Bob Stoops' opening statement...
Today we're excited about this signing class, though 95 percent of it has been in place since the summer, we're still ecstatic about the number of players we have at each position, quality players, and it's really a typical class that we have where we've got a little bit of every position and we think it's obvious by the way people have respected our class with all the different rankings. Though there's only 17 players in it, it's still regarded as one of the better ones in the country. I think it speaks to the quality of our players.
I feel we've met all our needs with big guys - offensive line, defensive line - with the speed positions, receivers, defensive backs, running backs and all those guys. Then you've got the linebackers and tight ends that are all our style of players. It's just a quality class. Like usual we've got players from five or six different states and a large portion down through Texas which is always good being so close. It's always excellent to go recruit down there as well.
Bob when you say you met your needs, what were your most critical needs in this class?
Fortunately for a good number of years now I don't think we've ever been depleted anywhere. As you see it's just a really good mix of three o-linemen, you get a tight end, you get a running back, you get a couple of receivers, you get a linebacker, defensive ends and it's a little bit of everything. To us, I feel we've had a good number of years where we've been fairly balanced and we've never been short anywhere and just add to what we have.
Bob, you seem to have kind of a numbers crunch. The class isn't very big. Do the numbers work out for you right now or do you just expect that it will work itself out?
It will. It's just like last night when one guy changes his mind and goes somewhere else. I feel good about it and it's similar to what we've done in the past. I feel it's where most everybody is these days and I feel comfortable about it.
You've recruited Kansas very well and gotten the No. 1 player in the state there the last two years.
They do have excellent players up there throughout Kansas. I think the biggest issue always in recruiting - two things that I feel have helped us, proximity always makes a difference to families and recruits and the then the fact we've done well. If you look at all the players that are here from those areas, they're having great careers. We've had success. When you look at the championships and the bowl games, those players are close enough for their families to come down and participate without a lot of great expense of flying and those types of things.
If you get one really good player and he does well then you can go to that next player down the line and say, hey, look at this?
They pay attention. They relate and follow certain players in their area that they may follow and know a little bit.
Bob, can you talk about your early impressions of the guys that are here already? Brandon Williams, Kendal Thompson and Marquis Anderson?
Yeah, we haven't had much of a chance to get around them in workouts. We've been out on the road for the most part and players are back doing some things this week. Then we've had a few days where we haven't been in school. I haven't had time to really be with them in workouts, but they're here, they're here, they're listening to Coach Schmidt and their testing, what they've done to this point, they're very impressive. Kendal Thompson, the quarterback, Brandon Williams at running back and Marquis Anderson at defensive line are the three that are here now.
Bob, quarterbacks have always been a strong position. Have you ever had two Elite 11 quarterbacks? (Note: Stoops can't comment on Archie Bradley at this point)
I'm not sure to be honest with you if we have or not. Coach Heupel does a great job in his evaluations and what he likes and Kendal is a guy that throws the ball really well. He's been developed really well at a young age and in our camps the last few years also. We're excited about him as a passer but if you look at him athletically, he brings another dimension to be able to escape some things and be able to get you out of trouble with his legs. He gives you the opportunity to also have six, seven plays a game where the quarterback is designed to take off and do something with it.
How is Brandon (Williams) similar or different to someone like Roy (Finch)? And speaking of Roy, how is he coming along?
He's coming along just fine. We don't have him running just yet but there hasn't been any setbacks.
Brandon is much bigger than Roy. Brandon is more in the line of Demarco or Adrian or somewhere in-between the two. He's a guy that's all of 6-1 and 205 to 210 pounds. He's got incredible speed. He's a physical type guy the way he likes to run it.
Bob can you talk about the last two guys in this class? Nila and Bennett Okotcha and how that process worked out for you?
Well, like a lot of times you have guys you've been working for a long time and it just fortunately came together here in the last few days or the last week. They're guys that we really think can have great careers here. They're similar to a lot of guys that have had great careers here and signed and sometimes late. Bennett has excellent size for a corner and he's got height and strength to him. He has great ball skills. Brandon Carter dropped out a while back and this gave us an opportunity with him and we were really excited about him.
Nila is a very physical guy that could really play either side of the ball. He's a guy that right now weighs 290 and he looks like he weighs 240. You love guys like that, that have that kind of size and he's going to have great strength and ability to be a physical player for us on one side or the other.
Can you talk about (Trey) Metoyer and what makes him special?
A little bit of everything makes him special. I think everybody's watched him. I'm always amazed when I watch him play and he'll have two or three guys surrounding him and he goes up and gets the ball. He's one of those guys that just has those incredible hands. If you get the ball within 10 yards of him, he's going to get it. You look at the speed and athleticism with it, and the great size, and he has a chance to be a really special player.
Coach, Kendal has some family history here, how do you think he'll do living up to the Thompson name?
Well, I think in the end he has to be his own guy. Charles has done a great job to this point along with his high school coach of developing him. He has a lot of polish to him as a young guy and a quarterback with his footwork and the way he throws the football. In the end, that will be for them as a family to work though those kind of things. We just want him to do what he's able to do and be Kendal and grow in the program and I'm sure he will. He's had a great high school career and believe he'll do well with us.
How much work went on behind the scenes with so many school closings in the area to make sure you got the fax's in?
Yeah, just a lot of telephone calls. Fortunately all the networks were still operating and the biggest issue was kids making sure they were able to get to a fax machine. I guess it just took away from the pageantry at the different schools and being able to get in front of the whole school and have all of that. As long as they could sign it with their parents and find a fax machine, it worked okay for us since we're not able to be there anyway.