Stoops breaks down the 2006 class

See inside for Bob Stoops' comments from Wednesday's signing day press conference. (Photo/Lisa Hall)

OU head coach Bob Stoops talks about the 2006 class.


Really a great group of players. As a staff we're really excited about this group for a number of reasons. Typical class for us in that we have really good balance throughout the class. We've never just recruited any one side of the ball or any particular position. It's always about getting quality at all positions. There's a heavy emphasis as everyone can see on offensivive linemen, that's where he had the fewest number of returning scholarship players of any position on the team. So that was a critical area to bolster and I felt like we did it.

Another class like last year where, academically, it's a very strong and solid group of players, which is really important. It's really fun in recruiting anymore because you really feel that players at the high school level just keep getting better and better in that area every year and it's exciting as coaches to work with young men like that.

Quarterback wise, Joey Halzle is already here working out and we thought it was important that we get another player in here that could be here in the spring, a player that has some experience, to free Paul Thompson up, number one, to be totally and solely a wide receiver. We didn't feel it was fair to Paul to continue to pull him away from trying to earn a starting position, to have to spend more time on the field at receiver and still have to put in time at quarterback. It's no reflection on Rhett Bomar. We're incredibly excited about his future and his progress but we still felt we needed quality depth to challenge for that position and competition always makes everyone better, along with, inevitibaly, there could be various types of injuries and we would have a guy to step in that has some experience.

Sam (Bradford) is a young guy coming in as a true freshman I am really excited about. When you go around recruiting, Sam's as strong and talented as we've recruited and watched in the last several years. What I love about him is when you watch him, he's good at everything he does. He's playing basketball right now, he's averaging probably about 20 points a game, running the floor, dunking the ball all over the place. We've had him for three years in camp, throws the ball great, loved his form, loved his touch. Scratch golfer in the springtime. Anything he does, he does it well. You love a guy like that as a freshman to come in and learn the system. And he'll be spread out in age from Joey and Rhett, so that I think worked out really good.

Wide Receivers, Brandon Caleb and Pooh Tennell. Talented, talented guys. Tennell had a great All-American game. Brandon Caleb has size, speed, he's setting records running track out there right now out in Virigina. Again, those guys are what we like, they're strong, big guys that can make a big impact and we really think they're going to make that right away.

Running backs, very talented guys — DeMarco Murray, Chris Brown, Mossis Madu. Chris is probably the one that is a uch liguy that is strictly a running back. We don't recruit guys for other positions, so DeMarco Murray is a running back but the only reason is said that is when you watch him, he is probably one of the most pure athletes that we've ever recruited, with all that he can do. We've had him in camp and the way he changes directions, the way he catches the ball, the speed he has. I saw him as a junior when I was out there recruiting Ryan Reynolds and he was taking the basketball off the back wall, bounces it in the paint, goes off one foot, grabs the ball and dunks it. I haven't seen a six foot guy do that as a junior, I don't think, ever. I told his coach as I was walking, "Well, I'm not allowed to talk to Demarco but make sure he understands he has a scholarship at Oklahoma. So anyway, he's special.

But Chris is special, too in the way he runs. They all have a little bit different style in the way they run, too. They can do a lot of things. And Mossis, everybody's seen him, a local guy that we've loved watching for the entire year. Same thing, his athleticism makes people miss and he has a burst. All those guys I think will complement each other well, when you think about Kejuan Jones and Donta Hickson, the guys we're losing, they can make a difference.

Tight ends, Jermaine Gresham came down to today and, I have felt, everyone has seen, one of the best in the country. We feel, the best we have seen in several years. His athleticism, his size, hands, ability to split out much like we did with Trent Smith, he could do all those type things.

Eric Mensik, on top of being a tight end, is a great long snapper, which is a priority for us with Jacob Rice graduating. But Eric also has the size, he's a big tall guy that can, you know, make a difference and on top of long snapping, he's really a great athlete.

Going through the O-Line, seven guys there. I'm not going to go through every single one of them. A couple of the junior college guys, Sherrone Moore is already here, Brandon Walker coming after the spring, those guys have some extra size and maybe a little more experience than some of the freshmen coming in.

But when you look at the size and ability of these freshmen, we're goinna get them ready to play. Who will actually do it? You know me. I'm not gonna label any one guy but we're going to give them all an opportunity because so many of them come in already with the size and strength that you look for and could play right away. I think all these guys have a chance to make a difference and help us.

Defensively, up front, we signed five guys between inside D-Line and D-End. All of them fit our mold. All of them are athletic, all of them can run, change direction and are powerful inside.

Excited locally, you know, Gerald McCoy, was the top recruit in the country. We were excited today to get his signature. We've had him in camp for three years. He has reshaped his body over those three years in the way he's worked and committed himself. It's fun to see. We've felt solid about him all along but you're never really sure. That's what's great about recruiting.

These guys this year, there was a lot of communication. It was always good, they were always up front and honest and open in their communication. These guys were really great young guys to recruit in the way they communicated and the way they were honest and up front in what they were feeling and what they thought and how they compared things. And as a coach, it's good to know what you're working against. These guys, even though it went to the end, they're good young guys to recruit and they're quality individuals.

Gerald comes in, he's one of those guys that's already been focused. He was very impressive in the U.S. Army All-American game and when you watch his explosiveness off the ball and quickness, I think that's been developed over the last several years that we have watched him since coming to camp as a sophomore.

But all these young guys have good size, Pryce Macon, Tim Johnson, a junior college guy, has good size coming in, Adrian Taylor, another big strong guy that has great movement at DE, and Jeremy Beal. Jeremy Beal is more of a linebacker. I dont' know why I've got him listed here at DE. Jeremy Beal, Brandon Crow, Chris Patterson, Daniel Tabon, four linebackers there that are big, can run, powerful guys.

Jeremy Beal has some extra size in there that we like. Sometimes you want to get bigger and stronger in the middle. These guys are all the typical linebackers we like. They're pretty athletic guys.

And in the secondary, there's really a couple of safeties, Quinton Carter and Malcolm Williams, and Dominique Franks and Jonathan Nelson, a couple of corners. Same thing, talented guys, multiple sport guys, guys that can change direction.

Really solid class, really excited about it, and looking forward to working with them.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories