2002 Recruiting Class

Not since Waymon Clark was recruited by Barry Switzer in 1973 does a junior college player have a chance to impact the Sooner program like Jackson may next year. Jackson gives the Sooner defense the physical maturity and speed to maintain their status as America's most feared defense in 2002. A skilled athlete, Jackson left high school as a versatile athlete who played QB, the move to LB solidified his abilities and college recruiters came running. Jackson will be a definite NFL commodity and has a chance to contend for Big XII honors his first year. He has requested to wear #8.

Latimer committed on January 14 after a heated neck and neck battle between Miami and Oklahoma. (Latimers' father, a former Denver Bronco played at Miami, and Colorado was also in the hunt for this talented DE until the last few weeks). Zach, the Denver Post defensive player of the year, played a variety of positions on defense and offense - including quarterback - in his four-year career at Class 4A Gateway. As a senior, his primary position was defensive end. "I talked to Coach Stoops on the telephone and told him I'm coming," Latimer said. "They're going to give me a chance. Right now, they said I'll probably be an outside linebacker on first and second downs, then when it's third-and-long, I'll move to end. Just as long as I can go in there and play." Latimer, also a Denver Post all-state basketball player as a guard, is ranked #8 DE nationally and gives the Sooners the coveted speed DE they've been waiting for. Latimer runs a 4.5 40 with his best time at 4.47.

City College of San Francisco five-star linebacker Lance Mitchell is a Sooner. Even if it took another few months to get him to arrive on campus.
According to sources within the Sooner football program, Mitchell is there in Norman now and is already enrolled in spring courses.
"He did transfer," the source said. "Matter of fact, he wasn't even eligible to attend any SEC school because he wasn't enrolled in the right English course out there at City College. But Lance did sign a letter-of-intent with Florida and has been given his release to attend Oklahoma."
It looks like Florida forgot to do their homework and when Mitchell discovered last Monday that he couldn't be eligible at Florida, he got to thinking. And his thinking prompted him and his family to make a call to Oklahoma - the school that he picked Florida over the first time.
the source said.
The one thing that is still unclear is when and what type of eligibility that Mitchell will have. The Sooners have already begun an appeal process that would give Mitchell full eligibility of three years to play two seasons at Oklahoma.
But the ultimate decision is up to the NCAA, but the Sooners feel good about precedence, and there is no question at all that Oklahoma got stronger with the addition of the five star linebacker.
So, the past two days have been big. The Sooners have landed hopefully two more candidates to fill the Mike and Will linebacker spots. You can just imagine the grin that Bob Stoops has on his face right now.

Alexander was a huge target of Sooner recruiters as they believe that he is one of a handful of high school seniors capable of playing early. Alexander was only marginally known in the summer because of very little playing time his junior season due to Louisiana high school transfer rules, and a good but not great '40 time' at the Nike training camp this summer (4.6). That quickly changed as this season unfolded and recruiters everywhere noticed a dominate player on film, and also learned that he was capable of breaking 4.5, with excellent strength and athletic ability. Suddenly Alexander was on everyone's list and had moved up to a ranking of #19 LB in the country by November. The Longhorns heard that Sooner coaches were offering and immediately began courting Rufus, (naturally). But Mack's BS proved too potent this time as Alexander opted for superior tutelage under coach Venables & Stoops. With that kind of intelligence Alexander is expected to qualify.

Big, strong and quick, the prototype college QB. Completed 60 of 116 for 700 yards with seven TDs despite playing only eight games in 2000 due to a torn ACL. As a senior was 89 of 171 for 1,365 yards and 16 TD's. Extremely accurate had only one interception as a senior! Allen has a 300 BP, 370 squat and 32" vertical. 2.7 GPA and 900 SAT. Receiving 26 formal offers, committed to Oklahoma on July 1st. In the 'Texas Top 50', (ranked 42nd overall in-state by HeartlandRecruiting.com), and fourth among Texas QB's.

Another Texas Top 30 (#22), and The Dallas Morning News Offensive Player of the Year, Blanton is sometimes referred to as a football player who runs big-time track. Considered by many to be the fastest prep player in the nation, Blanton has run a 10.1 (hht) 100m (10.3 automatic), 200m (20.37) and anchors the 4x100 in track. Blanton used that blistering speed to run for 2,300+ yards and 34 touchdowns this season on 200 attempts, (11.5 yds per carry). Oklahoma finished ahead of Miami; Tennessee; LSU; Texas and A&M for Blanton. Ranked as the #14 RB in the country. DaBryan would like to break Quentins' record by scoring 7 TD's against Texas.

Carter and Michael Hawkins of Carrollton Texas were the two most sought after corners capable of playing the Stoops version of "in your face" cover defense. With Carters' commitment, the Sooners have two of their recruiting goals met. "I committed to OU because of their commitment to win championships", Carter said.

Before the year began, Chambers was considered the top defensive prospect in Missouri. As the season progressed, Chambers did nothing to hurt his reputation, as he finished a banner year with 130 tackles. His combination of exceptional size and speed allow him play MLB or OLB. An early Sooner commitment.

A Texas 'Top 30' (#24) recruit, Hawkins was a transfer from Dallas Hillcrest and only played his first full season as a junior. Recorded 40 tackles with two interceptions in 2000. 225 BP and 395 squat. Really impressed coaches in OU summer camp with his ability to cover receivers and has confirmed his commitment to sign with the Sooners.

Joseph was a four-year starter in one of the nations best football districts. It's no secret that Broward and Dade counties in Florida have more D-1 prospects than most states. Joseph was the Broward County defensive player of the year in 2001. He was also named all state after recording 15 sacks from his defensive end position. When asked 'why Oklahoma?,' Joseph responded: "I feel that Oklahoma is the best place for me to reach all my goals. I have the confidence in my coaching staff that I will become the best player I can be." Davin wants to play defense in college, but most see him as a potential All America offensive guard prospect because of his skills as an excellent pass protector. He also blocks well on the run, and loves to pull and trap. Joseph is already adept in the weight room and has a frame to get much bigger. As with most freshmen, Stoops& Co. will give Davin a chance on both sides of the ball early on. Where he lands will depend on his abilities and projected strengths. Recruited by all SEC and ACC schools, Joseph narrowed it down to Miami, Michigan State, NC State, Ohio State and Oklahoma. The final cut came down to Michigan State and Oklahoma, with OU getting the nod on January 26th.

Another 'Texas Top 30' (#12), Jeff is the son of Andrews head coach Mike Lebby. Recorded 55 "pancake" blocks last season, earning him All-District, All-Permian Basin, All-Super Team Permian Basin, All-South Plains and All-West Texas honors. 450 squat and 28" vertical. Carries a 3.6 GPA and is also an outstanding basketball player. Committed in early summer to Oklahoma.

Miller is known for his ball-hawking skills, picking off eight passes his junior year,  returning three for scores while also blocking six kicks. First team California  all-state as both junior and senior. Ranked among the top ten DB's (#6) in the country,  Miller selected the Sooners over UCLA, USC, Michigan and LSU. OU coaches think Miller may develop into a Roy Williams type of dominating defensive back,  capable of big hits and outstanding effort.  "I loved my trip to Oklahoma," Miller said. "Football is a religion there, the whole state is just crazy for football. I really liked the players and coaches there and to be honest, it's a place that I felt a lot more comfortable at than I thought I would.  "It's obviously different than Los Angeles but it's a place that I think actually fits my personality better.

Sooner coaches were hoping to keep Poole a secret, but his outstanding play, (and their interest), soon drew offers from the Longhorns and other top programs, (LSU, Colorado, K-State), and a top 50 Texas ranking (#40). This prototypical Free Safety in the heralded 'Stoops Defense' package, could develop into a terror under Schmidt. Poole had 159 yards-two TDs on 40 carries and three receptions-112 yards-two TDs and nine INTs on defense.

Think of Joe Washington like moves and get a picture of JeJuan Rankins. It came down to Georgia, Notre Dame and Oklahoma for Rankins, who had earlier considered Michigan and Maryland as well. According to his coach, Ray Bond, Rankins can play any skill position, and last season Rankins was reluctantly pressed into duty as QB, finishing the year with 1,218 yards passing (18 TD's) and another 543 running (9 TD's). JeJuan surely would have been rated higher than his #23 ranking at WR had he been able to play it his final year. As a junior, he had 42 receptions for 922 yards and 13 TD's, and 506 yards and 5 TD's on punt returns. Rankins also excelled on the defensive side of the ball at safety. With 67 tackles, (60 unassisted). As a junior he had 15 interceptions, returning three for TD's. Sooner coaches targeted DeBryan Blanton and Rankins as two of the most versatile 'skill' players in the country. "My focus is to go to a great program," said Rankins. "When I get there I am confident they will place me where they think I can best serve the team." Rankins also plays the small forward position on his school's basketball team and runs the 200 & 400 meters for the track team, last year recording the fastest 200 meter in his distrct with a time of 22.5.

Tall, rangy and elusive with a live and accurate arm, accumulated 2,039 yards both running and passing as a junior ; and was 113 of 182 for 1,527 yards passing (12 TD's, 6 Ints) and 125 carries for 1,033 yards rushing as a senior. A 6-10 high jumper who also competes in the long jump (22'4") and tripe jump (47'2"). Committed to the Oklahoma Sooners in July. Ranked 3rd amoung Texas QB's and 33rd overall in-state by HeartlandRecruiting.com.

A 'Top Ten Texas' recruit (#9). Great size, speed, hands and the strength to separate from defensive backs. Sooner coaches think Wilson was the best receiver they saw this year. Caught 27 passes for 400 yards with seven touchdowns as a junior, as a senior had 34 receptions for 931 yards and 12 TD's. Travis has 300 BP, 405 squat and 33" vertical. 3.6 GPA with 950 SAT. Was a regional qualifier in the 400m with a time of 48.9. Attended Oklahoma and Notre Dame summer camps.

An attractive player with his size and 4.7 speed in the 40-yard dash coming off the edge. The younger brother of former Oklahoma State star and current Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker Jason Gildon. Many say little borther can be as good or better.

Estrada is another lineman that was coveted by the Sooners, who got in late in the Estrada sweepstakes, but ended up with both Estarda and his teammate, Michael Hawkins. Estrada admits that the Sooners play their offensive line very much to his liking. "Oklahoma doesn't mind playing offensive linemen my size," said Estrada. "Some colleges won't play anybody shorter than 6'5, while Oklahoma just plays the best player no matter his size. Early I liked Miami and Nebraska, but interest from Oklahoma swayed me to reconsider." Estrada is ranked among the top twenty OL's in the country (#15).

Like Ada's Dan Cody two years ago, Messner's biggest problem was that his athletic ability made him adaptable to many positions: (QB, DE, TE, OL), while not giving him the opportunity to master any. Sooner coaches recognized his awesome combination of size speed and ability and projected an All America OL, or possible TE with 6'7" height. Messner committed to follow his dream wearing the Sooner Crimson & Cream.

Roberts has been kicking since seventh grade and has been a four-year starter on the varsity level. This season Roberts was 11 for 12 on field goals with a long of 51 and he was 33 for 35 on PATs. On kickoffs, 85 % were in the endzone or out. Roberts averaged 64 yards per kickoff this year. Roberts also averaged 41 yards per punt. Roberts stood out at Ray Pelfrey's summer camp and according to Pelfrey, Roberts was the number one place kicker in the country. Roberts also played WR and CB and started half a season before a groin injury forced him to just kick. At practice Roberts says his range on FGs is 57 yards.

Taylor was not on the early 'Star Watch' lists but OU coaches knew about this giant from Purcell. He was offered a scholarship in the summer before his senior year based on his impressive performance in summer camp where he easily out performed other 'all star' linemen.

A three-year starter, Thibodeaux wasn't highly talked about at the beginning of the year. However, that changed quickly as college coaches saw him play. Ranked in the Texas Top 50, (@ #45), he finished the season with 11 sacks, one interception, three fumble recoveries and two TD's, one on either side of the ball. His junior season, Thibodeaux had nine sacks and 68 tackles. Thibodeaux can bench 355 pounds and he throws the shot in track (57'0). He had offers from Notre Dame, LSU and was close to committing to Michigan, before his visit to OU.

Started for three years at tight end on the talented Carol City team. Senior year was hampered by a nagging stress fracture and Nixon only played in four games. Only had six passes at 17 yards per catch because of the injury, and also played on special teams. Junior year saw 28 receptions for 315 yards and eight touchdowns. Son of former OU star Freddie Nixon. "The tradition of Oklahoma is so great. It is like a childhood dream to play at OU, especially with my father playing there. I grew up knowing all about Oklahoma and my dad really wanted me to go to Oklahoma. My dad always had great things to say about OU. When I visited OU and saw the university for myself I had nothing but great thoughts about OU." Despite the injury, Nixon was ranked as the #10 TE in the country, he also considered Miami, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Kansas.

JD was a main playmaker for the perennial state powerhouse, and current State Champion Carl Albert. As a senior Runnels played TE and Safety. On defense Runnels was known for his monster hits and carried a 'Roy Williams' reputation as the ultimate play stopper. The Sooners waited to offer Runnels, as he was playing slightly out of position relative to college ball. However, when Sooner coaches saw film and matched that with Runnels' huge heart, desire and character, the offer was made. Regarding the offer, Runnels said: "I was so happy, because I had waited on them so long. I just felt relieved, because OU is such a great power and they are so close to my home." JD also had offers from Texas A&M, OSU and Kansas. "I was incredibly happy when OU offered me a scholarship. To play the fullback or H Back in the Sooner offense would be alot of fun, considering what they are trying to do. I look forward to playing in front of Quentin Griffin, Renaldo Works and KeJuan Jones, and those type of guys. I hated to let Texas A&M know that I wasn't coming to their school, but I wanted to play for Oklahoma and that is what I get the opportunity to do."


I'm a die hard OU fan and former OU student during the heyday of the wishbone.  Billy Sims played and won the heisman trophy when I was at OU.  I love OU football and have been doing this page for about 24 years.  I do the video editing and production.  Glad you stopped by!  Leave some comments and help me make this a great place for OU fans to visit Smile


Sooner Alum and die hard OU Fan. Kevin gives great insight to OU Football

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