Sooners could lose a lot of experience if Landry Jones, Ronnell Lewis leave

If Landry Jones and Ronnell Lewis leave for the NFL, the Sooners could lose players who combined for 351 career starts.
by Michael Baldwin Published: December 4, 2011

Oklahoma's 2011 regular season ended Saturday night with a 44-10 Bedlam loss, the second most lopsided loss in the Bob Stoops era, trailing only the USC blowout seven seasons ago.

The Sooners will play in the Insight.com Bowl. But any non-BCS bowl season is viewed as a disappointment, especially for a team that was ranked No. 1 in preseason. A win over Iowa would build some momentum but be small consolation after finishing 6-3 in conference play.

Looking ahead to 2012, the Sooners will return players that made at least one start at every position except tight end and quarterback if Landry Jones declares for the NFL Draft.

Jones hasn't announced future plans. He's projected to be a top 15 pick, possibly top 10. One variable is his fiancé, Whitney Hand, will return for her senior season next year with the women's basketball team. But most projects Jones will play in the NFL next season.

Preseason publications will list OU with 14 returning starters — seven on offense and seven on defense.

The Sooners, though, could lose players who combined for 351 career starts if Jones and junior defense end Ronnell Lewis leave for the NFL.

Here are some other key losses for Oklahoma:

* Wide receiver Ryan Broyles: The all-time leading receiver in NCAA Division I history.

* Defensive Frank Alexander: Favorite for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

* Defensive end Ronnell Lewis: Developed into a player who might be selected in the first round of the NFL draft.

* Linebacker Travis Lewis: Might become the first OU player to lead the Sooners in tackles all four seasons.

* Cornerback Jamell Fleming: Two-year starter should be successful at the NFL level.

* Left offensive tackle Donald Stephenson: Two-year starter on the blind side.

* Tight end James Hanna: Rare speed produced some big plays.


by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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Career starts of players not expected to be on the roster next season:

Offense

WR Ryan Broyles; 44

QB *Landry Jones; 36

TE James Hanna; 25

OT Donald Stephenson;22

WR Dejuan Miller;13

OG Stephen Good; 11

OT Jarvis Jones; 10

TE Trent Ratterree; 9

Defense

LB Travis Lewis; 52

DE Frank Alexander; 30

CB Jamell Fleming; 23

DE *Ronnell Lewis; 14

Special teams

DS James Winchester; 29

K Jimmy Stevens; 33

Totals; 351

* projected to declare for NFL Draft

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