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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Four-star CB Moore salvages OU's day

By Bob Przybylo

Four-star cornerback L.J. Moore (Fresno, Calif./Central East) was never the No. 1 target on Oklahoma’s board. And he was never the No. 1 favorite among Sooners fans.

But a little after 5 p.m. CT, Moore saved the Sooners day by signing with OU.

L.J. Moore
The Sooners picked up their fifth defensive back of the 2013 class when L.J. Moore signed.
Moore, who is 6-foot and 164 pounds, is ranked No. 29 at cornerback and chose OU over Arizona State and Oregon State.

The Sooners came into the day looking at four signing day decisions -- two at offensive tackle and two at cornerback. By 10 a.m., however, it became clear that OU had struck out with its other three top targets, leaving only Moore.

OU, of course, had an ace in the hole with Moore in the form of ESPN 300 safety and teammate Hatari Byrd. As soon as he could, Byrd faxed his national letter of intent to OU. Byrd committed to OU in July and never stopped recruiting Moore.

Moore made an official visit to OU in January and that put the Sooners squarely in the mix after having made up major ground on the Beavers and Sun Devils.

He became almost a necessity after the morning’s events. ESPN 300 athlete Adrian Baker (Hollywood, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna) didn’t pull a last-minute switch and signed with Clemson as expected.

OU was hoping for one offensive tackle but failed in landing the two Georgia targets, three-star prospect George Adeosun (Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta) and four-star lineman Josh Outlaw (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King).

Adeosun ended up signing with Virginia instead of OU, Georgia and Arizona State. Outlaw, in another big shock, elected to sign with Texas Tech instead of OU, Missouri and TCU.

Neither Outlaw nor Adeosun were considered sure things for OU although there was a lot of hope Outlaw would don the crimson and cream.

In the days leading up to signing day, however, it became more apparent the Sooners were going to be the choice for Moore. When Moore announced he was going to be a Sooner, there was a sigh of relief among OU fans.

Finally. Finally OU had gotten a four-star target in a recruiting battle where the Sooners didn’t already have a decided advantage.

Moore gives OU a 2013 class of 24 signees for now. The Sooners are still heavily pursuing ESPN JC 100 defensive tackle Toby Johnson (Hutchinson, Kan./Hutchinson CC). Johnson is expected to choose between the Sooners, Mississippi State and Auburn next week.

OU entered the day with 23 commits and there was no drama. The five early enrollees were already set. And from 7:28 a.m. to 11:21 a.m.CT, the other 18 letters of intent arrived with no issues.

Three-star defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Houston/Alief Taylor) was the first letter to arrive in Norman, while cornerback Dakota Austin (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) was the final one.

Any speculation about three-star linebacker Dominique Alexander (Tulsa, Okla./Booker T. Washington) was wiped away as he didn’t wait until his 3 p.m. ceremony to fax his letter of intent.

Alexander made visits to Kansas State and Arkansas in the last month and there were rumors of a trip to Nebraska last weekend. He said all along he was 100 percent with OU. He proved it Wednesday.

OU wasn’t attempting to flip any commitments at the last minute so no surprises there.

Not landing a late offensive tackle is a setback for OU. The Sooners are set with juco ESPN JC 100 tackle Josiah St. John and three-star prospect Christian Daimler (Houston/Stratford). OU also added three-star juco guard Dionte Savage on Monday but was hoping to land a third offensive tackle.

The Sooners were able to get their five defensive backs by adding Moore and Austin in the last four days. OU defensive backs coach Mike Stoops said he was aiming for five defensive backs. Better late than never on that end.

Signing day was a lot like OU’s 2013 class as a whole. Up-and-down with some disappointments and with a nice pickup to close the day.

It’s not even Feb. 7 yet, but yes, it’s time to turn the page to 2014 recruits. OU has landed two commits for that class already and has been more proactive with offers than for 2013. Will it pay off? We’re all going to find out.