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OU football: Can the Sooners win without star power?

by Jason Kersey Published: August 26, 2014

Postseason All-Big 12 selections: 7 (QB Josh Heupel, OL Frank Romero, LB Rocky Calmus, LB Torrance Marshall, DB/PR/KR J.T. Thatcher, DB Roy Williams, P Jeff Ferguson)

Postseason All-Americans: 3 (QB Josh Heupel, LB Rocky Calmus, DB/PR/KR J.T. Thatcher)

This is the ultimate example of a star-less preseason turning into an incredible season. Bob Stoops’ second OU team didn’t always look pretty, but stunned the nation with a perfect 13-0 record and national championship. Heupel, now the Sooners’ offensive coordinator, was the Heisman Trophy runner-up.

1999

Preseason All-Big 12 selections: 0

Preseason All-Americans: 0

Final record: 7-5, 5-3 Big 12

Postseason All-Big 12 selections: 2 (OL Stockar McDougle, LB Rocky Calmus)

Postseason All-Americans: 0

Stoops’ first season at Oklahoma produced a sharp turnaround from the dark years under John Blake. Although the Sooners finished with five losses, the seeds were planted for the magical 2000 national championship season, and guys like Josh Heupel, Quentin Griffin, Rocky Calmus, Roy Williams showed some of the potential that would make them OU stars in the coming years.

 

Here’s a quick look at some of the guys who may not qualify as stars right now, but could by the end of the season:

LB Dominique Alexander: The Big 12’s 2013 Defensive Freshman of the Year, Alexander played exceptionally well after senior Corey Nelson suffered a season-ending injury in early October. The Tulsa Washington product is one of the cornerstones of OU’s young defense.

RB Keith Ford: As a true freshman last year, Ford carried the ball 23 times for 134 yards and a touchdown. He’ll be a strong candidate to be the Sooners’ primary ballcarrier in 2014.

QB Trevor Knight: The sophomore is already a star around Norman, but can he replicate what he did in the Sugar Bowl throughout an entire season? If so, he could end up being one of Stoops’ best quarterbacks.

WR Sterling Shepard: Shepard is by far the most experienced playmaker on Oklahoma’s offense entering 2014. He’s caught 96 passes for 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns in two seasons, and will undoubtedly be Knight’s favorite target.

WR Jordan Smallwood: The Jenks product redshirted last season after a preseason injury, but could make a name for himself in 2014 in OU’s inexperienced receiver corps.

WR Michiah Quick: The native Californian is speedy and could be an instant contributor as a true freshman.

RB Alex Ross: The former Jenks standout hasn’t played much through two seasons on campus, but is one of the candidates for a major role in OU’s 2014 backfield.

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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