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OU football: Lincoln Riley says Sooners balancing National Signing Day, Big 12 title game

OU coach Lincoln Riley reacts during a 27-14 win over Baylor on Dec. 5 in Norman. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]
OU coach Lincoln Riley reacts during a 27-14 win over Baylor on Dec. 5 in Norman. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

Riley: Sooners have been preparing for signing day, title game duo

NORMAN — The advent of the early signing period for football a few years ago moved signing day into the season, though usually it’s early in the bowl prep period for OU.

But with the calendar compressed and pushed backwards this season, signing day falls a few days before conference title games, including Saturday’s between the Sooners and Iowa State, are played.

OU coach Lincoln Riley said he and his staff have prepared for the possibility.

“So much of it’s already done,” Riley said of the work leading up to Wednesday’s signing day. “And we’ve got such an outstanding recruiting team that I think we’ll be able to have a great signing day, give that the attention it obviously deserves and needs but also, I don’t think that’ll disrupt our prep in any way.”

Campbell: Improvement goes way beyond additions of Perkins, Stevenson

Though both teams have changed since the Sooners and Cyclones played Oct. 3, a 37-30 Iowa State win, OU’s change has been more dramatic.

The Sooners added defensive end Ronnie Perkins and running back Rhamondre Stevenson, who came back from suspension not long after that loss, and both have made big impacts.

Perkins has 18 tackles, eight for loss, four sacks and six quarterback hurries while Stevenson has 383 rushing yards and six touchdowns and 175 receiving yards on 14 catches in just four games.

Iowa State coach Matt Campbell called the two players “outstanding” Monday but said the Sooners’ improvement since losing in Ames went far beyond simply adding those two.

“Knowing when we played Oklahoma that it was a very talented, very young team that was continuing to get better,” Campbell said. “And I think that’s the thing that you really see through the video tape from Game 1 to obviously where they are today. And then obviously getting two really talented players back is a positive, but I think the most impressive piece is the growth of the young players in their program.”

‘The Foundry’ seeks to give Sooners a jump on NIL rules

With the expected passage of NCAA legislation that gives players control over their name, image and likeness, OU announced a program Monday seeking to help athletes develop their brand.

“The Foundry” is a step-by-step approach helping athletes expand into areas including “personal brand growth, entrepreneurship, finance and tax management and much more,” a release from the school said.

“Educating and preparing our student-athletes so they can maximize their NIL value is important to us, like it is to every school, but it can’t be ‘one size fits all,’” Sooners athletic director Joe Castiglione said in the release. “We are gaining greater understanding of this new era as it continues to evolve. However, we want to set our program apart by understanding our students’ success begins at the core of self-awareness, meaning a better understanding of one’s own talents and gifts as well as the ways to properly accentuate them.”

The NCAA is expected to pass its legislation overhauling athletes’ NIL rights in January. That legislation would go into effect before next football season.

With Florida’s state NIL law taking effect in July, the NCAA must pass new rules soon or NCAA athletes in that state will be covered by different rules.

Congress is also working on legislation that would preempt state laws, with Sports Illustrated recently reporting Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, would introduce a bill once the new congress convenes in January.

Ryan Aber, Staff writer

Ryan Aber

Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The... Read more ›