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Social Media Plays A Big Part In Oklahoma Recruiting Success

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

The world we live in is ever-changing and fast-moving.

The great philosopher Ferris Bueller once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it."

The Oklahoma coaching staff feels the exact opposite about recruiting. If you stop at all in the wild, woolly world that is college football recruiting, you'll be left in the dust.

"You better not be stagnant," said Cale Gundy, OU running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. "If you're stagnant, you're behind. You have to adapt. There's no way around it."

Gundy and the rest of the OU coaching staff finished off a terrific recruiting class on National Signing Day on Wednesday, earning top-15 marks from all the recruiting services. After the past few classes failed to raise any eyebrows across the country—or the state for that matter—the Sooners closed strong on Wednesday, picking up four commitments on Tuesday and Wednesday to finish with its best class in years.

Related Story: Oklahoma Football Signing Day Recap

There are several reasons for the improvement in the recruiting class, from the Sooners' Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama to the staff shake-up last season that brought in three new assistants and a plethora of other support personnel.

"This is the strongest staff we've had in a while," defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "These guys have done a great job. Everybody comes together. Everybody just helps one another and that's been key to our success here in the last month. Just in the last year, we've changed the whole vibe of Oklahoma football and it's cool again and that's positive and that's what we want."

However, many of the coaches who spoke on Wednesday pointed to their newfound commitment to social media as a big reason why they were able to develop more and better relationships in this year's class.

"I think for the most part, we've really adapted well to Twitter and Facebook," Gundy said. "We've all really jumped in and are going full speed ahead with social media. You have to do it; it's how you communicate."

Even though the last few recruiting classes have been found lacking by most, OU coach Bob Stoops said he doesn't think the Sooners are trying to make up lost ground, particularly in the realm of social media.

"It's still connecting with players," Stoops said. "We are able to connect more and quicker and in their junior years, faster. We have done a better job maybe connecting younger and then building on that overall."

With social media available to everyone, the coaches don't even have to do all the recruiting anymore. Plenty of Sooner commits, particularly running back Joe Mixon, consistently urged players OU was recruiting to come to Norman and help win a national championship. Simply put, there are just more ways for players to connect with each other today than there were even a decade ago.

"There's so much more with the all-star games," Stoops said. "I think they are familiar with each other so there is more of that happening. I believe that players on your team also that may be from the same school or maybe they have a connection with always makes appositive difference, too."

Related Story: Stoops Confirms Bell To Play Tight End Next Season

Change for the sake of change is not wise, but when it's for the better, it makes you look like a genius. The Sooners have always been smart with evaluating changes on the field, wide receivers coach Jay Norvell said, but the changes they've made off the field, especially in the area of social media in recruiting, are paying huge dividends.

"Social media is changing the world and it's certainly changing the world of recruiting," Norvell said. "You're seeing the affect that it's had on kids. It's almost like something out of control at times but you have to be aware of it. It's a tool like anything else and it's got to be used the right way."

Based on the haul the Sooners brought in on Wednesday, it looks like the OU coaching staff is using that tool perfectly.

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