For the 2010 season Bob Stoops seemed to change his coaching philosophy when he played more true freshman than he ever has as the Sooners head coach. Now obviously Stoops has played true freshman before like Adrian Peterson, Tommie Harris, and Jermaine Gresham who all had great careers in the Crimson and Cream but never to the magnitude of this past season.
The 2010 class arrived in Norman and showed why their freshman class would be different than any other class Stoops has ever had before. There was talk that the freshman class were the hardest workers in the weight room this past offseason and their hard work definitely paid off when they hit the field.
Unlike most freshmen, the 2010 class picked up on the speed and physicality of the college level along with Oklahoma's offensive and defensive schemes so quickly that 11 members of the 29 freshman played significant roles on Coach Stoops seventh Big 12 Championship winning team.
The 2011 incoming class has some big time talent in it as well and after witnessing this many freshmen on the field for the Sooners in 2010 there is reason to believe that many of them will see the field as well in 2011. Even though we don't believe that the number of freshman to take the field will be as many as last year.
Here is who we believe will see the field and who will redshirt next season on the offensive side of the ball.
Trey Metoyer, WR – Next year Oklahoma loses two senior receivers in Cameron Kenney and Brandon Caleb to graduation. They could also lose Ryan Broyles if the Biletnikoff semifinalist decides to forgo his senior season for the NFL. Which means the Sooners would only have seven receivers on scholarships returning. With Metoyer's ability to catch the ball so effortlessly to go with his ability to make plays in the air and in the open field tells me that if he stays healthy through the summer and two-a-days that Metoyer will undoubtedly see the field as a true freshman.
Brandon Williams, RB – Demarco Murray's tremendous career will come to an end after the Fiesta bowl and he along with Mossis Madu will both be graduating this year. The Sooners will have four running backs on scholarship next season but none of them possess the combination of size and speed that Williams brings to the table. If Williams hits a seam or gets in the open field he can take it the distance at any given moment. He will be enrolling in January which can only help him to get on the field sooner than later. Williams is also a god pass catcher out of the backfield and if he can take care of the blocking side of things in the passing game I believe he will be the next freshman running back sensation the Sooner Nation has seen since Adrian Peterson, barring any injuries.
Brandon Carter, WR – I know what you are thinking and yes I know he was recruited to play cornerback, or so they say. However, I think Carter winds up on the offensive side of the ball for the Sooners. Carter has tremendous ability with the ball in his hands. He is extremely quick and has good speed. He is not the biggest receiver on the field by any means but his uncanny ability to make people miss can help him out in that department. But he will definitely need to add size when he arrives in Norman. I can see Carter being utilized in multiple ways at receiver. I could also see him getting a few opportunities in the return game. Now the key to Carter playing could rely on Broyles going pro but I believe the Sooner staff will figure out a way to get him on the field and utilize his talents regardless. (I admit I could be dead wrong on this one and he could stay at corner but I'm just not buying it for some reason.)
Kendal Thompson, QB – With Landry Jones having as good of a year as he had this year and returning next year for his junior season I think it's pretty obvious that Thompson will be redshirting next year.
Archie Bradley, QB – See above on Thompson. This is obviously based on if Bradley even makes it to campus instead of playing major league baseball.
Danzel Williams, RB – Williams is the ideal kind of running back when running out of the spread. He is listed at 5-foot-9 and 190-pounds but appears to be shorter that that. He disappears when running in between the tackles. Williams is quick and possesses good vision. Problem is Oklahoma has Finch, Clay, Miller, Calhoun and Brandon Williams will have been there for a while as well.
Kameel Jackson, WR – Jackson has had some struggles with injuries in the past but when he is healthy he has shown signs of being capable of becoming a good possession receiver at OU. With all the receivers returning next year Jackson should be redshirting his freshman year.
Dan Tapko, TE – Tapko is a good blocking tight end at the high school level and is still progressing as a receiving tight end. At 6-foot-5 and 235-pounds he will need to add size and strength to his frame to become as good a blocking tight end on the college level as he is on the high school level. And with Hanna, Ratteree and Haywood all returning there may not be a need for him to play next season.
Max Stevenson, TE – Stevenson is a good pass catching tight end that has been used split out wide like a receiver most of his high school career. At OU tight ends do not get on the field unless they can block in the run game which is something Stevenson will have to work on when he arrives in Norman along with getting bigger and stronger. Like Tapko, Stevenson shouldn't be needed next year with everyone returning.
Dylan Dismuke, OT – Dismuke will need to get stronger to take on bigger and stronger defenders at the next level. He is a big athletic offensive tackle but with guys like Stephenson, Jones, Aladenoye, Williams and Thompson there Dismuke should spend his freshman year redshirting.
Derek Farniok, OT – Farniok is a massive offensive tackle prospect. He will need to hit the weight room once he gets to Norman. And like Dismuke he is just behind too much to see the field next season.
Stay tuned to Sooners Illustrated for the second part of our redshirt predictions for the 2011 class on the defensive side of the ball.
Midlands Recruiting Manager Greg Powers contributed to this report.