NORMAN — Oklahoma running back Jacob Gutierrez raises his hand with three fingers in the air and his index finger and thumb making a circle to symbolize "03” — as in the high school class of 2003.
"We're the last of a dying breed,” said Darien Williams, another member of the small but proud group who signed with Oklahoma in 2003 and are still on the team today.
Twenty-four players came in with the 2003 signing class — highlighted by names such as Tommy Grady, Tashard Choice, Tony Cade and Lawrence "Moe” Dampeer.
Nine of the 24 are still around with a chance to finish all four years of eligibility at OU.
When they signed, the expectations were high for the players of that class. They ranked among the top five in the nation by recruiting services Scout.com and Rivals.com.
And their careers saw early success — a Big 12 Conference championship and two BCS title game appearances in their first two years — that has outweighed other shortcomings.
But individually, the class of 2003 has fallen short of expectations.
"We don't really look at it like that,” tight end Joe Jon Finley said. "You don't come here expecting to compete for anything less than a national championship. It doesn't matter what your recruiting class is.”
Only Williams and Finley were regular starters before last year.