The Sooners' westward expansion in their recruiting efforts has been well-documented over the last few years, and it seems they aren't letting up anytime soon. At rough count, Oklahoma currently has 17 outstanding offers to California recruits for the 2013 class, all given at least 4-star grades by ESPN, with several in the vaunted ESPN Top 150.
With such positive results, it is no wonder why the recruiting staff has been increasing their activity on the West Coast. Juniors Tony Jefferson, Kenny Stills and Brennan Clay all made their way to Norman in the 2010 class from sunny SoCal and became known as the "Cali Trio." Jefferson and Stills were instant-impact players as freshman, and Clay looks to be a big contributor this season after battling pesky injuries last year.
After looking through OU's offers so far, we might have another Cali Trio in the works for the 2013 class. L.J. Moore, Johhny Johnson Jr. and Hatari Bryd are all teammates at East Central High School in Fresno, California, and all have OU high on their list.
Moore (No. 23 CB) is the ideal Mike Stoops cornerback. He is an aggressive, punishing tackler, and at 6'1", he has good size to cover taller receivers. He performs well in press and zone coverage, and he even played safety on occasion in high school. Moore is slight of frame at only 190 pounds and will need to bulk up to reach his true potential.
Moore has offers from Cal, UCLA, Washington, Arizona State and Georgia, but he likes what OU has to offer, saying, "They’re definitely up there, in consideration at the high interest level because of the tradition and Coach [Mike] Stoops, how he is with me.”
Johnson (No. 15 CB) is your more typical cornerback, physically. He is smaller than Moore (5'10'', 175 pounds) but is extremely explosive and plays much bigger than he looks. Johnson is a smart player with great instincts at corner, and he never backs down to a bigger receiver—traits Mike Stoops covets in his cover guys.
“They’re a team that’s always on television so I know they have a great winning tradition... I'm definitely interested," Byrd said recently about OU. To win Johnon's services, the Sooners will have to fight through the usual gauntlet of California offers including USC, UCLA, Cal and Stanford, as well as Notre Dame.
Byrd (No. 13 S) displays great pursuit skills from the safety position, making plays all over the field. He is 6'1" and 200 pounds with a great frame to build on, and he is effective in run support and coverage. His toughness, athleticism and versatility could make him a productive nickelback in OU's defensive scheme.
OU will have a tough time fighting off USC, considered Byrd's early favorite, but if his teammates both decide to sign with the Sooners, he could be persuaded to follow suit. He also has offers from UCLA, Cal, Washington, Arizona State and Notre Dame.
Mike Stoops has targeted defensive backs for the 2013 class, saying they need to sign at least five. Snagging commitments from these three tough, talented teammates would suit OU's needs perfectly while giving fans a new Cali Trio to root for.