- Billy Tucker, Scouts, Football Recruiting
The Sooners lost a big one offensively in ESPN 150 running back Greg Bryant (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage) but got a boost defensively with the pickup of ESPN 300 prospect Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Calif./Central East), a complete safety prospect at a position of major need.
Oklahoma stretched into California to land Byrd who has a physical style that defensive coordinator Mike Stoops likes in his defensive backs.
Byrd brings very good size, range and aggressiveness to the safety position; he can make plays in all three levels of the defense. He is a fast pursuer who will close on the ball in a hurry and clean up on the underneath pass limiting RAC. More of a zone guy but he is athletic and quick enough to match up in space and utilize his length to press and reroute smaller slots.
Also a strong run supporter and stout box defender, Byrd's physical and versatile skill-set and overall hybrid type qualities likely attracted Stoops to Fresno. Oklahoma's new defensive coordinator and secondary coach likes to utilize his safeties in run support and also employ them in sub package 4-2-5 schemes as the Nickel back. Byrd has those qualities. His scheme versatility and major need for young talent in the secondary make it very likely this young man will compete for early playing time upon his arrival in Norman.