There was a lot of trepidation among Oklahoma fans when the Sooners closed out their Class of 2013 recruiting group.
Some positions looked solid, while others had some question marks. There is no doubt linebackers was one of those question mark spots. In his first year as linebackers coach, Tim Kish didn't exactly wow fans with his recruits.
OU had a top linebacker recruit in Jordan Mastrogiovanni only to see him decommit and sign with Texas A&M. Instead of trying to find a last-minute replacement, OU accepted the fact it would only take two linebackers.
Well, two linebackers in theory. In actuality, signees Jordan Evans and Dominique Alexander both hadn't played linebacker as their full-time position in high school. But being that both were from within the state, there was some belief they would play with a chip on their shoulder and try to silence any doubters.
As much as recruits from out of the state play hard, there is just something a little different about being from the state and having that OU dream. A dream that consumed Evans since he was little, and a dream Alexander realized after a stellar senior season.
Evans and Alexander really couldn't have started their first camp any better through the first week, said Bob and Mike Stoops.
"They move just like linebackers should," Mike Stoops said. "They're big. They're athletic. They're fast. They're seeing things the right way."
The linebacker position is getting an overhaul. Linebacker Corey Nelson mentioned the comfort level is a lot better this season with Kish and Mike Stoops. No singular group went through a bigger change than linebackers from the style of former coach Brent Venables to getting acquainted with Kish.
In year two with Kish, he is starting to get the guys he wants for his system. And it's clear Alexander and Evans are those types of guys. They're bringing more athleticism to the defense.
"The more repetitions they get, their ability to find the ball will become greater and greater," Mike Stoops said. "They're young linebackers. They're not robotic. They float to the football the way you're supposed to."
Some positions the learning curve is steep. But Bob Stoops believes when it comes to linebackers and safeties, it's more about instincts than anything else.
Alexander and Evans are proving to have what it takes so far.
"The really great one, they just feel their way," Bob Stoops said. "They feel their way and they show up at the ball. Just in a few days, those guys are showing that. They have a really good knack for feeling the ball and where they need to be."