Sooners' top 10 hidden gems: No. 9

The spring evaluation period is upon us.

Oklahoma has made a living out of evaluating and developing well, helping the Sooners go 51-15 during their past five seasons, including four straight seasons with double-digit wins. During Bob Stoops' tenure, the Sooners have been able to consistently compete for championships thanks in part to their ability to land hidden gems such as Aaron Colvin and Dominique Alexander. Over the next two weeks we’ll count down the Top 10 hidden gems of the past five years at Oklahoma. Today we look at No. 9.

No. 9 Demontre Hurst, cornerback, Class of 2009

Recruiting rank: 75 (out of 100) ESPN.com scout rating, No. 58 cornerback, No. 256 in the Midlands region

What we said: “Hurst is a well-rounded cornerback prospect with good skills as a both a run and pass supporter. He possesses adequate size with his taller, rangy frame, but lacks great bulk to match up vs. today's bigger college receivers. Good defensive back prospect in the right system.” — ESPN.com recruiting analyst

Other reported offers: Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Michigan, Miami (Fla.), Wisconsin

Career production: He started 40 of 53 career games, finishing with 178 tackles, 33 pass breakups and two interceptions in his career. ... In 2012, he had a career-high 59 tackles while starting all 13 games as a senior. ... In 2011, Hurst had 55 tackles and a career-high two fumble recoveries as a junior. … In 2010, he had 50 tackles and a career-high three forced fumbles in 14 games. ... In 2009, Hurst played his way out of a redshirt season to record 14 tackles and one sack in spot duty.

Why Hurst is No. 9: Hurst was exceptionally productive and durable, starting every game during his final three years after seeing limited action as a freshman. He wasn’t the biggest or most physical corner on the roster, nor did he make game-changing interceptions. But Hurst was incredibly consistent and the coaches could count on him to show up, play hard and do his job every Saturday, an underrated trait in college football. His competitive nature consistently showed against some of the best receivers that college football had to offer during his Sooners’ career.

Gabe Lynn stepped on campus has the highly regarded defensive back in OU’s 2009 class, but Hurst immediately separated himself as a impact freshman, then locked down a spot in the secondary for three seasons. The Sooners signed six ESPN 300 prospects in that class, but none were as durable and productive as Hurst.

The rest of the list:

No. 10: Guard Tyler Evans