Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops acknowledged that his 2013 quarterback signee, Cody Thomas, will likely be picked in the upcoming Major League Baseball draft, but said he's confident the former Colleyville Heritage standout will be with his team in the fall.
“He is adamant that he truly wants to play football, unless he was picked so high that he couldn't turn away from it,” Stoops said. “Most indications are that football is important enough to him that he's gonna want to pursue that.
“We wouldn't have pursued this and gone down this road if we didn't feel there was a great chance Cody would be with us.”
Should Thomas (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) stay in school, he plans to play on OU's baseball team. Stoops said he's more than fine with that.
“We want him to play baseball,” Stoops said. “I'd be excited to watch him.
“If he could help our baseball team, I think it'd be great.”
STOOPS: IN-STATE PROSPECTS A PRIORITY
Stoops said he was excited to have signed five Oklahoma high school prospects in his 2013 recruiting class.
Cornerback Stanvon Taylor (Tulsa East Central), linebacker Dominique Alexander (Tulsa Washington), linebacker Jordan Evans (Norman North), receiver Jordan Smallwood (Jenks) and defensive end D.J. Ward (Southmoore) and all signed letters of intent with OU on Wednesday.
“We always want to do a great job in our own state,” Bob Stoops said. “Fortunately through the years, we have. We're always diligent in that first players we evaluate and continue to evaluate are always in-state players. Not that we're always right, but we sure are always doing everything we can to watch them, evaluate them, get to know them and get them around us, invite them to campus, invite them to practices, invite them to scrimmages.
“It's been a positive and these are all excellent players and some of them are the top players in our state.”
ALEXANDER HARD AT WORK
Alexander treated signing day like a normal day.
That's why at 6:30 a.m., the Tulsa Washington defensive standout hit the gym.
By 7:30 a.m., Alexander was back home and getting ready for school.
At 3 p.m., he walked into his high school's field house wearing a black dress shirt, a crimson vest and an OU hat for his signing ceremony.
This fall, Dominique will take on his father Derrick Alexander Sr.'s former team, OSU, and his brother Derrick Jr.'s current team: Tulsa.
“On a scale of one to 10, the trash talk is 10,” Dominique said. “I tell him they have no chance and then he tells me we're not going to win.”
COACHES SAY TAYLOR WILL PLAY CORNER
Tulsa East Central's Stanvon Taylor, who signed Wednesday with Oklahoma, has long been listed by recruiting services as an “athlete.”
Sooner coaches said Wednesday, though, that it's been decided that Taylor will play cornerback for the Sooners.
“He should be listed as a cornerback,” Mike Stoops said. “Everyone talks about him as an athlete, but he's a corner.
“He's a terrific young man and a terrific player. I think the future is unlimited for him. He will push hard for playing time. I think all these guys will.”
Taylor made 53 tackles and four interceptions as a senior at Tulsa East Central, but also shined on the other side of the ball, grabbing 67 passing for 1,100 yards and two touchdowns.
MIKE STOOPS DENIES MAKING ANY GUARANTEES TO PROSPECTS
OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops not-do-subtly denied telling incoming freshman safety Hatari Byrd that he'd start right away.
“Let's get one thing clear. People have spoken about promising kids positions,” Stoops said. “I think that's ludicrous that anyone would speculate that I would ever do that. I've never done that in all my years of coaching, promised a kid a position.”
Byrd told The Oklahoman late last month that he was told he'd start next season at one of the Sooners' safety positions, both of which are vacant after the departures of Javon Harris and Tony Jefferson.
“You earn everything you get here at Oklahoma,” Stoops said. “If a kid misspoke or misinterpreted, again, that falls on people preying on young players and kids maybe not knowing how to handle the situation that well.
“But I think you guys know me well enough that I would never promise anybody a starting position. These guys will all earn their way through the process of coming in this summer and earning their playing time.”
OU FENDS OFF LATE TEXAS OFFERS
Norvell laughed and admitted feeling a little nervous about new receiver signee Dannon Cavil's drive from San Antonio to Norman last month, when Cavil enrolled early at Oklahoma.
“There are some anxious moments knowing that he had to drive to Austin to get to us,” Norvell said.
“(Texas) offered him late. We had about three of our skill players, they came after hard at the end and we were able to weather the storm.”
Cavil, a three-star receiver according to Rivals, decommitted from Ole Miss, then Cal before settling on Oklahoma, which was the offer he'd been waiting for all along.
WESTMOORE'S HARDAWAY WALKING ON
Westmoore offensive lineman Nick Hardaway will head to OU as a preferred walk-on.
“I wasn't for sure I was going to get my D-1 chance, but this is it and I had to take it,” Hardaway said. “This is my shot to go play OU football. It's been a dream of mine since I was a little kid.”
Hardaway believes there's no better time than now to be an offensive lineman at Oklahoma.
“With their offensive line situation right now they've told me they can really use me,” Hardaway said. “For a preferred walk-on that's going to play offensive line, this seemed like a good time to be heading to OU.”
The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Hardaway expects to play mostly at guard for the Sooners with the possibility of playing center as well. He joins Edmond North's Heath Newland, another interior offensive linemen who will walk on for the Sooners.
LONG TO WALK ON AT OU
Norman High quarterback Zach Long has chosen to walk on at OU, with the encouragement of Bob Stoops' staff. Long won't have a scholarship, but he will have a chance to help the Sooners.
“I told Zach, be prepared to do anything,” said his father, Chuck Long, Stoops' quarterback and/or offensive coordinator from 2000-05.
When Chuck Long became San Diego State's head coach in 2006, the Longs moved away from Norman. But when the Aztecs fired Long three years later, and Chuck Long became offensive coordinator at Kansas, Zach Long decided to return to Norman to finish his high school career with the friends he grew up with.
Long became Norman's starting quarterback as a sophomore and in 2012 was the District 6A-4 offensive player of the year.
Long was recruited by a variety of small colleges but chose to go to OU sans scholarship.
“I ultimately want to coach,” Zach said. “I know if I go there, it'll be a great experience.”