Nov. 15, 2002

NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma wrestling team announced Friday the signing of two heralded prep athletes to national letters of intent. Joel Flaggert, a Choctaw, Okla. native, placed fifth at Junior Nationals last year, while Brandon Hardy of Chesapeake, Va., is a three-time state finalist that placed fourth at Junior Nationals. Flaggert is currently ranked third at 189 pounds by Amateur Wrestling News, while Hardy is ranked fourth in the 125 pound weight class.

"We are extremely excited to have Joel Flaggert join the Sooner wrestling family. Joel is currently ranked third in the nation but we feel he's the finest 197 prospect in the nation," said head coach Jack Spates. "He is cat quick with good technique and a passion to be great. We look for Joel to compete immediately and help us in our quest to bring the national championship back to Norman."

"Joel is also a 3.5 student and an outstanding person as well. We're equally excited to land a wrestler from Choctaw, one of the state's best wrestling traditions," continued Spates.

Spates is also looking for Virginia product, Hardy, to help the Sooners attain the program's seventh national championship. Hardy wrestles at Western Branch High School, the same high school where former Sooner All-American and national champion Byron Tucker was recruited from. Sooner coaches project Hardy to compete at 133 pounds.

"Brandon Hardy is a tremendous talent. He is exceptionally quick with great technique and is a fierce competitor," said Spates.