Talk about the number of Oklahoma kids that signed this year. It's always a good recruiting year when you can sign a lot of local guys in the class.
Stoops: It is. We signed what, nine kids locally, from the state of Oklahoma. These are all quality young guys and in America you can go about anywhere you want. So anyway, nine players from Oklahoma and 10 from Texas, which is natural in being that we're so close. I mean, that's a natural when you look at the population of Texas, the number of players and the proximity, I think that will always be the case. I don't look at it strictly by state.
It always is exciting for the state of Oklahoma and all our fans when they already know the young guys and who they are and what they've done in high school. These guys are guys that really fit our needs and fortunately we fit what they were looking for as well. They're all guys we think can help improve and make us better.
It always has been a priority to evaluate the kids in Oklahoma closely. Some years, there are more that fit what you're looking for than others. I've said that since I've come here. Now, we have also offered guys that haven't come here. That's part of the business. But we have always thoroughly evaluated and watched and that's where we start every year in recruiting – where are all the in state guys who have a chance to play in Division I. And whether we make mistakes or not, sometimes it doesn't fit your need and there have been other guys that are gonna leave and go somewhere else. And you know what? Maybe it was best for them, compared to our style and the way we play.
So, it's always a priority for us to recruit the state of Oklahoma. But to bring a guy in here that's not the best situation, if it's not good for him, it's not good for us. Sometimes, you can't recruit solely in the state of Oklahoma. Sometimes the guys really fit what you want and what you need and make the program better and it's good for them. And sometimes maybe it isn't. Either one way or the other, it doesn't quite fit. This was no different this year that we said he we're going to do this. We always evaluate and re-evaluate players in the state of Oklahoma.
You've got 28 people signed. Is that an indication that you don't think some guys will qualify?
Stoops: I'm not going to sit here and say that. You can always count guys back, depending on who graduates mid-year, what opens up. You know, there's always situations like that, so typically, to get into that, I don't think it's fair to them.
We feel good about where we're at and have always done well when you look at where we're at and who we've signed and our numbers.
Any possibility that you'll have someone greyshirt?
Stoops: Not likely. We're where we ought to be. But those four (the players who are on campus) did count on last year. Or can.
Do you think Gerald McCoy is the type of player that can come in here and contribute immediately?
Stoops: I believe so. Gerald, as we've watched him and all the kids we've recruited here, he's one of those special ones in terms of explosiveness and they way he's played and been dominating in such a great way when he's played. So we're hopeful and believe he can be. And the way he works from now to then will determine it.
Talk about your ability to find these players that you might not hear a lot of. Is that good scouting or good networking with coaches? How do you find them?
Stoops: We go by what we know and what we see. We watch them in practice, we watch them in spring, we evaluate tapes, we evaluate game tapes. When we see a guy that plays like we like, a guy like a Juaquin Iglesias, he wasn't highly recruited. But he was a strong a freshman as you'll see. We have many of them. You know that. You can name 15 of those guys that aren't on lists that are really good football players. Dan Cody, nobody was hardly recruiting him. Mark Clayton nobody recruited.
We see guys; we know what they can do. We don't go off lists. We're not after stars and all of that. Of course, when you scour the country, you can't know everybody. So we will look and see who are the guys everyone thinks are really good and then we're going to start evaluating them. Some we like, some we don't. Some won't fit our style and how we play. So anyway, when you move across the country, in places you can't get to, then you do use those lists to some degree, but they're not the end all. And everywhere you go, we'll always look at kids and say ‘Hey, he's really good'. I don't care if he has one or two stars, it doesn't matter to us. Or none. I don't know if Josh Heupel had a star but he ended up with a bunch of them. There are a lot of really good football players out there that aren't rated highly with stars.
A lot of people, right are wrong, are saying this is AD's (Adrian Peterson) last season. Are these running back recruits asking you that? Is that why they want to get on board now?
Stoops: There's a number of reasons whether he does or not. When you watch us play, AD can only play so much.You guys are on me all the time that he plays too much, you got to get him out of there. You look at the number of snaps, 80 snaps in a game, look at the number of snaps Kejuan Jones, Donta Hickson, all these other guys had the last two years. I mean, there's a lot of snaps, there's a lot of yards, there's more opportunity even for receiving yards. If you look at how many times they touched the ball, you put running and receiving, there's a lot of touches there. So, they're aware of that. Whether he's here or not, someone has to take those snaps.
And we're not very deep. We're pretty thin at running back. That's pretty obvious. So that matters to them, too. Even with Adrian here. We had to move a defensive back (Alan Patrick) here last year to handle it. I think those are the biggest factors and I'm sure they are hedging or the percentage chance that maybe it is his last year.
If they ask me that, I can't say that. I'm sure AD can't say that. So, I don't know how much of a factor that is in their decision or not.
You haven't used the tight end that much lately. How did you convince a guy like Jermaine Gresham that you were going to involve that more in the offense?
Stoops: I don't know that it was that difficult to sell. We use guys that are making big plays. When Trent Smith was here, it was obvious we knew how to get him the football. A lot of those plays are still in our playbook. We know how to split a tight end out when it's to your advantage. A year ago, we're trying to get Brandon Jones, Mark Clayton, Mark Bradley and Will Peoples and a few others on the field and didn't have enough opportunities for them. Some people were saying some of those guys were under utilized. We have some years where we've been very fortunate to have the skill all over. And our tight ends, some of these guys that graduated, were good solid players, but they weren't adept a running routes and a lot of times, that wasn't their best attribute. They were solid guys, they won for us.
I think he sees what he can do and he knows we've done it before, so that's not difficult. He's got a quarterback, a guy right now, that isn't going to struggle getting him the football.
I think we threw the ball quite a bit to the tight end this year. They didn't catch all of them. They've been thrown at quite a few times. Who's offense all revolves around the tight end? Tell me one. We use them about like everybody does. When you get a really good one, obviously you get it to him a little more, right?
Two of your biggest recruits drug it out to the very end. Is that a ‘pins and needles' kind of situation for you or do you just try to move on and not worry about it?
Stoops: I wouldn't say pins and needles. I always kind of believe that you get who you're supposed to get and if it doesn't work out, then everything will be all right. But these guys are special (McCoy and Gresham). I felt good in that, like I said earlier, they've always communicated really well with us and in a positive way. So at least you feel like you can do everything that you can do. And that's how I felt. I felt like we had a really strong relationship. We did our work, they did theirs, and so I felt good that we had built that kind of relationship. I felt good about our opportunity to get them and our chances, but I also realize that maybe somewhere else is better for a guy. You know what I mean? I just rarely look at it selfishly. But I'm sure glad they came.
I think back to your question about selling Jermaine Gresham. I think back to Adrian Peterson, you know Quentin Griffin was getting all the yards out of the shotgun. We understand what our guys can do and we know how to use them. Quentin was the second leading rusher in the nation out of the shotgun. Very rarely did he get a shot from the I. And we come back I think a year later and AD is the second leading rusher in the nation out of the I. We understand how to use our personnel.
Stoops Signing Day Quotes: Part II
Sooners Illustrated Top Stories
OU recruiting report: DefenseEvaluating some of the top performances from OU's commits on defense.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 11:41 AM
OU unfiltered: Joe MixonIn his first interview of the season, it's OU running back Joe Mixon.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 8:50 AM
OU recruiting report: OffenseA review of the offensive performances of OU's commits so far this season.
Sooners IllustratedWednesday at 11:24 AM
Thomas, Walker making big impressionsPart II as reflect back on the best performances seen LIVE so far this season on recruiting trail.
Sooners IllustratedWednesday at 10:01 AM