Transfer SZN: Oklahoma's Top 10 Transfers of the Last 20 Years

Defensive end C.J. Ah You was the right player at the right time for a Sooner defense needing to immediately restock its graduated stars.

The NCAA transfer portal is always open. With 10 transfers over the last two seasons  including five Division I transfers new to the Oklahoma roster in 2021 — OU has made a living off transfers in recent years. Every Tuesday this summer, SI Sooners examines Oklahoma's 10 best transfers of the last 20 years. (Josh Heupel and Torrance Marshall, class of ’99, are outside of that time frame.)

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No. 10: Ah You to OU

Coming off back-to-back appearances in the BCS National Championship game, with names like Dan Cody and Jonathan Jackson off to the NFL, the Sooners were suddenly perilously thin at the position. 

Not just that, but the OU defense had thrived from their contributions: Cody and Jackson each made 42 tackles during the 2004 season, combining for 27 tackles for loss, 18 quarterback sacks and 18 QB hurries.

Oklahoma needed a defensive end who could make an immediate impact.

The Sooners found exactly the player they needed at the same school that brought them arguably the greatest junior college transfer in OU history: Josh Heupel.

Snow Junior College is where Brent Venables found C.J. Ah You.


C.J. Ah You

Ah You was a risk — a big one.

He played in three games as a true freshman at BYU in 2001 before wrecking a knee, then at his first preseason practice in 2002, wrecked the other one. That second one went wrong and required a third procedure. And while rehabbing, he was reportedly involved in a dispute with a teammate and left Provo for a fresh start in Utah at Snow.

He was named Snow’s defensive player of the week four times in 2003 and as the No. 40 juco player in the nation was soon noticed by the OU staff.

The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Ah You showed up in Norman ready to play — mature, hardened by life’s obstacles and grateful for the opportunity.

Ah You quickly became a defender that frightened opposing offenses.

He was named Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year in 2005 and earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 with 45 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and seven sacks. He also caused three fumbles, recovered one and batted two passes — both of which became OU interceptions.

He finished his first season at OU by being named Defensive MVP of the Holiday Bowl following a six-tackle, two-sack performance.

In 2006, Ah You made 41 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and four sacks, with three passes broken up and seven QB hurries.

Big 12 coaches honored Ah You with first-team All-Big 12 accolades.

"C.J., was a big, physical presence for us off the edge," Bob Stoops said in 2007. "He was able to get a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and he was able to do so without losing his containment responsibilities. He was a smart player that was able to overwhelm a lot of offensive tackles with his strength. He has a good build from head to toe and is able to generate a lot of drive."

Ah You was a seventh-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in the 2007 NFL Draft and after being released before the regular season, he signed with the St. Louis Rams practice squad.

He got into his first NFL game with the Rams in 2009 before another knee injury, then played in all 16 games in 2010, and nine games in 2011. In three NFL seasons, Ah You played in 33 games, made 41 tackles and six sacks.

He was hired by Stoops at Oklahoma as special teams quality control coach in 2015, and he joined Derek Mason’s staff at Vanderbilt for three seasons as defensive line coach. Ah You coached in the XFL in 2019 and 2020, and in March, he was hired by Clay Helton at USC as defensive quality control analyst.

Ah You — of Samoan, Chinese and German descent — was one of the most popular players on the team during his two seasons in Norman, as he and his large family often held celebrations in Norman for the whole Sooner squad.

"His family got close to our entire program and we were able to develop a special relationship with them in a short period of time," Stoops said.

Ah You’s uncle, Junior Ah You, was an All-American defensive end at Arizona State and became a star in the USFL and CFL, where he was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Now 38, Ah You and his wife have four daughters.