Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops
National Signing Day – February 5, 2014
On picking up five defense backs:
“Well, we lost two or three players who played quite a bit for us a year ago. If you look at losing a great player in Aaron Colvin and I though Gabe [Lynn} had a great year and Kass Everett really contributed. We had three guys out of the six that played the majority of the snaps for us that we’re going to have to replace and gain some depth in the secondary. We play with five DBs every snap, so getting five was what we needed to do. Certainly, we look for some of those guys to contribute for us and I think when you look at those guys that bring versatility and size, range, and that’s what we needed to do. I thought we got two pure cover guys in Jordan Thomas and Tito Windham. I thought Steven [Parker] gives us a great cover guy. Vontre [McQuinnie] gives us a great presence and Marcus Green is a guy I think can play all five positions. The versatility, the different types of players that play to their strengths give us some flexibility in the secondary and we’re really thin right now. We were a couple guys short a year ago so it was good to get a good, solid class of DBs.”
On recruits saying OU’s Sugar Bowl victory helped them make their decision:
“When you look at Oklahoma’s recruiting, we recruit… it’s all relative. Oklahoma’s an elite program, so we’re going to recruit against elite schools for these types of athletes and players and certainly competing against the best for the best, and they are the best. I think you have to measure yourself against the best. What we were able to do against Alabama was no fluke. That was our team playing on all cylinders as a young team. I think that certainly gave us a lot of momentum heading in to the last month of recruiting. To see what we were able to do with such a good, young team, then be able to add great players to this team, we feel like we’re a championship caliber team and that’s what kids want to play for.”
On impact new coaches are having on recruiting:
“This reminds me a lot of how we started here at Oklahoma. Sometimes change is part of it. We’ve changed four coaches in the last two years. We’ve added quality control coaches, three new quality control coaches. a couple new GAs, Courtney Viney, that’s not mentioned. There’s so much that goes into this process, more than just the coaches. We hired a sports nutritionist [Tiffany Byrd]. There’s everything. There’s just so much that goes in to recruiting, day in and day out, people that help across the board and that’s my opinion.
“I’m sure Bob [Stoops] feels the same way. This is the strongest staff we’ve had in a while. These guys have done a great job. Everybody comes together. Everybody just helps one another and that’s been key to our success here in the last month. Just in the last year, we’ve changed the whole vibe of Oklahoma Football and it’s cool again and that’s positive and that’s what we want. We want kids who want to play for the cool school. Certainly it’s very positive what we’re doing and what we’re starting to do from that already. It’s very positive right now. We have a lot of momentum and hopefully we can carry that out with our players. We have a young, very dynamic group of players that are very excited about the possibilities here.”
On how his time spend at the University of Arizona recruiting in California helped him here:
“We developed a lot of strong ties in the West. Cale [Gundy] recruited Joe [Mixon] and that was just Cale [Gundy] developing a relationship with Joe [Mixon]. I have a close relationship with the players from Fresno. I have one who was a great player for me that I recruited when I was out there at Arizona. Certainly the Phoenix kids are very familiar with us. It gets you in the door, but our program here and what you do on the field is really important.”
On defensive back Steven Parker:
“It took a lot of time, a year and a half…we offered Steven before we offered Jordan Smallwood. We’re glad we have Jordan, but it was one of my first recruiting assignments, taking over Tulsa and going to Jenks and I saw this kid, when I was looking at Jordan [Smallwood] and I saw the other kid [Steven Parker] and I said ‘There isn’t any question this kid is going to be a star.’ And just happened we got on him initially and we happened to see him. Now we end up with Jordan, who I think is going to end up being a fabulous player as well. We’ve had greet success at Jenks and their players have all panned out. It’s a great program. We’re just very fortunate.
“Steven…it was a unique recruitment of Steven. He’s a very intelligent, very perceptive, sensitive player. He took it all in and deciphered it all and what it all meant to him. He was very smart in his family and how this thing was all going to not play out today, but what’s going to happen three, four, five years from now. That was very important to Steven. We had it there for a long time. We had a long relationship with him and his family. We believe we’re supposed to get the players you’re supposed to get and that’s what I’ve always told him and you have to do what’s right for you. He’s a guy we desperately needed at safety because he’s a guy that brings a different element to the safety position that a lot of players just can’t just by his mobility, his skill level, his cover ability. We ask our safeties to do a lot of that and he fits perfectly in to our system. “