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July 28, 2009

Big 12 Media Days — Sooners came back for another shot

IRVING, Texas — It was a rare sight to see Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days: A team having a Heisman Trophy winner and two All-Americans on its roster doesn’t happen often.

But Oklahoma brought an even rarer group to Irving Tuesday, when quarterback Sam Bradford, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and tight end Jermaine Gresham arrived to represent the Sooners. Keeping NFL caliber players in college past their sophomore or junior years gets harder and harder.

All three, along with offensive tackle Trent Williams, delighted Sooner fans when they decided in January to forgo the NFL for at least another year.

“I think it says a lot about the overall program that they’re pleased and excited to be in and want to participate in one more year and then maybe give up some fortune for a year to have that opportunity to be here one more with their teammates, with their coaches,” OU coach Bob Stoops said.

The coach has long been a strong proponent of players maximizing their draft stock before leaving college. He’s talked about it every year when his underclassmen weigh the decision to stay or go.

Bradford spoke openly about his decision at a press conference last January, but Gresham and McCoy were mostly mum on the subject until Tuesday.

“When you have guys like Sam, Jermaine and Trent Williams decide to come back, players of that caliber, it’s gonna be exciting for anybody,” McCoy said. “I’m on the team, and I was super excited when I heard everybody was coming back. It makes it a lot easier on the coaches because they don’t have to do as much developing. Guys have experience. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. It makes it easier to make a run for the national championship.”

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