Oklahoma Football
National Signing Day – February 5, 2014
Co-Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel

On the offensive recruiting class:
“Yeah, everyone is going to be excited about the running backs. They are very special players. Samaje (Perine) is a big, strong, physical, impressive-looking kid. When you see him walk in the door he looks like a grown man. He’s 238 pounds right now, but looks are a little bit deceiving. He’s got great feet. Joe (Mixon) is a special kid we’ve had come in here physically. Big, strong, athletic kid, catches the ball extremely well out the backfield, has the ability to be extremely versatile player and I can really see him playing a variety of different roles for us with his ability to split out and do some things as a wide receiver, as well.”

On the impact of the Sugar Bowl win in recruiting:
“Yeah, I think that played a part. I say a part, for some of the guys that we’ve had commit here lately. I think we were really in pretty good standing with a lot of kids that have committed since the bowl game, too. I think Joe (Mixon) was a guy that came in here mid-year, enjoyed his visit, understands the tradition of this program and also saw the opportunity to come in here and hopefully make an immediate impact if he does things the right way and competes the right way. We’ve got kids that are graduating in front of him. We finished strong here, obviously getting Kenyon (Frison) today. I feel like he’s an elite tackle - athletically, physically. He’s a long ways from hitting his ceiling – the kid has only played a couple of years of high school football. I really feel like he’s got a chance to come in here and really grow into a special player with some of the guys that are first-round picks that we’ve had around here.”

On getting late commitments:
“Yeah, part of that is that we’re probably a little bit more national. Kids outside of this area have tended to wait a little bit longer to make a decision; you’re seeing that, in some respects, from some of the kids in Texas, as well. But I think we closed this year extremely well. That’s a tribute to the coaches that are recruiting those guys. Coach (Bob) Stoops did a great job on the road this year so I think we’ve done a few things different in our recruiting. Some guys that we’ve hired behind the scenes have made a big impact.”

On some of the things they changed to help recruiting:
“Just doing a better job with social media and getting in contact with these guys. We’re presenting what this program is all about and the tradition of it.”

On having to offer quarterbacks earlier and earlier:
“Recruiting, in general, is dramatically sped up today. Coach (Bob Stoops) will tell you, he’s on the phone with guys we’ve signed after they faxed in their papers, and as much as anything, today, he’s on the phone with 2015 kids. It’s a never-ending cycle. The quarterback position in particular, we take it a little bit slower than I think a lot of schools do. We try to make sure that I get my eyes on them; make sure that they’re exactly what we want, physically, but also the personality. I think that’s the toughest thing in today’s world of recruiting, is really getting to know the kid, his characteristics, his traits, what makes him up.

“Ultimately, that’s what defines who you’re going to be as a player, not just your talent. That’s one of the things you’ve got to do in today’s recruiting. Justice (Hansen) is a kid who is here locally, he’s been at our camp a bunch, competes in a great way. Ultimately, he was a guy that throughout the entire process was extremely high on our board. As soon as we got a chance to go around and see some of the other guys we felt like he was the right fit for us.”

On if part of deciding QB Justice Hansen was the right fit was knowing what they wanted to do offensively:
“Yeah. We ran the quarterback this year more than we have in a long time. Some of that has taken pressure off of those guys; taking some of the decision making, pushing the ball down the field out of their hands a little bit. Trevor (Knight) has got a great comfort with it. You saw his style is dramatically different than the other guys that we played this year, speaking mainly about Blake (Bell). But as we go forward in the way we’ve recruited here, we do want athletic quarterbacks.

“You go back to Sam Bradford; his freshman year he didn’t make very many plays outside of the pocket, but his sophomore year, he extended a bunch of plays and we ran quarterback draws with him. We would want our quarterback to have the ability to extend plays, to make plays when coverage is good down the field - especially in third-and-long situations. We saw Trevor (Knight) pick up a third-and-long in the Sugar Bowl and then the designed run, as well. We ran them more this year than we probably would like to, or want to, but at the end of the day, we don’t want to give up anything as a throw. We want to be able to distribute the ball.

“If you’re going to win a championship, your quarterback is going to have to make plays in the pocket. We saw Trevor (Knight) as a young freshman, first start, first game. To see him grow throughout the entire year; he played extremely well down the stretch and played really well in the Sugar Bowl, obviously. But I think people who questioned whether or not he could throw the football earlier in the year, saw him grow. He’s obviously got a great future.”

 On Blake Bell switching to tight end:
“Blake (Bell) wants to play, wants to help this team, wants to compete, believes that that’s a great position for him to do that. I think everybody in our staff believes in him as a competitor, as a player, so it’s going to be a lot of fun for him to make a change and see where he can grow in the 15 days of practice, but we feel like he’s going to be a good player there.”

On comparing that situation to former OU QB Paul Thompson working as WR and moving back to QB and if he anticipates anything like that with Bell:
“That was a special circumstance, Paul (Thompson) came back to quarterback – that wasn’t the plan. He was the starting quarterback for the season the first day of training camp.”

On if Bell will stay at tight end in the spring:
“He’s all in at tight end.”

On how he wants QB Cody Thomas’ situation playing baseball and football to be managed:
“The way we manage it. He’s going to work out; he’s going to push himself to become the starting quarterback here. If he’s not the starting quarterback, he’ll be ready to play. He’s different because of the baseball skill set that he has so he’s over there working, taking his cuts, and I think when given the opportunity he’ll play extremely well for them.”

On if he thinks they can manage it to where he won’t miss practices or scrimmages:
“Yeah. I think he’s going to get, out of the football side of it, everything that he needs to.”

On if Blake Bell’s position switch was initiated by himself or the coaching staff:
“Obviously with the way Trevor (Knight) played I felt that it was probably the direction things were going to go. During the break, (Blake Bell) wasn’t certain on what he was going to do. He approached me when I got back into the town before I got on the road for recruiting. We sat down and had a conversation. He said, ‘I want to play at the University of Oklahoma, I’m a Sooner, I believe I’ve got a chance to do something special here, I love this program, I love the university.’ And because of that, decided he wanted to make a change.”

On former TTU QB Baker Mayfield walking on at OU as a QB:
“It’s pretty unique. This guy just shows up on campus one day. He’s out there; he’s competing with those guys. He met Coach Stoops last night for the first time so we’ll see where he’s at and how he grows.”

On when he met Mayfield:
“I met him two or three days ago.”

On how he knew it was him:
“Well, he was walking with the other quarterbacks so I figured that was him. I met Baker (Mayfield) his junior or senior year. Met him in the hallway and talked to him briefly, actually.”