- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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After recruiting them for several months, Oklahoma's coaching staff finally was able to talk publicly about the players the Sooners added to the program on signing day. Over the next week or so, SoonerNation will review some of the key things coaches had to say about the players signed at each position group during their signing day webcast on Soonersports.com.
The Sooners are in dire need of playmakers in the secondary and Fresno (Calif.) Central East safety Hatari Byrd could fit the bill.
At 6-foot-1 and 192 pounds, Byrd has the size and athleticism to become a solid safety for OU. The Sooners coaching staff is hoping Byrd can help lessen the impact of losing leading tackler Tony Jefferson, who decided to enter the NFL draft following his junior season.
"[He's] a big-time player," defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said of Byrd. "He can cover a lot of ground, make things happen in the back end, he has great range. He plays like Tony -- great hitter, great tackler but has more range in his body type than Tony had."
With Big 12 offenses designed to stretch the field as much as possible, the Sooners are excited about the range of Byrd from his safety position, which could help him make plays from sideline to sideline.
“Hatari is a great safety, a big-time DB," head coach Bob Stoops said. "He’s got great size and range. He’s a huge hitter, but a great athlete. He can really run, and again, he’s got a ton of range to him, an excellent skill athlete.”
Byrd will be joined in Norman, Okla,. by his high school teammate L.J. Moore, who could help solidify the cornerback position this fall. Stoops was the only Sooners coach able to talk about Moore, who didn't announce his decision until late on signing day.
“L.J. has great size for a corner and tremendous coverage skills," Stoops said. "He’ll give a boost to our secondary."
2dJake Trotter and Brandon Chatmon