The Oklahoma Sooners had 11 players taken in the recent NFL draft, more than any other college program. Thus far, OU has had two free agent signings in receiver Will Peoples (Buffalo) and linebacker Jonathan Jackson (Chicago).
This morning, I had a chance to talk with OU Head Coach Bob Stoops to get his thoughts on his large number of players landing in the NFL Draft.
JH: Coach Stoops, what are your impressions of the large number of players that went in the recent NFL draft?
BS: "James, I am happy for all those guys. It is always a crap shoot when certain guys go, so we are proud of all of them. They are all wonderful guys and they are a great group of players who have been through here. I feel confident that all of them really are more than capable of making teams and being in the NFL for a long time, regardless of where they are picked."
JH: Isn't the fact that OU has so many players taken in the draft a great show of strength for your program?
BS: "Yes. Sure it is. It was a really a strong class. Some of them were not highly recruited, and some of them maybe were a little more so. Collectively, it is a great group of guys and we are proud of all of them."
JH: Are you proud of the fact that your program had more players drafted than any other team?
BS: "I really don't care. That really doesn't matter to me. I don't know what that does for us. Maybe we will get reputations as great recruiters now. I really don't know, but it doesn't really matter. I am just more proud of the guys and who they are and the character that they have exhibited through the years here, and what they have accomplished. That is what matters to us. I am happy for them and their livelihood. They will have opportunities to pursue their dreams and make a career in the NFL."
JH: All the players talk about the great training they got at Oklahoma with Coach Jerry Schmidt and all the other coaches. That is a testament for their career at Oklahoma and what the program does for them isn't?
BS: "Hopefully, we have given them something. I think they all do realize that. We are appreciative of their efforts to. I think what can't go without saying either is their hard work and their commitment in developing themselves and being willing to be coached and pushed. They were allowed to progress and accomplish what they have and put themselves in this position."
JH: I bet you are not counting out Jason White?
BS: No, not at all. I think everybody realizes that. I don't know if Jason or us as coaches were shocked by this. It gets down to health reasons and you can't deny the two major knee injuries, though he is fully recovered, and has been able to demonstrate that. There are still some skeptics there. I still believe that somebody is going to have him in camp and he will have a very good opportunity.
"Jason has the abilities and skills to play in the NFL. In the end, this may work out good for him. Rather than being drafted late, he gets to pick and choose where his best opportunity is to make a roster and make a team. In the end, this may work out just fine, though he doesn't get the signing bonus money. When you are drafted really late you really don't anyway, so this could work out to be really good for him. He will have his opportunities. Jason has the skills and ability to make it in the NFL."
Stoops on the NFL Draft
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