To gear up for 2013 national signing day, SoonerNation's Brandon Chatmon is breaking down every commitment in the Sooners' 2013 recruiting class. View the full archive here.
Vitals: Safety Hatari Byrd, Fresno, Calif/Central East | 6-foot-1, 192 pounds
Committed: July 31, 2012
ESPN.com grade: 82. Four-star prospect.
ESPN.com rankings: No. 293 in ESPN300, No. 14 safety, No. 40 in West Region, No. 145 in California
Accolades: Gridiron Kings, The Opening participant, Semper Fidelis All-American
Picked OU over: Notre Dame, UCLA, Washington, California, Ole Miss and others
State of the position: A lot depends on if Tony Jefferson elects to declare early for the NFL draft. If he does, OU could need serious help at safety. Regardless, OU loses Javon Harris and needs to add talented players and increase its depth at safety.
Pros: “Byrd is a fast and physical safety prospect with the athleticism to produce in space. Overall, Byrd is a scheme versatile defender with a lot of physical attributes that make us believe he could step in and play early at the next level while also adding value on special teams.” -- ESPN scouting report
Cons: “He could improve read and reaction skills, but he finds the ball quickly once located. He's reliable in the open field but would benefit from improved balance and wrap.” -- ESPN scouting report
Similar to/potential role: Tony Jefferson. Byrd displays very similar attributes to Jefferson. He’s comfortable around the line of scrimmage, has good instincts, plays physical and can cover a lot of ground as a safety. In OU’s new defensive system, Byrd could be a terrific fit as a safety who makes a lot of plays around the line of scrimmage, much as Jefferson has this season.
Expect an impact in: 2013. It would be a surprise if Byrd doesn’t see the field as a true freshman. His instincts, athleticism and size allow him to play right away even if he doesn’t make a immediate impact on defense. He could help on special teams and provide quality depth if he doesn’t secure himself a role with OU’s defense in 2013.