NORMAN — Three years ago, Mike Balogun was working construction in Maryland.
By Aug. 30, he could be Oklahoma's starting weak-side linebacker.
That's because freshman Austin Box underwent arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to repair cartilage in his left knee, which could keep him out of the opener against Tennessee-Chattanooga.
Box is expected to be out at least three weeks.
OU coach Bob Stoops called Box "doubtful” for Tennessee-Chattanooga, but "probable” for the Sept. 6 game against Cincinnati.
Box missed most of spring drills, too, after dislocating his elbow, an injury that he also suffered during his senior year of high school.
Box, out of Enid High School, is competing for a starting spot at weak-side linebacker.
His absence could mean that Balogun will jump into the starting lineup at weak-side linebacker, at least until Box is healthy.
Balogun drew rave reviews following last Saturday's closed scrimmage, in which he made several tackles and forced a fumble.
"I saw Mike have some really good range,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said.