Sooners flex their muscle in January

Coming into a January, a lot was left to be decided for OU. The Sooners answered a lot of those questions in the last 31 days.

It all started Jan. 2 when Oklahoma walked into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as a 17-point underdog to Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl and left with a statement-making 45-31 victory.

The message was sent Oklahoma and Bob Stoops were back. In their mind, they were never gone, but a win on a national stage like that was necessary once again.

The trickledown effect is still being felt, and it's all positive for the Sooners on the recruiting trail. OU picked up a whopping six commits during the month and one that told the rest of the country OU was a factor again.

2015 Jenks (Okla.) High defensive tackle Marquise Overton

The commitment train didn't get started with a 2014 addition but with the pledge of Overton, a Scout 300 prospect for 2015. Overton committed Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours after OU's victory against the Crimson Tide. Overton grew up a huge OU fan and his commitment wasn't too shocking. Most felt it was simply a matter of when and not if in regards to Overton. That certainly turned out to be the case.

Oakley (Calif.) Freedom running back Joe Mixon

Overton was nice, but OU fans went absolute bonkers when Mixon committed to OU on NBC during the fourth quarter of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 4. Down to UCLA and the Sooners, it was an absolute 50-50 pick ‘em heading into that Saturday afternoon. Things simply haven't been the same since Mixon put on the OU hat. The swagger is back for the Sooners. OU is an "it" school once again. And Mixon has become the program's most aggressive and active recruiter.

Phoenix Mountain Pointe offensive guard Natrell Curtis

Mixon was a shock, but Curtis certainly wasn't. All during the week of the U.S. Army practices, Curtis talked about being with OU. Following a talk with the OU coaches, he decided he didn't need to hide it anymore and committed Jan. 6. The Curtis addition has given OU another solid interior lineman and a big-time guard prospect. Curtis and Mixon were talking about playing with the Sooners together and sounds like it will happen.

New Orleans St. Augustine offensive lineman Joseph Paul

It felt like Paul was going to commit to OU on his official visit Jan. 17 weekend, but he didn't feel the need to wait. Paul's commitment Jan. 8 gave OU four pledges in five days. Recruited as a guard by most, OU wants to give Paul a chance at right tackle first and then go to guard as a backup option. Paul is massive and is already getting comparisons to Dionte Savage. And as it turned out, OU wasn't done in New Orleans.

Klein (Texas) Collins safety Jordan Thomas

A commitment out of left field. Thomas had been pledged to Northwestern since December 2012 so nobody expected anything to change. But OU cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright kept sniffing around to see if there was any interest. Once he got on campus Jan. 17 weekend, Thomas knew Norman was the home for him. OU offered back in August and as soon as Thomas had a chance to tell the Wildcats coaches, he was ready to be a Sooner on Jan. 19.

New Orleans St. Augustine defensive lineman Courtney Garnett

OU was in the driver's seat following a great official visit Jan. 17 weekend. But Garnett wanted to wait for the perfect moment. Nearly two weeks later, Garnett knew the moment had come. Stoops had his in-home visit and wasn't leaving New Orleans without Garnett's commitment. Garnett had explored other options and came to realization OU is definitely the place for him.

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