Deer Creek coach Grant Gower said he's impressed with how much weight Hooks has added in the offseason.
“He's going to be probably over that 200 mark and that will use his quickness because that's what so much of his defensive end spot is based off of,” Gower said. “He still possesses that and added some really good weight.”
Outside linebackers Marcus Coleman and Alec James also return alongside safety Caden Sander, who led Class 5A with seven interceptions last season and will also play quarterback.
“Those guys return, and the ones we've got really stepped up in the spring and the team camp this summer,” Gower said. “We feel good about some underclassmen and seniors who have been in the program, and it's their time.”
MCGUINNESS LOOKING TO FORTIFY SECONDARY
Bishop McGuinness technically returns just three defensive starters, but it still possesses one of the top defensive lines in Class 5A.
Senior defensive end Bobby Sweeney anchors the line after recording 100 tackles and 10 sacks last season, while Johnathan Higgins, Andrew Williams, Johnathan Olay and Tyler Kippenberger will also see time on the line.
Linebacker Gray Gochenour also returns after leading the team with 153 tackles and recording five sacks.
But Irish coach Justin Jones remains focused on improving the secondary, which is extremely young and inexperienced.
“I think the biggest thing is just being able to see things happening in front of them to be able to recognize and react,” Jones said. “Anytime you've got a young secondary they like to think, and I think when they think, they slow down. It's going to be important that those guys do a great job in game plans and recognizing game plans and being able to tighten those things before they happen.”
Junior Brandon Roy is the only returning player with secondary experience. He had 58 tackles last season as a cornerback.
*Northwest Classen returns 12 starters off a team that produced one of the Knights' best seasons in recent history. Leading the way will be senior running back Fre'Darian Ashley, a gifted athlete who has begun to gain Division I recruiting interest.
*New El Reno coach Taylor Schwerdtfeger said the Indians will be young on the offensive line and he has concerns about overall depth, but he feels like the team will compete after going 4-6 last season.
*Western Heights will lean heavily on dual-threat junior quarterback James Lewis to guide the offense as the Jets look to improve after an 0-10 season.
MORE FROM NEWSOK
District 5A-2 coaches' poll
1. Carl Albert (9-5)
2. Guthrie (10-2)
3. McGuinness (11-2)
4. Deer Creek (10-2)
5. El Reno (4-6)
T6. Northwest Classen (4-6)
T6. Western Heights (0-10)
8. Guymon (1-9)
Note: Last year's records in parentheses