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OU pro day: Drake Stoops at peace, shows 'football speed'

Bob Przybyloby:Bob Przybylo03/12/24


A lot of OU football fans were stunned and frustrated for Drake Stoops. When Stoops didn’t get the invite to the NFL Draft Combine, it came as a surprise to Sooner Nation.

For Stoops, though? He took it in stride. OK, it would have been nice. But he had the East-West Shrine Bowl to strut his stuff. And he was returning to Norman one more time for OU pro day Tuesday morning. He’d be working in front of all 32 NFL teams.

Stoops was one of 12 former OU players to come back and show NFL scouts what they could do. A long time coming, but Stoops was ready.

“It was good. I was excited to get out here,” Stoops said. “It kinda becomes a waiting game, can only train for so long, as prepared as you’re going to get. I was ready to come out and compete and run some routes at the end.”

Stoops has never been known for his speed, and his 40-yard dash time reflected that. His first was clocked at 4.71 seconds, but he did improve to 4.67 on his second attempt.

What all OU fans know is his ability to find space. Stoops’ ability to change direction and that did shine through in the agility drills.

His 4.25-second shuttle and 7.01-second 3-cone marks put him right in the thick of things with other receivers from the Combine.

“But when you put on the tape or watch me, I have good football speed,” Stoops said. “I show good speed there, which I think matters the most. I felt good about my change of direction, the 3-cone and short shuttle. Felt good about my times there. Getting in and out of my breaks and how that transitions to my route running.”

And of course, for someone like Stoops, pro day feels a little odd. In racking up 84 receptions for 982 yards and 10 touchdowns, it’s usually about Stoops showing that NFL feel. About reading a defense and finding a soft spot or making a competitive grab.

Not exactly what you’ll find at a pro day. But? There are positives.

“When you’re running, you can see things I’m doing at the top of my routes that simulate someone’s in my hip, under my hip, on top of my hip,” Stoops said. “He’s on top of my hit, I’m three-stepping at the top, breaking away from him, creating separation. He wants to undercut me, I take him high on the high corner, stuff like that.

“I’m imagining someone there, and when you cut on the tape, you can see there’s almost an imaginary person there. The way I’m breaking, the way I’m cutting, the way I’m stemming everything shows I’m very aware of what routes can look like what based on how a defender wants to play me.”

It’ll be a waiting game for Stoops from this point on. He has put in the work. Heck, he started as a walk-on for the Sooners, so he’s ready for whatever comes.

Drafted, not drafted, he’s at peace. And left behind an incredible legacy in Norman.

Final word

“There’s so many phases of my life that have been here. In terms of being a player, just the people. All my teammates, all my coaches. That’s what I’ll always remember. Especially the teammates. Just being able to bond. Football’s such a hard spot and it’s year-round and the offseason is grueling. Just being close with your guys, it’s kinda like a fraternity you’ll have for the rest of your life.

“I’ll never forget the memories I made here, especially off the field and in the locker room, all that, especially on the field. The sagas of defeat and all the great triumphs we’ve had like OU Texas, all those crazy memories and all those crazy wins. You share that with your buddies. It’s a bond that can never be broken.” – Stoops on his time at OU

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