Carroll’s exit could also boost OU in the recruitment of 5-star defensive lineman Jackson Jeffcoat. The son of former Dallas great Jim Jeffcoat is deciding between Arizona State, Florida, Houston, Texas, USC and OU.
O-line help on the way
The strength of OU’s incoming recruiting class comes at a place of need: offensive line. According to Rivals.com, the Sooners have the No. 1 offensive line class in the country. The group is headlined by Mustang’s Bronson Irwin, who is rated the fourth-best guard in the nation. Joining Irwin are guard Adam Shead, tackles Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams and center Austin Woods.
Here’s how Rivals ranks OU’s other incoming position groups nationally:
12 (Blake Bell)
5 (Brennan Clay, Roy Finch)
27 (Sheldon McClain, Kenny Stills)
3 (Austin Haywood, Trey Millard)
2 (Eric Humphrey, Daniel Noble, Torrea Peterson, Damon Williams)
41 (Chuka Ndulue)
28 (Rashod Favors, Aaron Franklin)
5 (Aaron Colvin, Quentin Hayes, James Haynes, Tony Jefferson)
2 (Trey Franks, Jarrett Lake, Justin McCay, Joe Powell, Julian Wilson)
Nelson could go back to corner
Dominique Franks’ announcement last week that he’s entering the NFL Draft seemingly puts OU in a bind at cornerback. The Sooners now have to replace both corners, always a precarious transition, especially in a league that likes to pass the ball.
But the late-season emergence of Jonathan Nelson could make that transition a lot less precarious.
After battling one bizarre injury after the other his first three years at OU, Nelson showed this season what he could do when finally healthy. In November, Nelson replaced Sam Proctor in the starting lineup at strong safety, and picked off a pass in each of OU’s final three games. Nelson nearly intercepted another in the Sun Bowl, but bobbled the ball into the hands of teammate Travis Lewis.
In the Sun Bowl, Nelson took some snaps at corner, his old position, to help fill the absence of Brian Jackson, and performed well there.
To compensate for the loss of Franks, the Sooners might ask Nelson to move back to corner full-time, and reinsert Proctor into the starting lineup.