Fresno Central East DBs put on display

September, 16, 2012
9/16/12
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Oklahoma's bye week allowed Sooners coaches to go out and watch some recruits in action over the weekend.

Some chose to watch top targets like offensive tackles coach Bruce Kittle did with UCLA commit Christian Morris (Memphis, Tenn./East).

Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops decided to go back to familiar territory. Stoops first started recruiting OU safety commit Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Calif./Central East) when Byrd was a sophomore and Stoops was at Arizona. The relationship has only strengthened through the years and it was a big reason Byrd committed to the Sooners in July.

[+] EnlargeHatari Byrd
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comOU defensive coordinator was in California over the weekend to watch four-star safety commit Hatari Byrd.
Stoops was in attendance to watch Byrd and the rest of the Fresno Central East secondary do work in a 42-7 victory against Visalia (Calif.) El Diamante.

“It was great to have coach Stoops in attendance for the game,” Byrd said. “We wanted to put on a show, and we did.”

Byrd is one of three 2013 Fresno Central East defensive backs offered by the Sooners. All three -- Byrd, L.J. Moore and Johnny Johnson Jr. -- are going to take an official visit to OU on Oct. 26. The Sooners host Notre Dame that weekend.

But there’s a strong chance Stoops was there to check out the future, too, as OU has also offered 2014 defensive back Michiah Quick.

Quick didn’t disappoint with seven receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown.

“Athletes take over,” Visalia El Diamante coach Mark Rogers said to The Fresno Bee. “And that’s exactly what happened. They’re the best team we’ve played and that secondary is incredible.”

Not too much was expected from Fresno Central East, but the Grizzlies are now 4-0 and have shown the ability to win close games and also blow the competition out. Fresno Central East limited Visalia El Diamante to 64 passing yards and also had two interceptions.

“We feel like this is our year,” Byrd said. “We have so much talent. We’re so hungry. We just have to keep it going. This season has been exciting, and it’s Boomer Sooner all the way.”

Here’s how the rest of OU commits fared in this weekend’s Recruiting Rewind:

Austin Bennett (Manvel, Texas/Manvel, WR): Bennett bounced back nicely from an off night last week. He had four catches for 65 yards and ran for 30 more in a 42-27 victory against Houston Bellaire.

Matt Beyer (San Antonio/Reagan, OT): Beyer’s first game in his new role as coach didn’t turn out the way he had hoped in a 34-7 loss to Pflugerville, Texas. Beyer announced earlier in the week he is being forced to give up football because of a neck injury. But he is staying with the team and will serve as an unofficial coach.

Matt Dimon (Katy, Texas/Katy, DE): Katy’s last regular season loss came against The Woodlands, and Katy didn’t forget about that. Dimon was a force all night as Katy gave The Woodlands its worst loss in school history with a 63-10 victory. The Woodlands rushed for 25 yards on 17 carries. Katy now has a 31-game regular season winning streak.

Keith Ford (Cypress, Texas/Ranch, RB): Ford couldn’t wait to get back on the field and took out all his aggression on Cypress (Texas) Creek. Ford had 21 rushes for 106 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-42 loss. He was ejected in the second quarter of Cy Ranch’s first game two weeks ago and could do nothing but wait last week on a bye weekend.

Jordan Mastrogiovanni (Dallas/Jesuit, LB): Another dominant performance by Dallas Jesuit in a 57-0 victory against Houston Strake Jesuit. Mastrogiovanni got in on the fun with a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Dalton Rodriguez (Tulsa, Okla./Union, OT/DE): Tulsa Union got back to its winning ways with a 26-21 victory against Broken Arrow, Okla., in a battle of the top two-ranked teams in the state. The Tulsa Union defense forced four turnovers.

“We knew it would be tight. It always is against these guys,” Rodriguez said. “I said last week we weren’t going to lose again. We were able to pull this out. Now we have to keep it going.”

Jordan Smallwood (Jenks, Okla./Jenks, WR): Smallwood did not play for the second week in a row because of a separated shoulder. Jenks earned its first win of the season 20-7 against Owasso, Okla.

Stanvon Taylor (Tulsa, Okla./East Central, ATH): In one of the bigger rivalries in the Tulsa area, Tulsa East Central dominated Tulsa Booker T. Washington with a 27-0 victory. For the second game in a row, Taylor did not find the end zone, but he was a force on defense.

“Doesn’t always have to be on offense,” Taylor said. “This week was more about playing defense and stopping them. That’s what we did. This is a big win.”

Tulsa Booker T. Washington was limited to 104 total yards and the Hornets were only 5-of-21 for 47 yards through the air against Taylor and the rest of the secondary.

Ahmad Thomas (Miami/Central, S): Another major hole to dig out of but this time no big comeback. Miami Central couldn’t overcome a slow start in a 44-34 loss to Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee.

Cody Thomas (Colleyville, Texas/Heritage, QB): Five touchdowns for Colleyville Heritage but this time Thomas was unable to find the end zone in a 35-14 win against Flower Mound, Texas. Thomas was 22-of-36 for 278 yards with an interception.

D.J. Ward (Moore, Okla./Southmoore): Ward tweeted earlier this week he believes he is not going to be ruled eligible to play this season. It is not academic concerns, and Ward is on pace to graduate and wants to enroll early at OU.

Bob Przybylo | email

Reporter, RecruitingNation

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