A look at the players who will shape OU's outlook in 2014:
So long: The Sooners must part with some of the major cogs from not only this season, but the past several successful clubs. Seniors Max White and Jack Mayfield played on teams that totaled 176 wins over four years. White tied Keith Drumright's record for career games played (239). Jonathan Gray, Dillon Overton and Jake Fisher — OU's weekend rotation — must be replaced, with Gray and Overton sure to sign MLB deals and Fisher a senior. Gray was one of the nation's dominant pitchers in 2013. OU also loses seniors in third baseman Garrett Carey and backup infielder Dusty Dishman.
Counting on: Three freshmen — outfielder Craig Aikin, catcher Anthony Hermelyn and pitcher Jacob Evans — played major roles and will return to form the core of next year's club. Kolbey Carpenter, another freshman, should be ready to more after getting time at designated hitter. Pitcher Ralph Garza Jr. and outfielder Hunter Haley are also poised for possible breakouts.
Draft decisions: First baseman Matt Oberste, the team's best hitter, appears all but gone after being taken by his boyhood favorite team, the Mets. Billy Waltrip, a left-handed pitcher, could projects as a key piece of the pitching plans, but was picked in the 12th round by the Rockies. Among signees, Leedey's Drew Ward, Jenks' Trey Michalczewski and Californians Chris Kohler and Jacob Nottingham were picked high enough that they could be tempted to sign.
Impact arrivals: Infielder Austin O'Brien of Owasso, the state Gatorade Player of the Year, signed with the Sooners recently and could provide a needed power bat to the lineup. Niko Buentello, a shortstop from Lewisville, Texas, is a big infielder with pop. Pitchers Jake Elliott, Octavio Rodriguez and Alec Hansen could jump into the mix to fill holes in the rotation. And if Ward, Michalczewski, Kohler or Nottingham opts for college, over pro ball, they'll be major additions as well.