Below is a transcript of Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops' signing day press conference. Quotes transcribed by Aaron Francl.
"Very pleased to announce our 2005 signees. These players are our future and committed to come to Oklahoma. Really excited about this group of guys, it's a good number of guys with great character.
"Academically, we feel like this is one of our strongest classes. Really sharp group of young men. We signed guys from 13 different states, 16 different players are in the top position in their states, so that speaks to how this group stacks up nationally. And it doesn't make it any easier to recruit them because we are working against the top teams in the nation to get them.
On the defensive line class:
"We needed some defensive tackles and d-ends, together we got seven altogether. We needed some strength up front and we were able to do that."
On the athletes and skill position players:
"You look at graduating five wide receivers and five defensive backs and we feel that we met those needs by signing four wide receivers and five defensive backs. We're pleased with the ability with the speed of that group, the athletic ability and the ability to perform."
On the overall class:
"Overall, couldn't be more pleased with the signing class we have here. Their potential, their future, we feel that they are a group that we can continue to pursue Big 12 and national championships."
On the safety class:
"They are a great group of guys. You look at all those secondary guys and they all have size, speed and ability. They are also a very athletic group. The fact that we play three safeties quite often, all these guys are going to get the chance to compete right away."
On landing Oklahomans Reggie Smith & Curtis Lofton:
"Top two players in the state, Smith and Lofton, it means a lot. Recruiting OK players, we are always looking at guys that fit our system and both do in a great way. Both are excellent athletes. I was watching Curtis play basketball and for a guy his size he is really athletic. And Reggie has such ability when you watch him on offense as well as defense. It may be fair to say that we will play him on both sides because he has that kind of ability, as well as a return guy. He can make an impact here."
On early vs. late commitments:
"I'm always cautious about that, guys will come to the conclusion when it's right for them and that's always okay. Some like to get it over with and some like to wait it out and take more time. But we are just excited about the guys here that signed early. If they would have signed in the last couple days, we'd be doing backflips here too. But these guys that finish strong really helped to solidify this class and made it one of the best in the country. I'm always cautious to say, "the best," but it's definitely one of them (this class).
On signing players from different states:
"For me this is America, we can travel from state to state pretty easily. Outside of having to pay a toll on a turnpike, you can go where you want. So we ought to be that way, especially with our national exposure, we get interest from top guys at every position from a lot of different states. For whatever reason some choose us and some don't, but we have a big pool of options. Again, we usually like to start locally, in Oklaoma and Texas and then work our way out and do our best to evaluate."
On the linebacker class:
"Really an exceptional group. All have the size and speed that you look for. As you come to be around them you'll see that they really are a group of characters, with great personalities, and all have high grade points as well. They all have a lot of energy and all are good leaders."
On the offensive line class:
"Everyone knows about the offensive line and the limited depth that we've had there and this is a class, with these six guys. We have a good number of tackles with great height and weight and then our inside guys. We are really excited about this group."
On holes in the depth chart being a deciding factor:
"All recruits are very aware of the depth chart and opportunities there. It's not always a big thing with everyone, but it definitely makes a difference."
On Brandon Braxton:
"Brandon was close to getting it done last time around, within a point I believe. But he decided to continue to work on it and got it done. He could have gone anywhere else in the country but stayed true to us and told his parents that hey OU stayed by me and I want to stay true to my commitment too. He's a big, strong guy with good feet, so hopefully he can progress and help us."
On Braxton being from his own home town of Youngstown:
"It's neat, even though he is from a cross-town rival. But he is a neat young guy, great personality guy and he's really fitting in well. Glad to have a Youngstown guy."
On Aaron Cummings coming from an eight-man school:
"In the end, there are guys that play smaller or larger divisions and for us it always comes down to what you're ability is. And to us he has the ability. We have been out scouting and watching him play basketball and on the football field, we like that Aaron has a lot of size to him already. I think he's 240 pounds so by the time he gets here he can be as big or bigger than the TE's we have. We feel that as he matures and gets bigger that he'll give us that larger presence at tight end that we want. Watching him athletically, he's averaging over 20 points a game in basketball and he's a good athlete catching the football. He's got what it takes to help us and make a difference."
On DeMarcus Granger and comparisons to Tommie Harris:
"There are (similarities). DeMarcus comes in with that type of raw strength that Tommie had coming in. He has that power. What he's able to do with that power and that speed, he already has some great quickness so if he can continue to develop like we think he could definitely contribute."
On recruiting Texas:
"With the proximity to Texas we should (recruit there). We aren't separate countries and we are able to travel from one to another quite easily. With our exposure in the South and the Big 12 championships that we've had as well as the national exposure, players think, "why not?" They see that there are opportunities here for them."
On "Duke" Robinson:
"Excited about him. When you look at his ability and his power right off the bat he has the opportunity to be real special. He has great strength, speed, power and size and really possesses everything that you look for in a tackle on the edge."
On the WR class:
"That's why when we lose five good wide receivers these guys will fill a void and have the ability to help us right away. They all have size and ability, they are all a little bit different, which is good. They all have size though so you can throw them into a variety of spots."
On his feeling on signing day itself:
"Tense and anxious and then once they all get signed relief. You're kinda anxious because you want to make sure it all goes like its supposed to and that nothing surprises you. Sometimes that happens so initially it's a little anxious, but after that it's a relief and an accomplishment and excitement about the guys we have coming in."
On when the faxes start coming in:
"We were fortunate that this year we had a majority of them in before 11 (a.m.). Most of them usually come in early in the morning, but it all depends on what particular guys do during the day with press conferences or celebrations at their schools."
On the importance of on-campus visits:
"That's something that not a lot of people talk about, but it really is probably the biggest factor in a guy's decision. Our players on campus have to mix well with guys and they always do a good job of that. They always do a great job of making guys feel at home here."
On being a top program trying to recruit top talent:
"We do graduate players. All the big schools do. But guys that come here have to have confidence in their ability. If you are going to a top 10 team in the country you have to be confident because there's going to be competition somewhere. Usually, these guys understand that and are willing to compete. I don't' recall a whole lot not having that attitude."
On recruiting equal guys but one with higher character:
"We don't really come across a lot of kids with character as a question. Depending on what they do here is what really matters so in the end you find guys that either fit or they don't."
On Allan Patrick:
"He's a very talented guy and a very physical player. If you look at his high school tape, he played running back, wide receiver, cornerback, and safety, so he could really play a variety of positions for us. He is just a very physical player. He has excellent speed and ability."
On guys going through spring ball:
"C.J. AhYou at d-end. He's a big, strong guy who we hope can contribute along with Brandon Braxton and Ben Baressi."
On Matt Clapp:
"He's a special player that was both offensive and defensive player of the year in his state. He's a guy that will fill a need, of J.D., who's a senior but Matt's a guy that could play fullback, halfback, tight end. He gives us a lot of diversity. He's a good athlete and real physical, so he comes in and he gives us a lot of what J.D. has."
On not taking QB, RB:
"We feel confident with the guys that are there and what they are able to do, but next year obviously that's going to be a major focus."
On Eric Huggins being OU's first commit and sticking to his word despite pressure to stay in South Carolina:
"We just had him here on his official visit and he just a neat guy. He's a guy that made his decision away from home and stuck it through, with all the talk around him. He's just a sharp guy. You're excited for him that he made it official. He is one of the best players in South Carolina, and if we would have gotten a player like him late everyone would be doing backflips, but we're still very excited about him."
On if he's in favor of an early signing period:
"I would like December 20 to be a day that would coincide with the JUCO signing day. It would give guys, like Eric, who have committed during the summer to get it done with. It saves them from all the calls. It also, financially, would save the universities money that you wouldn't have to continue to visit kids that had already finished. Most of all it would give coaches an opportunity to stay on campus and make sure that everything with spring ball was going right with classes instead of being on the road. But not any earlier than that."
On Kelly and Huggins playing at high schools that don't throw much:
"You appreciate guys like that, who were team guys in high school and didn't complain. They understand that you have what you have but both are really talented and both are real talented and took leadership roles at their schools. So you look forward to those guys getting more opportunities here to catch the ball."
Stoops says 2005 class one of his best
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