Four-star safety prospect Hatari Byrd has noticed past California products have shined at Oklahoma — most recently Kenny Stills and Tony Jefferson.
“It made me think that California guys can really make it at OU,” Byrd said when asked if the productive careers of Stills and Jefferson affected his decision.
With the departures of Javon Harris and Jefferson, the Oklahoma defense will feature a pair of new starting safeties.
Byrd recently told The Oklahoman that coaches have indicated to him he will be the new starter at one of those spots as a true freshman.
“They've talked to me a lot about playing right away,” Byrd said in a telephone interview. “They told me it's my spot.”
Even with a starting spot apparently promised to Byrd, he wants Oklahoma fans to know he's still bringing a strong work ethic with him.
“I'm going to come in and work really hard, that's the type of player I am,” Byrd said. “I believe hard work pays off.”
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound prospect from Central High in Fresno, Calif. verbally committed to Oklahoma last July. Rivals rates Byrd as the No. 16 safety in the nation and the 23rd-best player in the state of California.
Byrd competed in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl on Jan. 4 in Los Angeles.