OU football: Looking ahead to 2012 season and predicting the depth chart

OKLAHOMA FOOTBALL — The Oklahoman's Travis Haney takes a look at the 2012 depth chart and considers which positions the Sooners need to address most in this year's recruiting class.
BY TRAVIS HANEY, Staff Writer, thaney@opubco.com Published: January 7, 2012
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OFFENSIVE LINE

Starters: Daryl Williams, Gabe Ikard, Ben Habern, Tyler Evans, Lane Johnson

Backups: Adam Shead, Tyrus Thompson, Bronson Irwin, Austin Woods.

As much as running back and receiver will be juggling acts, the O-line is as strong as any in the country. Shead would be a starter virtually anywhere else, and he might emerge in the spring and summer months. This doesn't even count redshirt freshmen (Nila Kasitati comes to mind) who sat last season. The commits (Ty Darlington, Kyle Marrs and John Michael McGee) were omitted since they will likely be redshirted, given the depth and experience. OU can continue to sign linemen who fit the system. Zach Banner remains a 2012 target.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Starters: R.J. Washington, David King, Stacy McGee, Jamarkus McFarland, Casey Walker

Backups: Geneo Grissom, Chuka Ndulue, Marquis Anderson, Chaz Nelson**

Frank Alexander and Ronnell Lewis are gone, but Washington and King could have impacts similar to those of Alexander and Lewis in 2011. The staff thinks a lot of both Grissom and Ndulue. If not for the depth of the position in 2011, they would have played more already. The top three tackles are back, which lessens the blow of the transfers of Josh Aladenoye and Torrea Peterson. Nelson is another of the JUCO products. Will need a nice haul in 2013 to sustain momentum — and especially at the now-thin tackle position. Maybe Kasitati moves back?

LINEBACKERS

Starters: Corey Nelson, Tom Wort, Tony Jefferson

Backups: Joe Ibiloye, Jaydan Bird, Kellen Jones, P.L. Lindley

We'll leave Jefferson here for now, though the scheme could certainly alter to move him full time to free safety. Depends on what kind of base the coaches want to run, and whether Ibiloye is dependable enough to play more at nickel and/or sam. Lindley is a name that came up recently when Wort was asked what redshirt freshmen impressed him. Curious to see what sort of strides Jones makes after a full year on campus. He was playing more as the year went on. Still a young position. Eric Striker is the only linebacker commit so far. OU will need more in as soon as possible, or it'll again be going the JUCO route.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Starters: Gabe Lynn, Demontre Hurst, Aaron Colvin, Javon Harris

Backups: Quentin Hayes, Lamar Harris, Kass Everett**

Before you get in an uproar about Lynn, who struggled big time against Texas Tech, remember that he was a sophomore in 2011. And, again, if OU is in a pinch, Jefferson could easily move back to safety and Colvin could go to corner. Or something. There are options. One is Everett, the third JUCO newcomer. Saturday's decommitment of De'Vante Harris hurts; he had a great week at the Under Armour game. Brandon Beaver remains a 2012 target. The Sooners will obviously continue to scout and sign the corner and safety spots. Again, 2013 will need to be a big year for the secondary.

* committed

** signed (JUCO)



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