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February 7, 2013

Expectations, needs met by Sooners on signing day

NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops knew heading into Wednesday there weren’t going to be any major surprises shooting out of the fax machine. The Sooners expected to receive 24 national letters of intent — and did by 5:30 p.m.

What the group will provide this coming season and in the future is the source of uncertainty.

“I think we’re always looking for a good mix of guys on both sides of the football. I felt like we got that,” Stoops said. “I’m really excited to have the number of in-state, great quality players that we got. Excellent players here and the top guys in the state of Oklahoma here with us. I thought we really addressed some of the major needs that we needed.”

The Sooners, who went 10-3 last season and shared the Big 12 Conference title with Kansas State, had clearly defined needs heading into Wednesday.

The first was rebuilding a defensive line that lost three defensive tackles and two defensive ends in their rotation to graduation.

OU added four defensive tackles — junior college transfer Quincy Russell, along with Texas prep standouts Kerrick Huggins, Matthew Romar and Charles Walker.

“I’d probably single out Quincy Russell being that he’s a junior college player, with the size and strength and quickness he has,” Stoops said. “We expect — really all of these guys any more, we expect to make an immediate impact, but obviously Quincy is one of those guys being that he’s older and in a position that we need guys to step up.”

Southmoore defensive end D.J. Ward, who is already attending classes at OU, highlights the trio of defensive ends that also includes the Texas duo of Matt Dimon and Ogbonnia Okoronkow.

“Developing our players up front was a huge area for us to improve, to develop some more playmakers up front,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “… Those guys are very athletic. They have a chance to allow us to put more speed on the field.”

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