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Oklahoma football recruiting: Sooners' 2013 class has emphasis on defense

Eleven of Oklahoma's 19 commitments for its 2013 recruiting class are defensive players, signaling a strong emphasis on improving a unit that struggled to stop just about anyone down the stretch in 2012, and lost several key players and one huge commitment over the past week.
by Jason Kersey Modified: January 13, 2013 at 11:13 pm •  Published: January 14, 2013

photo - Jordan Evans of Norman North. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Jordan Evans of Norman North. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

“I can help stop the run, and also help in pass coverage,” Evans said. “They'll find a perfect spot for me, and then my job is to go make plays.”

Direction of the class

Here are five players who signal the direction of Oklahoma's 2013 recruiting class

Jordan Evans, LB, Norman North: Evans, a converted cornerback, is far from the Sooners' highest-rated recruit but fits in well with the defensive philosophy Mike Stoops has brought to OU with his return, which relies on linebackers more to force ball carriers to other defenders rather than make plays themselves.

Hatari Byrd, S, Fresno, Calif. (Central East): With Gabe Lynn's struggles this season and Javon Harris and Tony Jefferson gone, Byrd figures to be the freshman most likely to have an immediate impact in 2013.

Austin Bennett, WR, Manvel, Texas: Wide receiver is one position where the Sooners have not struggled in recruiting. They're still looking to add one or two more in addition to Bennett and Jenks' Jordan Smallwood. Jay Norvell has been perhaps OU's top recruiter the last few years.

Quincy Russell, DT, San Antonio (Trinity Valley CC): Some Sooners fans who follow recruiting were in a panic when OU entered December without a commitment at defensive tackle but the Sooners have added three DTs in the past month, none bigger than Russell, who signed in December. Russell signed with Texas out of high school and could step right in to start next season.

Matt Dimon, DE, Katy, Texas: The Sooners have some promise at the position among players already on campus, but with R.J. Washington and David King gone, OU needed to bring in talent. They did that quickly, picking up a commitment, in March, from Dimon, who went on to have a huge senior year, then adding then-Lawton defensive end D.J. Ward in April.