With the Sugar Bowl coming up Thursday, Jason Kersey and I will post our picks for offensive, defensive and special teams most valuable players.
It started yesterday with the selection of running back Brennan Clay as the offensive MVP. Defense was much tougher but in the end, we decided on cornerback Aaron Colvin.
Like Clay, Colvin’s value was most evident in the 41-31 win at Kansas State on Nov. 23. Colvin was hurt, with a shoulder that he could barely move and a turf toe issue which bothered him most of the second half of the season.
Sooners coaches went into the game hoping not to use Colvin much but after the way Tyler Lockett torched OU’s defense in the first half, they were forced to put Colvin on Lockett for the second. It wasn’t perfect but Colvin kept Lockett from reaching the end zone again and helped the Sooners come out with the win.
For the season, Colvin had 49 tackles, a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery. There were also plenty of games where teams wouldn’t test Colvin much, if at all, in the passing game.
Colvin was far from the only choice, though, and a strong argument could be made for a number of different players:
Dominique Alexander: The true freshman linebacker from Tulsa Washington found himself needed quicker than anticipated after Corey Nelson was lost for the season. Alexander had a rough beginning to his first start against Texas but got better and better as the season went on. He finished with 75 tackles, second-most on the team.
Eric Striker: The Sooners’ switch to the 3-4 defense was helped along by Striker’s progress. Coming off the edge from near the line of scrimmage as a linebacker a significant amount of time, Striker made a much bigger impact than his 43 tackles and 3.5 sacks indicate. When Striker was a disruptive presence, OU’s defense was at its best.
Charles Tapper: Another young player who came on strong, Tapper was similar to Striker in that when he was getting in the backfield and putting pressure on quarterbacks, OU’s defense was difficult to move the ball against. Tapper had 47 tackles and a team-best 5.5 sacks.