Oklahoma pulls in strong defensive class
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Help is on the way for Oklahoma’s defense.
The Sooners struggled to provide support their dynamic offense this season, but they signed a strong class Wednesday, despite having an interim defensive coordinator calling the shots. Ruffin McNeill took over at midseason after the Sooners fired Mike Stoops, and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley isn’t in a hurry to make a full-time choice.
Among the four-star additions defensively were defensive backs Jeremiah Criddell, Jaden Davis, Jamal Morris and Woodi Washington, linebackers Jonathan Perkins and Joseph Wete and linemen Derek Green, Marcus Hicks, Kori Roberson and Marcus Stripling.
Riley said it was a strong statement that so many good defensive players have agreed to become Sooners given the uncertainty at defensive coordinator.
“I think it just shows the confidence these guys have in this program and where we’re going, and I think they understand the big-picture vision here — that even though we’re having a ton of success on the field right now, there’s not a sense of satisfaction here, at all,” he said. “This is getting ready to get better and our people feel that, our recruits feel that, they see it and they want to come and be a part of it.”
Criddell is an Under Armour All-American from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California. The Sooners had quite a celebration when they landed him.
“It was one for the book,” Riley said. “Great player. Obviously, comes out of a prime program there at Mater Dei in California. Guy we’ve had our eye on for a long time. Recruitment really picked up here at the end. One of those guys that kind of had his choice to go wherever he wanted to go. Huge target for us.”
Davis also is an Under-Armour All-American. He’s from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“He was really key to this whole class,” Riley said. “He was all in, recruited his tail off. Very, very invested. You can see him being the leader of that group. He kind of has that spunk, that charisma, just kind of that ‘it’ factor about him.”
The Sooners added to their offensive riches by signing three five-star offensive players in quarterback Spencer Rattler and receivers Trejan Bridges and Theo Wease.
“This class was special from the beginning,” Riley said. “It started with some great players that decided to jump on early. Like a lot of great classes, this class continued to help us recruit. It’s been a very unselfish class.”
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