He said most players were receptive to the coaching changes, which also included last week's hiring of linebackers coach Tim Kish.
“Oklahoma is Oklahoma. It's one of the premiere programs in all of football and Bob is one of the premiere coaches in all of football,” Mike Stoops said. “Those two things aren't going to change.”
What seems to be evolving, to some extent, is the Sooners' focus. Ten of the 25 players were from Texas (seven) and Oklahoma (three). But that left a lot of the country. OU went to places such as suburbs of Washington, Chicago and Cleveland, Ohio, to round out the class.
Additionally, it continued recruiting success in California (three) and Florida (four).
“I think it's a credit of being able to go where the best players are and bringing them back home,” said Jay Norvell, OU's receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator.
Norvell racked up some frequent flier miles, hopping coast to coast, to chase players in the class. His haul at receiver had him smiling and smoking a cigar in a picture he posted on Twitter just after noon Wednesday.
Perhaps the highest-impact freshman, St. Louis' Durron Neal, was the first prospect to send in his letter of intent. It came through OU's fax machine at 7:01 a.m.
Heritage Hall's Sterling Shepard, Los Angeles' Derrick Woods and Texas' Daniel Brooks followed. Trey Metoyer, a 2011 commit who was in prep school this past fall, enrolled last week.
Gardner was the last of the receiver signees, going back on a December commitment to Arkansas to join the Sooners.
“We didn't go into it looking for a junior college receiver, but we kind of made the decision to do it,” Norvell said. “When we did, we jumped in at 100 miles an hour. We were able to flip the kid. It was just something we decided to do.”
It was symbolic of the coaches' surging commitment to gaining commitments.
“I think this staff did a hell of a job in this last month,” Norvell said. “We really did a lot of good things in recruiting to finish strong. That was important for us to do that.”
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OU'S FURIOUS FINISH
The Sooners had 13 recruits committed the day after its Bedlam loss to Oklahoma State. Here's a look at the verbal commitments it received after Dec. 3, all of whom signed Wednesday.
TE Brannon Green*
WR Derrick Woods
CB Kass Everett*
TE Taylor McNamara
RB David Smith
OT Will Latu*
CB Zack Sanchez
DE Michael Onuoha
WR Courtney Gardner*
CB Gary Simon
RB Damien Williams*
* junior college recruits.