10 to not sign a five-star recruit.
Other than the one player who has not been finalized, head coach Bob Stoops said the signing process went according to plan.
“The day went exactly as we expected it to, with everyone having their signatures in by 11:30,” Stoops said. “Really, I could not be more excited about the class. First, we met every one of our needs by position ? and I felt like we really got great talent in all of those positions.”
After All-American Jermaine Gresham missed all of last season with a knee injury, the tight end position was one of OU’s biggest weaknesses. The Sooners solved that with two high-profile recruits: local product Austin Haywood from Southmoore and Trey Millard from Missouri.
“They’re good guys, those tight ends. Austin Haywood is a really physical, bigger guy who can run,” Stoops said. “I hear from a lot of coach Switzer’s assistants that he reminds you of a Keith Jackson-type guy. Trey Millard, to us, is one of our best athletes we’ve signed.”
Stoops said Millard can shift between tight end, fullback and short-distance halfback and play all positions equally well; much like Matt Clapp has for the Sooners over the past three years.
“You know how I love Matt Clapp and Brody Eldridge, the guys that can play fullback and play H-back and move them around,” Stoops said. “You put Trey out there and he catches the ball well. You watch his highlights as a running back and he’s a big back, like a Matt Clapp. Trey can do a lot of things, and with that frame to see how talented he is and the way he moves; we love guys like that.”
With the departures of Gerald McCoy to the NFL and Cordero Moore and DeMarcus Granger to graduation, the Sooners also took a hit to their depth at defensive tackle. They solved that problem with four defensive tackle recruits, all of whom are 6-foot-4 and weigh more than 270 pounds.
“All those guys up front have great size and quickness. We’re excited about them,” Stoops said.
OU also needed to address depth issues on the offensive line and did so with the signings of five linemen. Four of them – Bronson Irwin, Tyrus Thompson, Daryl Williams and Austin Woods – are four-star recruits according to Rivals.com. Irwin and Woods are both already enrolled in school.
“I love the guys we signed,” Stoops said. “A couple young guys are already here, and they’re all quality young men. They all have big, strong frames and they all seem to run well and move well ? Looking at these guys, I’m really excited about them. They’re really a strong, good-looking group of linemen.”
The linemen join a talented duo of running backs in this year’s class, Brennan Clay and Roy Finch. Rivals.com ranked Clay as the No. 2 running back in the nation and Finch No. 4. They will add even more depth to an already skilled backfield that includes sophomores Jonathan Miller and Jermie Calhoun.
“[Brennan] and Roy, if you watch their highlights, you could sit there for three hours,” Stoops said. “It’s amazing the big runs, the big plays and being able to catch the ball on top of running.”
Clay and Finch have both been clocked with sub-4.5 40-yard-dash times, but Clay is four inches taller and 20 pounds heavier.
“They’re just a little bit different, but what you see is acceleration, change of direction without losing speed, and the ability to make people miss them,” Stoops said. “They’re natural runners ? They may be similar to Reggie Bush in the way they catch it, the way they change direction, the way they’re able to accelerate.”
One of the biggest surprises for the Sooners was the late addition of Corey Nelson, a Dallas native who is ranked the No. 12 outside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com. Wilson previously committed to Texas A&M, but switched at the last minute Tuesday and signed with the Sooners.
“There was some interest [from Nelson] after the bowl games,” Stoops said. “It’s no different than anyone else you’re recruiting; you’re selling your program and why you think it’s the right fit ... Fortunately, Corey was listening. As it wore on, he felt this was what was best for him.”
On the flip side, Stoops said he was disappointed in the loss of Jarrett Lake as a potential signee. Lake committed to OU, but Stoops said there were issues with his transcripts that caused the two sides to part ways. Lake has since committed to Arkansas.
“We actually, shortly after the Christmas holiday, had a mutual decision between the two of us that we weren’t going to proceed any further,” Stoops said. “Jarrett pursued some other options, and we were glad he did. He’s a wonderful young man, and we really liked he and the family. It’s just something that needed to work that way.”
Stoops added that he and his coaching staff have no plans to switch players from their listed positions at the moment. Such changes could happen in the future, but they would likely take place during or after spring practices.
Stoops never expressly named the one player the Sooners are still waiting to sign, but it is wide receiver recruit Kenny Stills. Stills has graduated high school and already enrolled at OU, but questions regarding an online class have kept him from being able to officially sign. Stoops said that he plans on the situation being resolved soon.
Full list of OU’s signees:
Justin McCray (ATH)
Blake Bell (QB)
Brennan Clay (RB)
Roy Finch (RB)
Tony Jefferson (S)
Geneo Grissom (DE)
James Haynes (DB)
Austin Haywood (TE)
Eric Humphrey (DT)
Bronson Irwin (OL)
Trey Millard (TE)
Corey Nelson (LB)
Tyrus Thompson (OL)
Daryl Williams (OL)
Austin Woods (OL)
Aaron Colvin (DB)
Quentin Hayes (DB)
Chuka Ndulue (DE)
Daniel Noble (DT)
Torrea Peterson (DT)
Joe Powell (ATH)
Adam Shead (OL)
Damon Williams (DT)
Rashod Favors (LB)
Aaron Franklin (LB)
Trey Franks (ATH)
Sheldon McClain (WR)
Julian Wilson (ATH)
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.