But Stoops did not.
He and the rest of OU’s coaching staff had been impressed with what the freshman showed since preseason camp. He lacked experience in the defensive system, but everything else was there.
“He has, you know, great instincts for a young player that can find the football, and it’s not that easy,” Stoops said. “But he’s still learning and growing in the system, but he just continues to get better, and now that he sees things over and over and over, he can recognize things quicker and react quicker. Those are all positive. This whole experience is gonna make him a much different player a year from now.”
Different to the point the Sooners might have found their next All-American linebacker. It’s an incredible change from when the 2012 season ended. OU played linebackers sparingly when it faced spread offenses. Even Nelson was disgruntled when the season ended.
Alexander heard the same things from other schools. Why go to OU to play linebacker? It’s not using them.
“A lot of schools wanted me to play safety because I wasn’t as big as I am now in high school. The schools that wanted me to play safety were just telling me I could come in and start right away, and that me playing linebacker at OU, I probably wasn’t gonna play because they’ve got that one linebacker system,” Alexander said. “Like I said earlier, it’s all about trust, and you’ve just gotta believe your coach.”
He asked a lot of questions during the recruiting process. Even on his visit to Norman, he was looking for players to validate what OU’s coaching staff was telling him.
“It was a big get. Dominique is a key player on our defense. I’m glad he came,” middle linebacker Frank Shannon said. “I remember when I had him on his visit, we were always talking to each other. Playing defense here, it’s traditional so you’ve got to be ready to make a whole bunch of plays when you come here.”