The biggest blow to the Sooner defense due to graduation is at safety, where OU will have to replace three-year starter and consensus All-American Quinton Carter and two-year starter Jonathan Nelson.
Stoops has suggested Tony Jefferson and Joe Iblioye will remain in the nickelback role, and the way Javon Harris was used and performed last season suggests he'll fill one of the starting safety spots. That leaves the other starting safety spot wide open. Sam Proctor, who started there in 2009 before losing his job to Nelson, figures to be the favorite. Others like Kevin Brent and Lamar Harris will also be given a shot, but keep an eye out for Haynes and Wilson, who athletically are versatile enough to play any of the secondary positions.
JUSTIN MCCAY, WIDE RECEIVER
With the instant success of the other freshmen, it's easy to forget that McCay was the No. 1 prospect in OU's class, according to Rivals. Problem was, for all his athleticism, McCay stepped on campus raw as a receiver, converse to the more polished Kenny Stills and Trey Franks.
With the healthy return of Dejuan Miller and summer arrival of 5-star signee Trey Metoyer, playing time will be difficult to come by at receiver. But for now, McCay's combination of size and speed could and should be utilized on the coverage units.
ADAM SHEAD, TYRUS THOMPSON AND DARYL WILLIAMS, OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
The Sooners technically return four starters on the offensive line. But in truth, after center Ben Habern and left guard Gabe Ikard, the other three spots are up for grabs.
Tackles Donald Stephenson and Jarvis Jones and guard Tyler Evans figure to fill out the starting lineup. But they'll be pressed by the promising trio of Shead, Thompson and Williams, whom Stoops repeatedly singled out for standing out in closed practices.
All three could vie for starting roles; at worst, they'll be factors in the two-deep rotation up front.