1 Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops National Signing Day Press Conference February 6, 2013 Opening Statement: We re really excited about the excellent class we put together here this year. Like always we re looking for a good mix of guys on both sides of the football and we got that. I m really excited about the number of in-state quality players we got. We got excellent players here and the top guys in the state of Oklahoma here with us, and I thought we really addressed some of the major needs that we needed. You know, interior defensive tackles, we got four guys and then with them three defensive ends for four positions up front. Some really good players we can single out: Quincy Russell being that he s a junior college guy with the size and strength and quickness he has we expect, well really all of these guys anymore we expect to make an immediate impact, but we expect Quincy being in the position that he s older, but we need guys to step up. Also another big need, I think with graduation in the secondary with some of the guys that left early and with Tony (Jefferson) leaving early I felt that with the backs that we ve got I feel great about the skill and ability of those guys, and we ll see if there is anything more to add to it by the end of the day (L.J. Moore). Going to the offensive side of the ball, I think everybody always wants to know about your quarterback. Cody Thomas is an exceptional athlete. He s a guy that everyone has talked about and will have an opportunity to play pro baseball. Talking with Cody and his family through this whole recruiting process he is adamant that he truly wants to play football unless he was picked so high that he couldn t turn away from it, but the indications are that football is important enough to him that he s going to pursue that and looking at where he may be projected to be drafted. We wouldn t have pursued this and gone down this road if we didn t feel that there was a great chance that Cody would be with us. If he s here and that works the way we want it to, then we want him to play baseball. He wants to play baseball, and I would be excited to watch him. I said over and over that I d take the whole team once we re out of spring on a Saturday after a scrimmage or something and go over and watch him play and root him on, so I think it s exciting. If he could help our baseball team I think it would be great. We got four excellent receivers, two really big guys when you look at Dannon Cavil all of 6 4, maybe 6 5 and already on campus. He s 210 or so pounds. He really tested out well and is already working with our guys. Jordan Smallwood is another guy here from Oklahoma who has great size and strength. We had him in camp and loved the way he played. And then a couple of other guys that are excellent players: K.J. Young and Austin Bennett are guys that can play outside and inside, great route runners, great athletes and great hands. Offensive line, we needed help there, we got two junior college guys that are really going to help us. Josiah St. John is a big tackle, all of 6 6, 305 or so pounds and is an excellent athlete at that position, and then Dionte Savage is a very physical inside player, 335 or 340, is very powerful and strong in the weight room. He s really going to give us a strong presence inside. We have an excellent athlete in Christian Daimler. He s a guy that reminds us a lot of Lane Johnson. Last check he s taller than 6 6, almost 6 7, 285 or 90 pounds and is a good athlete. Running back we got an exceptional player in Keith Ford. He s one of the better players down in the whole Houston area. He played on a great team: I believe they lost in the semi-finals. Keith had almost 1,900 yards rushing, and I want to say 28 touchdowns. He just had an excellent year. He catches the ball well, the ability to make people miss him, physical enough to run through people, just all the things you really want.
2 I m really excited with signing day. You know people don t get excited about it. Jed Barnett is a guy we really needed. He s one of the best junior college punters in the country. His hang time is around four seconds or better. He averaged over 40 yards per punt. No one gets really excited about Jed until next year when you re punting the ball. I was focused on it and really excited about Jed. He s a big guy probably about pounds. He s got a big leg, and I really believe he s going to be a key ingredient for us when we re on the field next fall. On if he is comfortable with QB depth if Cody Thomas opted to play baseball full-time: For the time being you would be. We like all three of our guys, but again, our anticipation is that Cody would be with us. I m not much on anticipating other than that. On whether Thomas could play if we was on a baseball scholarship: No. I believe if you re on a baseball scholarship and we would play Cody then he would count against our numbers. On if Thomas is like Sam Bradford: With Sam it just seemed so effortless with how quick his release was, and Cody has got a great release, a great arm, he s just so athletic. With Sam everything he picked up, he picks up a golf club he shoots even par, on a basketball court he would be one of the top three guys picked in this room when he was here with our team. Whatever he did he did it well, and Cody is like that. Everything he does he does it well, and I think Cody, if we want to continue down that road, he s athletic enough to pull the ball and run it. He s not quite as tall as Sam, which I think gives him the ability to run a little bit better. On if Thomas playing baseball will impact his ability to pick up the offense: No, because we only practice 15 times through the entire spring. As you know, we have a couple of times this spring where we re only on the field three times that week, so we can make it work. He s too talented not to play. If God gives you that kind of talent then you need to use it, and we can work around that. The other days that we re not practicing we re not allowed to be out on the field with them anyway. He ll have all summer to be out there throwing with his teammates and getting the timing that he needs. In two-a-days you have a whole month of practices where he s not playing baseball, so I think it can be managed. Now in the old days you had 20 or so practices, and you were involved more that way then maybe, but I don t see it being a factor. On if Thomas needs to be here in the summer: Oh sure. And Cody is a guy who football is important to him. It isn t like here s just a baseball player who is playing football just for the heck of it. Football is important to Cody. He wants to succeed and he has the ability to be a professional in my eyes, and I don t know that that s fair to say out of high school, but he s got a great future in football too with the athlete that he is and how well he throws the ball. On if he is disappointed with no tight end recruits or if he s good with the group already on campus: I think it s a little bit of each, but we like the three guys we ve got here for next year. We re not in a position where we re looking to play two or three of them. Now down the road if we get the right guys then we do, but these young guys we have from a years ago are top recruits. They re guys who could have gone a lot of places, and next year I believe will make an impact. Taylor McNamara and Sam Grant were two highly recruiting guys who just need a little time, so they will be on the field more next year, and it will be more of an emphasis next year. On looking for Trey Millard replacements: You re always looking for, well we are always looking for guys like that, sure. On if they looked for fullback type guys late: I wouldn t say that we were looking late. We were constantly looking, but as a lot of guys with the exceptional player that he is, there s not a lot like him.
3 On recruiting for defensive tackles who have speed: On the defensive line you have to be able to run to be any good anyways, so that s the only way you re going to get penetration or get to the quarterback, those kinds of things, or be able to chase the ball down to the sidelines, so they re hard to find. There are just not a lot of them, but we love these four guys. We feel they re really excellent players. All can run. All have got good size, so I feel it s a really good group. On projecting Jordan Evans future: Kickoff return guy (laughs). Yes, linebacker, outside linebacker. You know, his dad was a great D end here. If he grows into a defensive end, then great. He s got the speed, the quickness, the agility to play outside linebacker. He s got the size where you re unsure where he will end up growing to, but that s good. The bottom line when we all looked at him and were watching him over and over is everybody likes him, so wherever he ends up kind of growing to, good. He s just a great athlete. He s got a lot of range in size to him, and we re like hey, we ll find the right spot for him once we get him here. On if it s an easy calculation for Stoops to see what Evans will do: Sure. Absolutely. Dan Cody was absolutely the same way. We kept watching Dan, and what s he going to play? Finally there was two or three of us watching and I said, I don t care what he s going to play. The guy is a good football player. He s good, he s tough, he plays hard, he s athletic, and let s get him here. Once you work with guys daily you find what s best for them and where they re going to have the most success. When we find what helps him have the most success then it helps us as a team, too. On if Evans will kickoff return: Oh yeah. We will give him a shot. On if someone told him (Jordan Evans) the kickoff returning days were over: Geez, I thought I was in charge of that. On how different recruiting is with all the new technology: Quite a bit. Some of it s not. The relationships, and still visiting with people, and the human factor and face to face and those kinds of things still matter. The technology part of it is pretty incredible with everything that s out there, so you just keep working with it. On his (Stoops) Twitter account: My twitter account is strictly recruiting. You guys can t get on it. I restrict it to recruits. You ve got to. You ve got to reach them. On if people are trying to follow him (Stoops) on Twitter: Are you kidding? Of course. On how many follower requests he has had: Quite a few, but it s not happening. That s like I had a published for a day. My secretary walked in with a stack of papers with suggestions and what I need to be doing and everything else, and that was way back in I want to say On why he got a Twitter account: Yeah it is, just like Facebook. I do Facebook just for recruiting. You ve got to reach your recruits, and I ve been doing that, so for those reasons I do it. Am I doing it publicly and for everyone? No. That s not going to happen. On why he doesn t want a personal social media account: I m not other coaches, and I don t know who does or doesn t, and I don t really care what other people do. I m not trying to measure myself to them, so I do what pleases me.
4 On if he got the speed he needs at linebacker: You do. Dominique Alexander is a great athlete when he s out in space running and covering, all of that. He s powerful, strong, tackling, and Jordan is the same thing. He s really athletic out there, so definitely those are the kind of guys, but they still have to by physical and tackle, and these guys do that, but definitely the athleticism they have is a plus. On if he is looking forward to the quarterback competition: We re already off recruiting. Any more recruiting questions? On Dionte Savage: Well, Dionte [Savage] is physical. If you watch him, you can tell he has really worked hard in the weight room and he is really strong and powerful. I am hopeful and believe that is going to help us be physical up there. On Adam Shead: Adam [Shead] has been working out and finished the season and he is doing things like he always has. It is fair to say that Adam [Shead] has always fought that. It comes and goes but nothing has happened here lately. I don t think that [surgery] is the direction that they want to go. On the process of maturing for Dionte Savage: You can tell he has really worked hard to put himself in the position and when you watch him you can see the power and the strength that he has worked and developed. You can tell he seems to have a real purpose in what he wants to do. On in-state recruiting in Oklahoma: We always want to do a great job in our home state and fortunately through the years we have. We are always diligent in that the first players we evaluate and continue to evaluate are always in state players. Not that we are always right, but we are doing everything we can to watch them, evaluate them, get to know them, get them around us, invite them to campus, invite them to practices, invite them to scrimmages, and it has been a positive. These are all excellent players and again, some of the top players in our state. On the talent in the state of Oklahoma for 2014: We definitely see a lot of great players around. On players possibly playing multiple positions: People were talking about how Stanvon [Taylor] could be a receiver, but you love it when a corner has receiver-type ball skills to go after the ball. He reminds us very much of Aaron Colvin, just the athlete that he is. We believe he is special. We are excited about Stanvon [Taylor] at corner. It is like K.J. Young he is a great DB when they play him there. He has a bunch of interceptions and he has size. He is 6 1, about and all the secondary guys have good size to them too. On D.J. Ward not playing last season: D.J. is a guy that has been dying to play again. He has had a great attitude through it all and has continued to lift and run. You can tell that he looks like he is in excellent shape. He is on campus now going to classes and still waiting to be cleared but again, looks great and hopefully that will happen soon [on being cleared] and he can get in the weight room with our guys and then be on the field in the spring, which will help him.
5 Hopefully if the NCAA will find time to go through his records and get him cleared by the time we are on the field, hopefully he can make that up with spring ball and being on the field. I believe he will. He has continued to work out hard and looks great but I guess you do, you miss those snaps on the field. On anything that was said to recruits about possible changes to offensive or defensive schemes: I say that is something that we are always looking to tinker and see what would work best and what would fit best. There hasn t been any decisions made but those are the things we will look at in the next month. On whether the outcome of bowl games impact recruiting: I have never felt it that much. On where the priorities or measurables of recruiting have changed over the years: I would say the only thing that is different nowadays is that you have to be stronger and have to put more time into evaluating sophomores and juniors earlier and diligent in hopes that you are doing it right. In trying to make contact, whether be through couches or them getting in contact with you, having that relationship start earlier is the biggest difference and if you are asking about emphasis, that is part of it. On the possibility of an earlier signing period: I would only be in agreement with it if it is around the junior college signing period whenever that date would be. Only because you have junior college guys singing, you have more and more high school players that are now entering their second semester into college so they get to have their signing day, there has been adequate time to visit campuses, and you have the entire fall, which is a 10-to-12-week period, to visit campuses and get your visits in. I think it would be a positive. Earlier than that, I wouldn t be for something in August or September because then your whole recruiting calendar would need to change. On the escalation of recruiting budgets: To me, if you have it to spend as long as you aren t breaking any NCAA rules, then you are free to do what you feel is necessary. Sometimes you feel you need to spend more money if it is beneficial and if it is going to help. On creating a personnel department in new NCAA rules go into effect: Well, if they deregulate entirely, and that is not for sure that is going to happen since there is still opportunity for presidents and Ad s to block that but if they do, then we will have a personnel department like everyone else will. We don t have enough time to talk about what changes that is going to bring. I might have to higher Switzer to come help me. It is going to be different. On the defensive class: I am really excited about all of them. They all have size to them as well as range on top of ability. We are definitely excited about it. It is a really good group. On the positives if new NCAA Rules do go through: You will be able to connect with them more, but can you imagine the recruit in school when there are fifty schools trying to get ahold of him and fifty schools texting him. His phone is going to blow up and his girlfriend is never going to be able to get through to him. It is going to be different; we will see how it
6 goes. I am not in favor of all of it entirely. I think it will be a circus as you said and again, I am thinking of the student athlete. I couldn t imagine how their phones are going to blow up. Just being able to text him anytime you want. You know how it is in the spring; every school in America is going to be hitting everybody. Then you have the personnel department in the office hitting everybody. I don t know where it is going to end. On the possibility of losing a player from being in contact too much: It can happen even in the way we do things now. It is going to be chaotic and different and I don t know where it all comes from. I didn t think we were too far off from what we have been doing to have this radical of change. On this class compared to others: I think it is very comparable to a lot of the classes we have had over the last years. That has been good. On the apparent momentum of the SEC: I said it awhile back, A&M with their Heisman trophy quarterback is a hot team. Through the years, there have been a lot of different hot teams. Year in and year out, it changes a little bit. On the quarterback competition Sure, I am looking forward to the quarterback competition. It is always good and positive. I love the three guys we ve got that are going to be competing. Cody [Thomas] will be here hopefully in the summer to compete with them. They are great kids that have worked really hard. Drew [Allen] is a great young man and has done a great job here. He just wants to pursue something different. They have always had great relationships with one another even though they are competing; Drew [Allen] with Landry [Jones] and Blake [Bell] with them. You see them walking to dinner together and coming to meetings together laughing. These guys that are competing this year are already the same way and have been the same way. Fortunately, Coach Heupel always through the years has been able to create that kind of atmosphere and culture with them to work with each other even though we are competing. It will be a positive. Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops National Signing Day - Morning Interview February 6, 2013 On the 2013 Signing Class: We ve got great players across the board at all positions and all the positions we needed. As we recruit through the years, we always want a little bit of everybody. We need help at all positions, and I feel like we got that, in particular in the lines and a lot of skill athletes around them. On Safety Hatari Byrd: Hatari is a great safety, a big time DB. He s got great size and range. He s a huge hitter, but a great athlete. He can really run, and again, he s got a ton of range to him. He s all of 6 1 ; I think he s closer to 6 2 to be honest, around 200 pounds. Again, an excellent skill athlete. On comparisons to Roy Williams: Roy Williams wasn t Roy Williams his first or second year. It all depends on how they develop. Hatari has got a ton of skill and ability. One of the better defensive backs out in that whole area in California. On the defensive backs stepping in right away:
7 No question. What s neat about all these guys physically, is that they have the ability right off the bat. When you look at their size, when you look at their skill level, their ability, and the way they run. Hatari is one of those guys and we expect him to play right away. Really, we expect all these guys to be able to play. On Defensive Tackle Kerrick Huggins: Really a big, strong player. Excellent feet and quickness. 6 3 to 6 4, 285 to 290 (pounds). Excellent quickness though. That s the biggest thing as you watch him, the ability to change direction and move his feet. Really a strong player. On the possibility of moving Huggins to defensive end: He s a tackle if he is already 290 pounds and he is not even out of high school. He s going to be 300 to 310. He s the guy that has the kind of quickness to be out there, but that s the kind of quickness you want inside from a big guy. On Safety Ahmad Thomas: Very physical and tough tackler. He s a good cover guy. He s a guy that is already here working with us. On Defensive End D.J. Ward: Powerful, strong guy; a guy we need out there. On Running Back Keith Ford: Keith is a guy that is exceptional when you look at his big plays and ability to make plays running the football and catching the football. He does everything really well. Keith has great balance and great ability to put his foot in the ground and change direction, make people miss him and then out run them. He does it all. Here he is down in the top league in Texas with almost 1,900 yards and 500 yards receiving, 28 touchdowns. He s pretty special. On Cornerback Stanvon Taylor: We were just at his basketball practice a week or so ago. He is a great athlete and will play for us early. On Linebacker Dominique Alexander: Another exceptionally talented linebacker with great feet and speed at the linebacker position. Again, we expect him to get ready to play. On Quarterback Cody Thomas: He is one of the best athletes in the whole class, that s what you want at quarterback. We re really excited about Cody. Great athlete, great poise. He can run; obviously if you have the chance to be drafted in baseball you can run. Exceptional talent. Everything he does, he does it well. Playing other sports, he does it well, so really special guy. On Thomas playing baseball at OU: I want him to. Absolutely. A guy that has that kind of talent, you need to use it. We only practice 15 days through the whole spring. We can work that out and make sure he is getting what he needs football wise, but still be able to help our baseball team. On possibility of Thomas drafted into Major League Baseball:
8 We ll see. We always want what is best for our guys. But in the end, he has a real strong desire to play football and it sounds like that s how it s going to be, depending on where he s drafted. But indications are that he is going to be playing football, otherwise I don t believe we would have gone down this road. On meeting recruiting needs: First, at the line of scrimmage. I felt we got some excellent guys up front on the offensive line. Dionte Savage is a big, strong, physical guy. A huge weightlifter and a powerful, strong guy. He s got great ability to move and great strength, so I believe he is going to help us be more physical in there. Just really powerful, an excellent young man. Loved having him on campus, he loves to work. He s going to help us be more physical. Josiah St. John was another big, physical guy that we needed. All of 305 pounds, he s got great range and length to him. On Oklahoma recruits: There are great players in the state of Oklahoma. Our population doesn t lend itself for there to be 20, 30, 40 (recruits) in that situation. Whether it s Norman to Tulsa or wherever, we re always looking and trying to evaluate the local players, and through the years we have a lot of stand out, national award winning Oklahoma players. I believe this group of young men that are coming with us from the state of Oklahoma are going to make huge impacts for our program, and they have the ability to be those stand out, All America type players that we ve had so many of. On Wide Receiver K.J. Young: K.J. is a guy that everybody kept finding out about a little bit late. He has good size, and an amazing athlete. Late in the process he had offers from Oregon and a couple other big time Pac 12 schools. Nebraska came in on him and offered him late as well. Everyone started to realize what a great athlete he is. He makes all kind of plays and is a strong kid. A good player who can do a lot of things.