2012 Signing Class: Three Early Sleepers

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners signed a number of extremely talented guys, but just who might surprise people with their play early on in their OU careers? Sooners Illustrated breaks that down inside.

1. Tight end Taylor McNamara--This guy is one of the most underrated players in the entire class. Rated as a three-star and the 19th best tight end out of all 2012 prospects, McNamara posted impressive numbers as a senior. He snatched 33 receptions for 526 yards and seven touchdowns, while also rushing for 113 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. McNamara has a stout 6-foot-5, 235-pound frame that can only get stronger now that he's on campus. In addition, because he's an early enrollee, he'll be a step ahead of some of the other incoming freshmen and likely be game ready come fall.

2. Defensive end Mike Onuoha--Head coach Bob Stoops made a lofty comparison for Mr. Onuoha in his Signing Day press conference, calling him "another Charles Barkley in there." He was referring to Onuoha's ability to score 30 points per game as a dual-sport athlete also playing basketball. Stoops singled out his athleticism, physicality, power and toughness as reasons why he could play early. That heavy praise is why there's reason to believe the 6-foot-7, 230-pounder could pick up defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright's style and play sooner rather than later in his career.

3. Defensive back Zack Sanchez--The Sooner secondary was an extreme liability last year, to say the least. In the offseason, however, they got who figures to be a starter in cornerback Kass Everett. Moving Tony Jefferson back to free safety, with Aaron Colvin at strong safety and Demontre Hurst at field corner means the starting lineup looks pretty solid. But OU likes to get its young defensive backs involved when it can, whether on the field defensively or in special teams. Sanchez, at 6-foot, 165-pounds, has all the tools to be one of those guys, even though there'll be a learning curve in defensive coordinator Mike Stoops' system once he arrives. It's very possible he could be a special teams contributor and even get some snaps in the defensive backfield.

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