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Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Hatari Byrd stands out at Semper Fi Day 2

By Erik McKinney and Brandon P. Oliver

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- After a sloppy effort on Day 1, the second day of practice for the 2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl left the West team feeling much better about itself. The West team had a number of candidates for player of the day as Washington DL commits Daeshon Hall (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster), and Elijah Qualls (Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande), Oregon commits Darren Carrington Jr. (San Diego/Horizon) and Tyrell Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln), LSU commit Christian LaCouture (Lincoln, Neb./Southwest) and Texas A&M LB commit Reggie Chevis (Houston/Sharpstown) were among the top performers on the day.

No one was more impressive, though, than ESPN 300 S Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Calif./Central East), who wowed onlookers with his overall play. The Oklahoma commit is physical and let the West offense know it with a number of big hits. Byrd can get downhill to help stop the run and also makes big plays in pass defense.

He was at his best when he introduced himself to Utah WR commit X'avier Shepard (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood) and CB Tere Calloway (Seattle/Seattle Prep) by producing the biggest hits of the day.

"If the big hits come, then that's something that people can talk about. As long as people are talking about me, it means I got the job done," Byrd said. "I just play my game every time out. I don't focus on big hits, but when you're in the right place, the pads are gonna pop."

Off the field, though, Byrd has been pretty quiet about his recruitment after committing to Oklahoma in July. According to the 6-foot-1, 195-pound safety, there has been for good reason.

"I'm ready to move on and begin my career as a Sooner, really," Byrd said. "Between the coaches, the players and the overall environment, I can't think of anywhere else I'd even want consider. I love everything about Oklahoma and can't wait to get out there."

Byrd's performances since summer 7-on-7 tournaments and through his senior season have solidified his spot among the nation's elite players. He has shined at all-star events in the past, but he has never experienced an event like Semper Fi before.

"This week has been a great experience so far. There is a lot of talent out here," Byrd said. "It's good to be able to compete with a lot of the top players in the country."

Read the full Semper Fi notebook for more from Day 2.