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December 28, 2012

Stoops: Saunders in, McGee out for Cotton Bowl

A night before his team makes the short trek to Dallas to begin preparation for the 2013 AT&T Cotton Bowl Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops ended the suspense surrounding a pair of Sooners whose eligibility remained in question.

"Stacey McGee will not travel to the game nor participate in any activities related to the game. Jalen Saunders will participate in the game," stated Assistant A.D. of Communications Pete Morris in an official University press release.

McGee, a Muskogee (Okla.) native, was arrested at 1:20 a.m. on Dec. 24 and cited for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) as well as driving with a suspended license.

Making him the third player arrested since the Sooners regular season finale joining Saunders and Arizona transfer Cortez Johnson who were apprehended and charged with marijuana possession in the wee hours of Dec. 2 following the team's return to Norman.

"The information and history in each of the individual matters are unique thus resulting in different participation decisions for the game," continued Morris in the release.

"If other disciplinary measures are taken, they will be handled internally in keeping with existing policy. Athletics department and team personnel will have no further comment."

The news for McGee marks the end of a tumultuous year for the senior defensive tackle who served a six game suspension following what was coined as a 'violation of team rules.' The reason for the suspension at the beginning of the 2012 campaign was never revealed by the OU staff or his teammates. It was widely known McGee's suspension was not just a team suspension, but a university and athletic department suspension.

Following the Sooners victory over Texas Christian that clinched the Sooners a tie for the school's No. 8 Big 12 title SoonerScoop.com's Carey Murdock caught up with McGee who admitted his previous faults would be tough to make up for.

"It was the last game of my college career so I just wanted to go out and have a good game," said McGee who recorded three tackles vs. TCU.

"I don't feel like I made up for (the suspension)," he continued. "There's nothing I can do to get back those six games. I can only do as much as I can do to get back to where I was."

Unfortunately for McGee any progress made during those six weeks following his reinstatement are now all but gone.

Wiped clean from underneath him a second chance that is now gone leaving senior classmates Jamarkus McFarland and Casey Walker left to, once again, pick up the workload.

On the other hand for Landry Jones and Oklahoma's offense the news of Saunders clearance comes as not good but great news.

The Fresno State transfer currently ranks No. 3 on the team with 53 receptions for 766 yards after missing the Sooners first 4 games of the season while awaiting clearance from the NCAA.

Until Friday night's announcement speculation swirled as to if Saunders would actually make the bowl trip following Stoops initial Cotton Bowl press conference in Norman when the Oklahoma head coach said the matter would be handled internally.

Saunders largest contribution in 2012 came in just his third career game for the Sooners as he hauled in a school record eight first quarter receptions vs. Notre Dame en route to tying the school record for receptions in a game (15).

Johnson, a defensive back, is currently sitting out this season under NCAA transfer rules.


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