NORMAN — Within days of Oklahoma's Sugar Bowl appearance against a Nick Saban-coached SEC team, a highly coveted five-star running back donned an OU cap at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.
History repeats itself, indeed.
Nearly ten years to the day after Adrian Peterson picked the Sooners, five-star running back Joe Mixon stood in the same Alamodome, wore the same jersey No. 28 and placed an Oklahoma hat on his head.
Peterson rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up as a true freshman, and while it would be unfair to expect that kind of debut season from Mixon, there are plenty of reasons to believe he could make an immediate impact.
Oklahoma's top three running backs from 2013 — Brennan Clay, Damien Williams and Roy Finch — were seniors, leaving plenty of carries to be replaced in 2014.
Keith Ford saw some action as a true freshman, and will likely enter next season atop the depth chart. But incoming freshmen Mixon (6-foot-2, 207 pounds) and Samaje Perine (6-0, 213 pounds) will have opportunities, as well.
Mixon rushed for 1,704 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior at Freedom High School in Oakley, Calif. In three varsity seasons, he recorded 4,281 rushing yards and 76 touchdowns.
Rivals.com ranks Mixon as the nation's ninth-best overall prospect — and the No. 1 all-purpose back — in the 2014 recruiting class.
He becomes the Sooners' first five-star running back commitment since Brandon Williams in 2011; Williams only played one year in Norman before transferring to Texas A&M.
Saturday's commitment signals the tremendous recruiting impact Oklahoma's shocking 45-31 upset of No. 3 Alabama could have for the Sooners. Mixon said during an NBC interview after his announcement that the Sugar Bowl win “sealed the deal.”
Mixon is already working on recruiting other big-time prospects to Norman. He told SoonerScoop.com “we're going to get (Michiah) Quick and I'm going to work on KD Cannon.”
Quick is a four-star athlete from Fresno, Calif., and Cannon is the nation's third-ranked receiver prospect who is currently committed to Baylor.