BY JOHN HELSLEY Modified: February 5, 2009 at 4:40 am •  Published: February 5, 2009
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NORMAN — Oklahoma’s recruiting focus always centers on elite talent.

Yet the latest Sooners class, signed and sealed Wednesday, also featured a heavy emphasis on filling needs, primarily on the offensive line, at linebacker and in the secondary.


"We have a really diverse class where we’ve recruited all positions,” OU coach Bob Stoops said after adding 23 players on national signing day.

"More than anything, it’s a class that addressed the needs of our football team.”

Potential drama to the day dissipated early, with three top uncommitted recruits considering the Sooners — wide receivers Rueben Randle from Louisiana and Terry Hawthorne from St. Louis and New Jersey athlete Josh Evans — all going elsewhere.

Still, OU added enough in the eyes of the recruiting analysts to produce an overall group that will rank on the cusp of the top 10 nationally.

Jamarkus McFarland, considered one of the top defensive tackle prospects, might be the plum of the class. Stoops immediately tossed him in good company.

"Very tough, hard-playing guy,” Stoops said, "along the same mold of a Gerald McCoy, Tommie Harris, that kind of guy who anchors our defense from inside-out.”

OU’s list of signees also includes five in-state players, including the No. 1 recruit in Oklahoma, linebacker Ronnell Lewis from Dewar. The Sooners mined Texas again, taking 10 players from south of the Red River, but hit Kansas, Georgia, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Tennessee for players as well.


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