OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops not-do-subtly denied telling incoming freshman safety Hatari Byrd that he'd start right away.
“Let's get one thing clear. People have spoken about promising kids positions,” Stoops said. “I think that's ludicrous that anyone would speculate that I would ever do that. I've never done that in all my years of coaching, promised a kid a position.”
Byrd told The Oklahoman late last month that he was told he'd start next season at one of the Sooners' safety positions, both of which are vacant after the departures of Javon Harris and Tony Jefferson.
“You earn everything you get here at Oklahoma,” Stoops said. “If a kid misspoke or misinterpreted, again, that falls on people preying on young players and kids maybe not knowing how to handle the situation that well.
“But I think you guys know me well enough that I would never promise anybody a starting position. These guys will all earn their way through the process of coming in this summer and earning their playing time.”
OU FENDS OFF LATE TEXAS OFFERS
Norvell laughed and admitted feeling a little nervous about new receiver signee Dannon Cavil's drive from San Antonio to Norman last month, when Cavil enrolled early at Oklahoma.
“There are some anxious moments knowing that he had to drive to Austin to get to us,” Norvell said.
“(Texas) offered him late. We had about three of our skill players, they came after hard at the end and we were able to weather the storm.”
Cavil, a three-star receiver according to Rivals, decommitted from Ole Miss, then Cal before settling on Oklahoma, which was the offer he'd been waiting for all along.
WESTMOORE'S HARDAWAY WALKING ON
Westmoore offensive lineman Nick Hardaway will head to OU as a preferred walk-on.
“I wasn't for sure I was going to get my D-1 chance, but this is it and I had to take it,” Hardaway said. “This is my shot to go play OU football. It's been a dream of mine since I was a little kid.”
Hardaway believes there's no better time than now to be an offensive lineman at Oklahoma.
“With their offensive line situation right now they've told me they can really use me,” Hardaway said. “For a preferred walk-on that's going to play offensive line, this seemed like a good time to be heading to OU.”
The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Hardaway expects to play mostly at guard for the Sooners with the possibility of playing center as well. He joins Edmond North's Heath Newland, another interior offensive linemen who will walk on for the Sooners.
LONG TO WALK ON AT OU
Norman High quarterback Zach Long has chosen to walk on at OU, with the encouragement of Bob Stoops' staff. Long won't have a scholarship, but he will have a chance to help the Sooners.
“I told Zach, be prepared to do anything,” said his father, Chuck Long, Stoops' quarterback and/or offensive coordinator from 2000-05.
When Chuck Long became San Diego State's head coach in 2006, the Longs moved away from Norman. But when the Aztecs fired Long three years later, and Chuck Long became offensive coordinator at Kansas, Zach Long decided to return to Norman to finish his high school career with the friends he grew up with.
Long became Norman's starting quarterback as a sophomore and in 2012 was the District 6A-4 offensive player of the year.
Long was recruited by a variety of small colleges but chose to go to OU sans scholarship.
“I ultimately want to coach,” Zach said. “I know if I go there, it'll be a great experience.”