Joe Mixon back with Sooners

Freshman running back Joe Mixon, who was suspended from the Oklahoma football program for the 2014 season after he was charged with a misdemeanor for punching a female student, has rejoined the team, Sooners running backs coach Cale Gundy told reporters Wednesday.

"He made a split-second and wrong decision, and he knows that," Gundy said during Oklahoma's signing day news conference. "He is a super, super kid. And I use the term 'kid' because he still is like a kid. He's still very young."

Mixon, who was the gem of Oklahoma's 2014 signing class, entered an Alford plea in his misdemeanor assault case Oct. 30, and agreed to perform 100 hours of community service and undergo counseling. Surveillance video showed Mixon punching the student, who police said suffered several fractures to her face and had to be treated at Norman Regional Hospital.

Mixon was allowed to remain in school but wasn't allowed to participate in any team activities.

"Obviously he was punished, and rightfully so," Gundy said. "There were things he had to do that kept him away from our football team and our locker room and our weight room, and it was hard on him. It was a tough deal, but he did a tremendous job. He did very well in school. He was working out on his own and staying up on that."

Mixon is expected to flank Samaje Perine in the Sooners' backfield next season. Perine, who rushed for more than 1,700 yards and broke the Football Bowl Subdivision record with 427 rushing yards in a game, is the reigning Big 12 offensive freshman of the year.

Mixon, however, was the higher-rated running back coming out of high school last year. He was No. 53 in the ESPN 300; Perine was No. 220.

"He's been like a caged tiger, I can tell you that," Gundy said of Mixon. "Whenever we cut that lock off that cage, my man came out running."