NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma linebacker Jordan Evans might need to give the Sooners a little more than the typical freshman-to-sophomore jump in production.
The school has taken steps to suspend starting inside linebacker Frank Shannon for a year, but has been unable to enforce the decision. In a news release on Monday, Oklahoma president David L. Boren said the school's internal disciplinary process has voted to remove Shannon for a violation of its Title IX policy, which covers sexual misconduct.
Shannon's situation could give Evans a chance to have a bigger role. Evans started one game last year while Shannon was injured, against Texas Tech, and had a career-high eight tackles and a pass breakup. The Norman native missed much of the second half of last season with an ankle injury, but recovered and started the spring game while Shannon was out for what the team called personal reasons.
Now, Evans could end up starting during the regular season.
"I'm expecting Jordan to have a great year," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Tuesday. "He's a guy that's really come on and he's probably the biggest guy we've got (at inside linebacker), and he's all of 220, 222 (pounds). He had a really good spring and summer. He's very natural in there and we're expecting Jordan to really make a difference for us this year."
Shannon started all 13 games last year and led the team with 92 tackles. He had a career-high 16 tackles against Texas last season and had 2.5 tackles for loss against Iowa State the same year, including two sacks. That production will be difficult to replace, but if Evans needs to step in and does so successfully, Shannon will have played a significant role.
"Frank was my mentor coming in as a freshman," Evans said. "Sometimes, you think the older guys don't want to mess with you because we came in to take their spots. But Frank is a different kind of person. He actually mentored me and talked to me and helped me out. The (Texas) Tech game when he was hurt, they were telling me, the trainers, that he (Shannon) was in the doctor's office screaming for me, whooping and hollering. He's definitely a team player."
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