Oklahoma Football
National Signing Day 2014 – February 5, 2014
Head Coach Bob Stoops

Opening Statement:
“It’s good to be here with you today. It is an exciting and great day for us in recruiting I believe. I am really pleased with and appreciate the hard work of our assistant coaches and the way they have been around the country and finished off in this last week. I believe that this in one of our better recruiting classes that we have had through the year. It’s hard to compare when you are looking at 15 years of doing it but I feel this ranks up there with any of them with what we know coming out of high school and some of the junior college guys.

“Always the strength of our recruiting class will be Oklahoma and Texas. We have 11 guys there. Then we have players from eight or nine different states after that. So there was a lot of running around and a lot of hustle by the assistants getting all over the country, criss-crossing the country. I myself was criss-crossing the country but we are one of those national brands and we always have strong and excellent interest from players around the country. Our coaches did a great job of connecting with these different guys from different states and being able to finish it and sign them here today.

“I think there are 16 on offense and 10 on defense so far. The biggest needs we had were at defensive back where our numbers were definitely low a year ago. We signed five guys that are really all good players. Steven Parker was a big get. He’s from right here in-state. He is a difference maker in the back end, especially in the middle of the field. Vontre McQuinnie is a safety with him, Tito Windham and Jordan Thomas as corners and Marcus Green is a guy who could play corner, he could play safety, could play nickel, we love his versatility, speed and size.

“Offensive line was another huge need. We got three tackles, Joseph Paul, Kenyon Frison and Orlando Brown here in the last hour. We got some inside guys, Alex Dalton, Jonathan Alvarez and Natrell Curtis. We’re losing five offensive linemen next year so that was big deal for us.

“We got big receivers coming in with great size outside and then Micah Quick as a slot receiver is another big play guy that you could throw screens to that will turn into big plays and those outside guys, with their size, you hope to get some mismatches.

“You have a couple of tight ends, Isaac Ijalana who is already here and Carson Meier from over in Tulsa, at Union High School, who is an excellent player who fits our mold at tight end. He is a physical guy who can block but has great hands as well and Isaac is that way, as well.

“Dimitri Flowers is a fullback and a guy who reminds us very much of Trey Millard and that is a huge compliment to him. He is the first guy in about four years that we have said that about. Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine are two very physical and tough backs. Joe is a guy who goes 6-2, 215 pounds and has a tough, physical running style but is elusive and can move out in space catching the football. Samaje is just incredibly physical. He is already 235 or 240 pounds. He was here for our junior day and you would have thought he was a junior in college already. He is just a strong physical player.

“Justice Hansen is already here on campus and is a guy who we love. He is athletic. He is already about 220 pounds at 6-3. He has excellent strength but more than anything he has a great arm and you love the way he passes the ball.

“Moving to defense. We have linebackers Curtis Bolton, Tay Evans and Devonte Bond. Curtis and Tay are more inside linebackers art Mike and Will. Devonte is a Sam or Jack who is a little bigger and can lineup against tight ends, but he is very athletic and can rush the passer.Inside we have Courtney Garnett and Dwayne Orso who is more of a four-technique who will lineup over tackles. He is a big long guy with excellent size. Courtney is, as well.

Anyway I am very pleased with the overall class and still possibly waiting on another guy.”

On how the close to this recruiting class compares to other years:
“It’s always hard to remember all of them when you get to the end but I would say definitely ahead of the Sugar Bowl we were on track and we were on a lot of great players. We had some great commitments already. Definitely in the month after that, that momentum had a strong positive impact on us finishing out strong and getting these guys in the last few weeks. Again, it isn’t just one game, credit the assistant coaches and hopefully I had a little bit to do with it and how we were working on it finish in a really strong way.”

On if getting players from across the country is becoming more common:
“I don’t recall a time, when I’ve been here, that we haven’t had guys from many states. I’m just guessing here. I’m not the best at keeping track of that but we have had, maybe not this many, but we have always had five or six states where we recruit. When people call you or send you information or you reach out to the top 13 to 20 players at a position and they have a strong interest, you follow up with it. We have been able to connect with these guys and it’s worked out with them coming here. When you look at the success that players from California have had here I think it makes a difference. I think players recognize that and recognize the opportunity as a positive one.”

On what was different this year that let him put his class together earlier:
“Every year is different. It’s just how it worked out this year. I didn’t know that that was the case last year. At the end of the day, we had a good recruiting year last year. A lot of times you don’t see it just yet. Just like some other years we’ve been here. So I don’t know that it is different. We’ll see how these guys do as well as the guys from a year ago. We’ll see where it goes.”

On his use of Twitter and increasing the size of his recruiting staff:
“I don’t know about ground being made up. It’s still connecting with players. Maybe that’s it. We are able to connect more and quicker and in their junior years faster. We have done a better job maybe connecting younger and then building on that overall.”

On player recruiting other players, particularly on Twitter:
“Players recruit players and Joe (Mixon) did an awesome job of connecting with a great number of players and guys that he either knew or got to know. There’s so much more with the all-star games. I think they are familiar with each other so there is more of that happening. I believe that players on your team also that may be from the same school or maybe they have a connection with always makes appositive difference, too.”

On recruiting big receivers:
“They’re all strong, physical guys. Those guys are excellent athletes with the size. We love the way they play, and I think Michiah (Quick) is a great complement to them inside to be able to do so many things in that inside slot receiver.”

On if the Sugar Bowl made an impact on big-time recruits:
“They said it might have. You don’t know that they wouldn’t have made the same decision, so I don’t know. They might have and they might not have. Alabama did okay and they didn’t win the game. It isn’t always the end-all for sure.”

On QB Justice Hansen:
“When we recruit a quarterback, first and foremost we want him to be a great passer. Justice (Hansen) is that but then you look at him and he can run. We’ve watched his athleticism and he got hurt some this year, but when he’s been out there you see it and we see it here, and he’s working out doing the things he’s doing. He’s an excellent athlete and a strong athlete with his arm.”

On OL Orlando Brown being an under-the-radar signee:
“Orlando (Brown) and us and were talking through the spring and summer, and he had a change of heart here in the last week, so we got to talking along with Coach Bedenbaugh and he signed with us.”

On DL Courtney Garnett:
“We had to work with Courtney (Garnett) through Tuesday night or through Monday night. He called us Tuesday morning and reconfirmed that he was set to be a Sooner. Notre Dame was a factor.”

On his conversation with Courtney Garnett:
“I don’t need to give away anything what we talk about in our conversations, but you sell your university and what the opportunity will be here.”

On allowing Courtney Garnett to visit Notre Dame:
“I didn’t like my chances if I said that, so you have to weigh your hand. If you’re going to bluff you better be ready to lose. You know how it is. Sometimes you fold them and sometimes you stay with it.”

On if the New Orleans kids got to watch bowl practice:
“They did swing by and watch practice a little bit. I think once.”

On if them watching practice helped with recruiting:
“I don’t think it hurt. They got to watch us practice a bit, but without being able to interact with them I don’t know how much it helps.”

On the Tulsa kids:
“Absolutely. We love those guys. I already talked a little about Carson Meier at tight end. He just fits the really good tight ends we’ve had here. He’s a tough guy. He runs and catches well. He’s an excellent basketball player. Then Jeffrey Mead is the same thing. He’s a really tough matchup and really is so smooth with being a long guy. A lot of times those long guys can be gangly, but he’s anything but that. He’s excellent on the basketball court with how smooth he is. We love his route running and how he goes after the football, so we’re excited about those guys, definitely.”

On LB Tay Evans:
“Bobby (Evans) was great all along. Tay (Evans) is an excellent athlete at linebacker. He reminds me, he’s similar to Corey Nelson in the way he looks and runs. He’s smooth that way. It’s neat. Bobby has been very positive.”

On recruiting an alum’s son:
“You like those visits. Those go pretty well.”

On recruiting as a team:
“They had a positive impact. We’re really good at working as a team. Rarely is it one guy recruiting somebody. The coordinators jumped in and several of those big guys it might be Coach Bedenbaugh and Coach Montgomery tag-teaming them together. They’re excellent recruiters, and I feel that our whole staff is that way. I think all those guys work together. No one cares about is this my guy or your guy, it’s we team up pretty well in trying to help each other recruit.”

On Cale Gundy’s recruiting impact:
“Cale (Gundy) does an awesome job at connecting with young people and parents. It’s communicating with them, building trust with them and then portraying what the opportunity is here. Cale has done a tremendous job that way.”

On recruiting guys out of SEC country:
“We love the guys we’ve got. They fit what we’re after in those positions. It’s satisfying to get them from anywhere. I don’t care where they come from.”

On looking forward to seeing these new guys play:
“Always anxious to see new guys when anyone graduates or moves on. With the new guys coming up it’s always exciting to see who steps up and who’s playing the best.”

On the quarterback situation:
“Definitely with the positive momentum that Trevor (Knight) played with in the game and coming off that we want to try to build off that. Blake (Bell) that being the case, we’re excited that even though he could graduate and go somewhere else he decided to stay here and finish out, and he wants to try tight end. I think it’s a great fit. His dad played eight or nine year in the NFL at tight end. Blake has the size, athleticism and speed to do that. He’s exhibited his toughness through the years, so I think it will be a great fit for him. That’s something we’re looking forward to. He’s already working at that and we’ll see in the spring.

“Kendal (Thompson), we support Kendal. We love him here, but I told him we’ll help him in any way. He’s going to graduate and pursue a different school being that he’s a year older than Trevor, so we support him in that and told him to continue to use our facilities to stay in shape and we want to help him. Cody Thomas is doing great. He had a great year. He’s going to play baseball which I’m all for. He’s a great baseball player, and I don’t feel like that will hold him back in what we’re doing. Then Justice (Hansen) is working already. That’s how we’ll go into the spring.”

On using Blake Bell at tight end:
“We anticipate him playing and I don’t see why it would be difficult for him.”

On Cody Thomas playing baseball this spring:
“We’ll work it out with Coach Pete (Hughes) over there and see how we need to do it to fit him best. I’m all for it. God’s given him that talent and he needs to use it. He’s a hard worker. He’s had a great fall with us. He’ll be okay.”

On whether QB Baker Mayfield is here:
“He is. I met him for the first time. We had a team meal last night and he came up and introduced himself. I said, “You didn’t even call me. I didn’t even know you were coming.” He laughed about it and said he always wanted to be here and we’ll give him that opportunity.”