NEW ORLEANS — OU coach Bob Stoops talked optimistically about the future Friday morning. The afterglow from Thursday night’s 45-31 victory over No. 3 Alabama was still apparent. So was the fact that the Sooners had wrapped up an 11-2 season, finished it with back-to-back wins over top six teams — Oklahoma State and Alabama — and that the overwhelming majority of the team will be back next season, including redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Knight.
“There’s more than just him,” Stoops said when asked if Knight’s emergence changes the complexion of the program. “All the players around him. All the players coming back make a big difference.”
However, he elected not to quickly squash the rumor he’s a candidate for the Cleveland Browns. There have been several reports linking him to the job in the last two days and they really increased when OU built its two-touchdown lead Thursday night against the Crimson Tide.
“You never know,” Stoops said Friday morning when I asked him about the rumors.
That’s the stock answer he has given for years when asked about potential job openings. Stoops has six seasons left on his current contract, which pays him slightly less than $5 million per season. But there is no buyout in it. He’s free to leave whenever he wants.
However, Stoops talked glowingly about the future in terms of recruiting and what he has coming back at OU.
Message to recruits: Oakley, Calif., running back Joe Mixon verbally committed to the Sooners during the U.S. Army All-American game Saturday in San Antonio, giving the Sooners a bonafide five-star recruit.
Mixon is Rivals.com’s No. 1 running back in the Class of 2014 and No. 9 player overall. ESPN tabs Mixon as the No. 9 running back in the 2014 class.
Mixon’s announcement alone jumped the Sooners into Rivals.com recruiting rankings for the first time with this class. The Sooners are now at No. 20 with 18 commitments.