NORMAN — The moment he stepped on Oklahoma's campus, Daniel Noble sought out veteran defensive tackle Adrian Taylor.
And peppered Taylor with questions. And questions. And more questions.
"I've never met a d-tackle like Daniel," Taylor said. "I say that because his willingness to learn, there's nobody that's ever been like that.
"How ever many questions he asked I answered them. And he has no lack of questions."
That eagerness to learn has taken Noble to a place few Stoops-era defensive tackles outside Tommie Harris have enjoyed.
On the field as a true freshman early in the season.
"I got with Adrian Taylor all summer, asking him so many different questions, just absorbing as much as I could," Noble said. "Most of us coming in here have the skills. It's about learning the game.
"I was just determined to learn and work as hard as I could to become as good as I could and advance as fast as I could. I wasn't going to be disappointed if I didn't play. I just wanted to do the best I could."
But last Saturday against Air Force, Noble did play. And not in mop-up time, but crunchtime, when the Falcons were surging in the second half.
Not only did the 6-foot-3, 281-pound Noble hold his own in his first notable action — he flourished.
"He played a heck of a game," coach Bob Stoops said. "He's tough, physical, plays with technique, has good feet. He's going to be a really good player. He already is. But I mean he has a chance to be one of those special ones, if he keeps maturing."
Against the Academy, Noble finished with two tackles, but more notably helped bottle up Air Force's pesky fullback dive.
"You can see he can play football," Taylor said. "I think he did well for his first real action out there. You could see his little celebration when he got his tackle. He didn't know what to do. It was pretty funny.
"But that was the first of many, many more plays for him."
In a recruiting class that featured some of the top prospects in the country like Tony Jefferson and Roy Finch, Noble arrived in Norman somewhat under the radar. Despite being the first from the class to the commit to the Sooners all the way back in January 2009.
But even though he was one of four incoming defensive tackles, it didn't take the native of Flower Mound, Texas, long to distinguish himself from the others.
"He's a smart guy, really smart," said defensive end Jeremy Beal. "Reminds me a lot of myself the way he prepares, watches film. He doesn't forget a lot of stuff. Once you tell him something once or twice he'll remember it the rest of the time.
"He's that kind of player."