Eight redshirt freshmen who could make an impact in 2011
OU beat writer Jake Trotter looks at eight redshirt freshmen that could be big contributors for the Sooners next season.
NORMAN — Last week, ESPN's Bruce Feldman ranked his top 10 redshirt freshmen primed to do big things in 2011.
Hitting the board at No. 5 on Feldman's list was Oklahoma defensive end Geneo Grissom. The Hutchinson, Kan., native “has the looks of a future starter,” Feldman writes “and he might've played last season had he not sustained a broken foot.”
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By the end of last season, Bob Stoops was calling his 2010 freshman class the best he'd ever recruited. And not just exclusively because of the 13 who made immediate impacts; also because of freshmen like Grissom who redshirted last season due to injury, depth or a need to develop physically.
This spring, at least eight of these players — and maybe more — will be worth watching. Eight players who seem primed to impact the 2011 season:
GENEO GRISSOM, DEFENSIVE END
Had he not suffered a hairline fracture in his foot in the preseason, Grissom would have almost certainly factored into the rotation at end despite OU's strong depth there.
“We were going to play him, too,” Stoops said after the injury. “That's the quality of player we think he is.”
Ronnell Lewis and Frank Alexander are the favorites to start next season at end. But don't be shocked if Grissom makes a strong push to be in the starting lineup, as well.
TORREA PETERSON, DEFENSIVE TACKLE
If there was any position OU needed help last season, it was defensive tackle, where the Sooners were ravaged by injuries. Unfortunately for Peterson, he too was injured, missing the first half of the season with a knee injury that forced him to redshirt. Had he not been injured, like Grissom, Peterson probably would have ultimately contributed.
Casey Walker and Daniel Noble, who both missed several games because of injury, are back at tackle, and the Sooners signed a pair of intriguing prospects in Marquis Anderson and Jordan Phillips who have the potential to play right away. The competition at tackle will be fierce. But before he got hurt, Peterson showed lots of promise and is capable of working his way into the two-deep before the opener.
JAMES HAYNES AND JULIAN WILSON, DEFENSIVE BACKS