Oklahoma Sooners: Kasseim Everett

Loss impact: Cornerback Jamell Fleming 

February, 20, 2012
“Loss Impact” analyzes each outgoing starter or rotation player to assess how much his departure will impact Oklahoma next season.

Over the last two seasons, no player made a bigger overall impact on the OU defense than Jamell Fleming. His combination of size and speed allowed him to matchup with the big-play wide receivers of the Big 12. Fleming was also a superb tackler against the run for a boundary cornerback.

[+] EnlargeJamell Fleming
Mark J. Rebilas/US PresswireJamell Fleming was one of the bright spots on Oklahoma's defense in 2011.
What Oklahoma loses: The game against Texas Tech says it all. The OU defensive backfield basically collapsed without Fleming in the lineup. Seth Doege was hammered the boundary side of the field and finished with 441 yards passing and four touchdowns in the Red Raiders’ 41-38 victory. When Fleming was on the field, the boundary side was rarely a worry for the Sooners. OU was blown out by Oklahoma State, but Fleming did a relatively decent job limiting Justin Blackmon, who was held to under 100 yards receiving. Then in the Insight Bowl, Fleming shut down Big Ten Receiver of the Year, Marvin McNutt, who had just four catches for 46 yards.

Spring position preview: Cornerback 

February, 20, 2012
Good cornerback play can make or break a defense. That’s why new defensive coordinator Mike Stoops made signing Gary Simon and Zack Sanchez the No. 1 priority after Kevin Peterson and De’Vante Harris de-committed.

“I think you have to have lockdown corners,” Stoops said. “There’s a premium on those players and we feel like we were able to land a couple of those guys.”

[+] EnlargeDemontre Hurst
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireCornerback Demontre Hurst returns for the Sooners in 2012.
When the Sooners had good cornerback play last season, they were tough defensively. When they didn’t, well, you remember what happened against Texas Tech.

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Oklahoma early enrollees given numbers

February, 19, 2012
The 2012 football roster has been updated on SoonerSports.com with the Sooners' early enrollees. Here are the numbers they've been given for spring practice:

Kass Everett: No. 16
Trey Metoyer: No. 17
Chaz Nelson: No. 37
Brannon Green: No. 82
Taylor McNamara: No. 88
Jordan Wade: No. 93
Under Bob Stoops, the Sooners have relied on junior-college players from time to time.

Nothing, however, like this.

Seeking immediate impact at various positions, OU added a Stoops-high six juco players to this year’s signing class in wideout Courtney Gardner (Reno, Nev./Sierra College), defensive end Chaz Nelson (Columbus, Ohio/Garden City CC), cornerback Kasseim Everett (Philadelphia/Pierce College), offensive tackle Will Latu (St. Petersburg, Fla./College of the Canyons), tight end Brannon Green (Altamont, Kan./Fort Scott CC) and running back Damien Williams (San Diego/Arizona Western College).

“I felt we had more immediate needs this year than maybe at some other times,” Stoops said. “I feel these guys all really fit what we need and are special players.”

Which ones could compete for starting jobs next season?

(Read full post)

Secondary help was a priority for Oklahoma as national signing day approached. The Sooners secondary was torched by pass-heavy offenses from Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas Tech.

De-commitments from De'Vante Harris (Mesquite, Texas/Horn) and Kevin Peterson (Wagoner, Okla./Wagoner) didn’t help the cause, but OU finished strong with the signing of Gary Simon (St. Petersburg/Gibbs) and Zack Sanchez (Keller, Texas/Central) in addition to having junior college cornerback Kass Everett already on campus.

Even though it came together late, new defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Mike Stoops likes the group.

“I think you have to have lockdown corners,” Stoops said. “There’s a premium on those players and we feel like we were able to land a couple of those guys.”

Everett is a player who could step in immediately, replacing All-Big 12 performer Jamell Fleming, opposite returning starter Demontre Hurst.

“He’s a confident player,” Stoops said. “He’s a very intelligent player. He understands the concepts very well from talking with him, as well. I’m impressed with his knowledge.”

Simon and Sanchez are cornerbacks with good size, who Stoops said could end up playing some safety as well because of the transformation of the position from run-supporting safeties to coverage safeties.

“Those [run supporting safeties] are hard to play with any more just because the field is so spread out,” Stoops said. “You almost need corners that can play some safety.”

Simon could be one of the most overlooked gems in this year’s class with his size -- 6-foot-1, 180 pounds -- coverage ability and willingness to hit.

“Gary Simon’s one of the premier cover guys I’ve seen,” Stoops said. “He has a unique blend of size, speed and athletic ability that you don’t see in a big guy. So he gives us a lot of flexibility.”

Sanchez is fairly raw as a cornerback but he intrigued the Sooners coaching staff with his overall ability.

“When you look at his athletic ability and what he’s able to do as a receiver, as a DB, just his toughness as a player is something that really gravitated to me,” Stoops said. “I just thought we hit it off, and I can just tell he’s a very ornery player and likes to compete at a very high level.”

Roundtable: Best defensive recruit 

February, 3, 2012
Which Oklahoma defensive signee in the class of 2012 will have the best career?

DE Chaz Nelson (Garden City, Kan./Garden City CC)
OU insiders say that before he left Brent Venables raved about Nelson’s potential to impact the Sooners’ defensive line immediately. The Sooners are remarkably light on defensive prospects in this class, but playing alongside R.J. Washington and David King, Nelson could be a major factor for the defense next season.
- Jake Trotter

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Sooners lose key in-state recruit 

January, 23, 2012
Cornerback Kevin Peterson (Wagoner, Okla./Wagoner) never intended to decommit from Oklahoma. But the Sooners program he committed to Dec. 18 was not the Sooners program he would have been going to in the fall.

Peterson decommitted from OU Monday night and has committed to Oklahoma State .

In the month since his commitment OU, a lot of changes have happened with the Sooners coaching staff with former defensive backs coach Willie Martinez leaving the program and former defensive coordinator Brent Venables taking the same position at Clemson. It made Peterson rethink things.

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Przybylo's Mailbag: David Smith is ready 

January, 18, 2012
As we get closer and closer to National Signing Day, we'll be doing two recruiting mailbags per week. Bob Przybylo answers all your recruiting questions. Have a question? Send it to his mailbag at bprzybyloespn@gmail.com.

Sam in Chicago asks: I like the pickup of David Smith. What is the best thing about OU getting a kid like this?

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Three thoughts this morning:

1. Oklahoma defensive recruiting class in 2012 isn’t all that strong to begin with, and the murky situation with Brent Venables is not doing the team any favors with two weeks left until National Signing Day. Junior college signees cornerback Kass Everett (Philadelphia/Pierce College) and defensive end Chaz Nelson (Columbus, Ohio/Garden City CC) don’t have a choice but to accept what happens. However, this is a horrible time to be possibly making such a huge move like this. Venables is a fantastic recruiter and has really hit the road hard, maybe even harder than usual in last month. He has been all over prospective linebackers and defensive backs. OU needs help at both spots, but right now a legitimate question by any high school recruit is what OU coach am I supposed to be talking to?

2. OU’s best defensive recruit was four-star cornerback De’Vante Harris (Mesquite, Texas/Horn) until he de-committed last week. It didn’t take Harris long to find his new home, committing to his father’s alma mater, Texas A&M on Monday night. Harris obviously didn’t follow former OU defensive backs coach Willie Martinez to his next school so it’s safe to say that though a coaching change wasn’t the best news, there is no way that was the sole reason for Harris looking elsewhere. Harris still won’t talk about why he de-committed.

3. I’m wondering how the OU men’s basketball team is going to perform as a favorite Tuesday against Texas Tech. In three of the Sooners’ first four conference games, they were the overwhelming underdog. In the other game, everyone knew it would be tough to win at Oklahoma State. That won’t be the case for OU (11-5, 1-3 Big 12) in this one. Coming off a big win against Kansas State, will there be an emotional hangover against the Red Raiders? And since Tuesday is the first day of the spring semester, I'm intrigued to see if the students come out to cheer for Lon Kruger and the Sooners.

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Stoops, Players Want To Effect Change
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops sits down with Gene Wojciechowski to discuss his team's stand against racism.