Late addition bolsters OU's defensive signing class
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Thursday, February 07, 2013
2/12/13 at 5:34 PM
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Read an analysis of OU’s class.
NORMAN - Oklahoma ended Signing Day 2013 with a surprise pickup from the West Coast.
L.J. Moore, a four-star cornerback from Fresno (Calif.) Central East High School, signed a national letter of intent late Wednesday afternoon to become the 24th member of the Sooners' recruiting class.
Bob Stoops - like every college football coach does for their respective teams on this sport's off-season holiday - threw praise at his 15th recruiting class.
"We're always looking for a good mix of guys on both sides of the football and I felt like we got that," Stoops said at a news conference 90 minutes before Moore's news.
The Sooners kept five players within the state's borders, picked up a quarterback/outfielder and focused on shoring up a defense that gave up an average of 398.3 yards per game last season, the most in school history.
Oklahoma signed 14 defensive players, including seven on the line.
"I thought we really addressed some of the major needs that we needed," Stoops said. "Interior defensive tackles, we got four guys and with them three defensive ends. With them, there's seven guys for four positions up front that are really good players."
Oklahoma also signed five defensive backs including Moore and his high school teammate/safety Hatari Byrd, who reportedly helped recruit the cornerback to Norman.
"When this group finalizes today, this will be as complete a group of secondary guys that I've ever been associated with," defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "When you look at their skill level, their size, their speed, their range, their character, this is a very complete group of players that will contest for playing time."
OU's offensive class was buoyed by the one-two tandem of quarterback Cody Thomas and running back Keith Ford. Both are considered top 10 players nationally at their position by Rivals.com.
Thomas also will play baseball at OU. A MaxPreps preseason All-American this season, there is a chance Thomas will be a professional baseball draft pick in June.
Bob Stoops said Thomas is "adamant" that he wants to play football, but will keep an eye on his draft placement.
"Most indications are that football is important enough to him that he's going to want to pursue that," said Bob Stoops, who appeared happy Thomas is playing baseball at OU. "We wouldn't have pursued that or gone down this road if we didn't feel there was a great chance Cody wouldn't be with us."
Ford gave the first commitment to the 2013 class and cemented his choice with his signing 11 months later.
"He's what you want, a big-play guy ... he can do so many things ... he can catch the ball and protect," Bob Stoops said.
Tulsa-area recruits Dominique Alexander (Booker T. Washington), Jordan Smallwood (Jenks) and Stanvon Taylor (East Central) joined Norman North's Jordan Evans and Southmoore's D.J. Ward as Oklahomans in the Sooners' class.
"I'm really excited about having the number of in-state great, quality players that we got," Bob Stoops said. "They're excellent players and top guys in the state of Oklahoma."
Original Print Headline: Defense gets late boost on signing day
Eric Bailey 918-581-8391
East Central's Stanvon Taylor (left) signed with OU and Antoine Brown chose Pittsburg State. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World