NORMAN — Oklahoma cornerback Cortez Johnson remembers when then-Arizona coach Mike Stoops came into his living room and sat down with his parents.
“No matter where I go, I'm taking him with me,” Johnson recalls Stoops telling his father Ronald. “And he stuck by his word. I love Coach Mike to death.”
It took some convincing of the Johnson family that Arizona was the right fit.
When Stoops was fired during Johnson's freshman year, though, it took very little convincing for Johnson to follow.
“At Arizona, he believed in me,” Johnson said. “That's why I'm here with him and working hard for him.”
After sitting out last season following his transfer from Arizona, Johnson seems poised to make a big impact with the Sooners as a sophomore.
He's working on the opposite side as Aaron Colvin and looks to be in good position to be the other starter at that position.
“He had a great spring,” Bob Stoops said. “You have a 6-2 corner and he's a guy that has played some before. He's a guy we're hoping will continue to come on and be a really strong player for us.”
Ronald was one of his son's coaches at O. Perry Walker High School. Ronald had played college football himself at Prairie View A&M. Cortez' older brother, Travis, played at Louisiana-Lafayette.
Cortez played corner as a sophomore but after growing from 5-foot-7 to more than six feet tall, the coaches switched him to free safety as a junior.
But they moved him back for his senior year.
“We had seen so many big, tall receivers in high school that we decided to put him back at cornerback,” Ronald said. “Oh my. His senior year, he picked off like 12 passes, returned two for touchdowns and had all kinds of passes knocked down.”
Mike Stoops raved about Cortez while he was at Arizona.