Oklahoma football: A position-by-position look at the 2013 Sooners

As college football fast approaches — Big 12 football media days are less than a month away — here is a look at next year's Oklahoma squad, position-by-position.
by Jason Kersey Modified: June 30, 2013 at 1:00 pm •  Published: June 30, 2013
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Grade: C. Oklahoma expects more from this group in 2013.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

Who's gone: Tyler Evans (tore ACL in spring, likely ending career), Lane Johnson (eligibility expired)

Who's back: Ty Darlington (6-3, 282, So.), Derek Farniok (6-9, 324, So.), Gabe Ikard (6-3, 298, Sr.), Bronson Irwin (6-5, 310, Sr.), Nila Kasitati (6-4, 309, So.), Kyle Marrs (6-5, 300, RFr.), Adam Shead (6-4, 311, Jr.), Tyrus Thompson (6-5, 316, Jr.), Daryl Williams (6-6, 315, Jr.)

Who's new: Christian Daimler (6-6, 270, Fr.), Josiah St. John (6-6, 305, Jr.), Dionte Savage (6-5, 345, Jr.), Tony Feo (6-4, 275, Jr.)

Analysis: Oklahoma's offensive line played admirably last season considering its ongoing injury problems. With new position coach Bill Bedenbaugh, toughness and constant improvement will be paramount. The unit returns experienced leaders like Ikard, Irwin, Shead, Thompson and Williams, plus promising young guys like Darlington and Kasitati, who returns from a torn ACL. One player who needs major improvement to provide important depth is Farniok, a big, strong guy whose talent has yet to materialize.

Unit MVP: Ikard

Grade: B. If the experienced guys can stay healthy and the young guys grow up fast, Oklahoma's offensive line could become one of the strongest units on the team.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Who's gone: David King (eligibility expired), Jamarkus McFarland (eligibility expired), Stacy McGee (eligibility expired), Casey Walker (eligibility expired), R.J. Washington (eligibility expired)

Who's back: Rashod Favors (6-1, 262, Jr.), Geneo Grissom (6-4, 254, Jr.), P.L. Lindley (6-2, 249, So.), Chuka Ndulue (6-3, 262, Jr.), Chaz Nelson (6-2, 244, Sr.), Michael Onuoha (6-5, 235, So.), Charles Tapper (6-4, 253, So.), Torrea Peterson (6-3, 280, Jr.), Jordan Phillips (6-6, 324, So.), Jordan Wade (6-4, 306, RFr.)

Who's new: Matt Dimon (6-2, 252, Fr.), Kerrick Huggins (6-3, 289, Fr.), Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (6-3, 220, Fr.), Quincy Russell (6-4, 315, Jr.), Matthew Romar (6-3, 268, Fr.), Charles Walker (6-3, 280, Fr.), D.J. Ward (6-2, 245, Fr.)

Analysis: Oklahoma's defensive line was its weakest unit last season. Most of those players are gone, but lots of questions remain about the guys who will replace them. The Sooners were dangerously thin at defensive tackle in the spring, causing coaches to move Chuka Ndulue and Rashod Favors to tackle. Phillips will probably be one of the most important players on the whole team. He's got a high ceiling, and will need to begin reaching his full potential soon.

Unit MVP: Ndulue

Grade: C-. This unit has lots to prove.

LINEBACKERS

Who's gone: Jaydan Bird (eligibility expired), Daniel Franklin (eligibility expired), Joseph Ibiloye (eligibility expired), Tom Wort (entered NFL Draft)

Who's back: Corey Nelson (6-1, 215. Sr.), Frank Shannon (6-1, 230, So.), Eric Striker (6-0, 198, So.)

Who's new: Dominique Alexander (6-2, 195, Fr.), Jordan Evans (6-3, 210, Fr.)

Analysis: Like tight ends, OU linebackers became pretty obsolete by season's end. Nelson and Shannon each showed flashes of their potential last year, but weren't allowed on the field much in Mike Stoops' experimental defensive schemes. Stoops admitted doing the group “an injustice” last year, and vowed it would return to its rightful, prominent place in the defense.

Unit MVP: Nelson

Grade: C+. With their confidence back, OU's linebackers — especially Nelson — might be in for a strong rebound season.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Who's gone: Javon Harris (eligibility expired), Lamar Harris (eligibility expired), Demontre Hurst (eligibility expired), Tony Jefferson (entered NFL Draft), Jesse Paulsen (eligibility expired)

Who's back: Daniel Brooks (5-8, 172, RFr.), Aaron Colvin (6-0, 181, Sr.), Kass Everett (5-10, 180, Sr.), Trey Franks (5-10, 184, Jr.), Quentin Hayes (6-0, 181, Jr.), Cortez Johnson (6-2, 198, So.), Gabe Lynn (6-0, 199, Sr.), Zack Sanchez (5-11, 170, RFr.), Julian Wilson (6-2, 191, Jr.)

Who's new: Dakota Austin (5-11, 167, Fr.), Hatari Byrd (6-1, 195, Fr.), L.J. Moore (6-1, 175, Fr.), Stanvon Taylor (5-11, 175, Fr.), Ahmad Thomas (6-1, 205, Fr.)

Analysis: Colvin has All-America potential. Lynn has struggled some at cornerback and nickelback in the past; he move to free safety in the spring. Johnson sat out last year after transferring from Arizona, but left spring ball as a starting corner opposite Colvin.

Unit MVP: Colvin

Grade: C+. Newcomers in this unit appear to have the best chance at early playing time in 2013.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Who's gone: Tress Way (eligibility expired)

Who's back: Michael Hunnicutt (6-1, 169, Jr.)

Who's new: Jed Barnett (6-2, 215, Jr.)

Analysis: Barnett wasn't great in the spring game, but Bob Stoops swears by his powerful leg. Hunnicutt has made 36 of 43 career field goals. New special teams coordinator Jay Boulware raved about his return men — especially Jalen Saunders and Roy Finch — during the spring.

Unit MVP: Hunnicutt

Grade: B. Hunnicutt has been solid, and the Sooners' return men could end up being among the nation's best next season.

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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