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February 5, 2009

New class fills needs

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops drew some laughs from fans when he suggested Sam Bradford might be his quarterback for two more seasons. The Sooner coach had to pause for a second to ask what was so funny while he was addressing the media about the class of 22 players he’d just signed.

Two more seasons with Bradford at quarterback would be OU’s dream scenario. If not, the Sooners will nonetheless survive. They inked another highly regarded class on National Signing Day Wednesday.

It’s one recognized more for the needs it filled than by any particular outstanding recruit.

OU had three major priorities with this year’s class: offensive line, linebacker and wide receiver.

It filled the coffers in two of the three areas.

Offensive linemen Josh Aladenoye, Tyler Evans, Tavaris Jeffries and Jeff Vinson should all make an impact. Each one stands at least 6-foot-5, and Vinson is a massive 6-foot-8 and 350 pounds.

“These are big talented guys that are the body types that we’re used to working with,” Stoops said. “I really feel they’re going to help us and they’re the style of players we’re used to working with.”

OU needed them. The offensive line will have to be rebuilt nearly from scratch after losing All-American guard Duke Robinson, Phil Loadholt, Jon Cooper, Brandon Walker and backup Branndon Braxton.

At receiver, OU might have come up short.

The Sooners inked Cameron Kenney, from Garden City (Kan.) Community College and Jaz Reynolds from Aldine, Texas. Both are expected to contend for playing time immediately, especially Kenney. But OU missed on high-profile receivers Rueben Randle (’s No. 2 overall recruit) and Terry Hawthorne (No. 58). Both kept the tension brewing until Wednesday. Randle chose LSU and Hawthorne picked Illinois.

“It would have been great to get another guy or two, but that’s the case at any position,” Stoops said. “We still think our numbers are OK. You’d like to have had another one, but we’re good with the guys we have and guys we have returning. We’re not a team that plays four wide (receivers) all the time. We have Jermaine Gresham and other guys we like to split out. It’s not like we’re shorthanded on who we can throw the ball to.”

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