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Sooners, Cowboys land big hauls

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The successes of last season translated into outstanding recruiting classes for Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

The 23 players signed by Oklahoma on Wednesday placed the Sooners fourth nationally according to SuperPrep magazine, and National Blue Chips. Oklahoma State's class of 31 players was ranked 14th by

``We have another well-balanced class, which seems to be a trademark for us,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. ``We never overload at one position but always strive for good balance. I believe we've achieved that once again.''

Oklahoma was coming off a 12-2 season that included a Big 12 title and a Rose Bowl championship. The Sooners signed four linemen on each side of the ball, three each at linebacker, defensive back and at running back, two receivers, two tight ends, one quarterback and a punter.

They landed Courtney Tennial of Glenpool, regarded as the top running back in Oklahoma. They also got defensive lineman Carl Pendleton of Sapulpa, linebacker Dane Zaslow of Edmond Memorial and lineman Brian Zimpel of Broken Arrow.

Robert Meachem of Tulsa Washington, considered the state's No. 1 recruit, had Oklahoma among his final choices but signed with Tennessee.

Oklahoma, as always, had good luck in Texas. Among the 12 signees from south of the Red River were linebacker Demario Pleasant and defensive back Tony Cade, both of Lewisville, defensive lineman Steven Coleman of Dallas Skyline and defensive end John Williams of Houston Lamar.

Stoops said the Sooners may add one player by the end of the week.

``This is another very athletic class,'' he said. ``Many of these athletes play multiple sports and have excellent speed.''

Among Oklahoma State's recruits was one of the nation's top defensive line prospects and Oklahoma's top quarterback prospect. The Cowboys' total was six more than the NCAA limit, although two count against last year's total and others aren't expected to qualify academically.

``Like any recruiting class, you have to look four or five years down the road before you can see what they accomplished,'' coach Les Miles said. ``I think that on paper, it is as quality of a recruiting class as I have seen in a while. It gives us a great opportunity to work with a talented group of young men.''

Oklahoma State is coming off its most successful season in five years _ 8-5 with a victory in the Houston Bowl.

The Cowboys filled a need by signing five defensive linemen including Xavier Lawson-Kennedy of Duncanville, Texas, and Brad Girtman of Houston Memorial. Lawson-Kennedy is ranked by most recruiting services as among the top five linemen in the country.

``Those two guys will have an opportunity to play here awfully early,'' Miles said. ``With the addition of (junior college transfer) Efe Mowarin, it looks to be a quality defensive line class.''

Donovan Woods of Oklahoma City Millwood, considered the top quarterback prospect in the state, was one of three QBs who signed with the Cowboys. Miles said it's not a certainty that Woods will play as a freshman.

In-state signees with the Cowboys included defensive back Grant Jones of Pawnee, running back/athlete Andrew Alexander of Lawton, safety Jeremy Nethon of Beggs and offensive lineman Jerome Bremby of Altus.

New Tulsa coach Steve Kragthorpe had to play catchup after being hired Dec. 18 to replace the fired Keith Burns. The Golden Hurricane signed 22 players including Owasso quarterback Paul Smith and Edmond Santa Fe receiver Roland Garrett.

``To be honest with you, I'm pinching myself a bit right now because of the fact that we've been able to sign this type of class in the time frame we've been able to do it in,'' Kragthorpe said.

The group includes four receivers and seven defensive backs for Kragthorpe's wide open offense and his defense designed to stop pass-happy Western Athletic Conference offenses.
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