NORMAN — Demontre Hurst thinks Aaron Colvin — his cornerback comrade last year at Oklahoma — made the right choice by returning to Norman for one more season.
“He had an awesome year,” Hurst said. “By him going back, he's gonna be the primary leader back there with all the young guys. He can really raise his bar as a defender.
“A lot of teams probably respect him now. I think it was a smart decision for him to stay.”
Colvin, a first-team All-Big 12 selection last season, considered forgoing his senior season and entering April's NFL Draft. He finished his junior season with 52 tackles, two sacks, four interceptions and four pass break-ups.
Hurst played in all 53 games of his college football career, starting each of the 40 from the beginning of his sophomore year through the Sooners' Jan. 4 loss to Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.
The Lancaster, Texas, native ended his Oklahoma career with 178 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and 33 pass break-ups.
Hurst played in the Jan. 19 East-West Shrine game; the former Sooner was on the winning West team, led by former Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Leeman Bennett.
The former Sooner spoke Tuesday with The Oklahoman by telephone from Naples, Fla., where he's working toward his NFL dream.
How have the last few months been for you?
“I've been doing good. I've been out here in Florida living the life with this nice weather. I played in the East-West Shrine game and had a real great experience there. Met a lot of great people. Getting the NFL experience with all these coaches. Now I'm out here in Naples, Fla., training with guys from all over the place. It's been a good journey so far.”
What was the Shrine game experience like?
“Practice was the most important thing. In practice, I really went out and competed and tried to do all the things the coaches were teaching, just to let them know I'm coachable. I went out there and did the best I could. I made some great plays and had a lot of great opportunities. It was just a fun experience for me.”
Have you been given any idea of where you might be drafted?
“They haven't given me anything. I just try to put that on the backside and focus on things I can control. Anything can change from here until draft day.”
Any team you'd prefer to play for?
“I'm a big Dallas Cowboys fan. Me going back home, that'd be a lovely thing. That's my number one team. But to be honest, I'll go anywhere just to get an opportunity to play in the NFL.”
What do you think will stand out when you reflect on your time at Oklahoma?
“Me just growing up. Coming in as a young guy, getting an opportunity to play as a freshman. I've grown up so much and matured from my first year to my last year. I grew up pretty quick. It made me grow up pretty quickly and be a leader, sometimes to guys who were older than me.”
The OU defense played well at times in the last couple years, but also struggled quite a bit. Do you think things improved from your junior to your senior seasons?
“We had a lot of success. You really can't judge the success from last year to this year. It's a different year, different teams, different schemes. Overall, it was just a different team entirely. Coach Mike came in with a great system and we were all new to it. The year that just passed, it wasn't all that bad, but it wasn't all that good either. It's a learning process. In his second year there, a lot of guys will continue picking up on what he likes to do. A coaching change can happen any time.”
Were you surprised by some of the different, unique schemes Mike Stoops brought, like playing sometimes with no linebackers?
“I don't know if I'd say it was a surprise ... We didn't really expect it. I guess it's somewhere in the middle. Being a secondary guy — and coach Mike being a secondary guy and the defensive coordinator — he's gonna rely on his DBs to line up with five wide receivers to go out there and shut those guys down. We knew the scheme we had the whole season. We just really tried to trust in coach Mike and his game plan for what he had for us.”
Do you think that system will work better once guys have some more experience in it?
“Oh yeah. Once you get more game experience and more chances to adapt and try to learn, it helps you a lot. A lot of the young guys last year will know what to expect this year. I'm pretty sure coach Mike's gonna be getting on those guys.”