Meeting the team: offensive player No. 3

NORMAN, Okla. — Sooners Illustrated now presents the third day of the newest SI feature.

Player: Gabe Ikard

Hometown: Oklahoma City, Okla.

Class: Redshirt junior

Height & Weight: 6-foot-4, 295 pounds

Likely position on fall depth chart: Starting left guard

The rundown: Ikard steps in as one of the most important players on the offensive line. His role the last two years has led up to that, as he won a host of honors, including All-Big 12 first team by the coaches and Associated Press. He did so by starting all 13 games and recording 88 knockdowns on 860 snaps while he moved back in forth between guard and center to fill the void when center Ben Habern was injured. Ikard graded out the best of any big men up front while also earning first team Academic All-Big 12 for the second straight year. He's started 25 consecutive games over the last two years.

Expectations for 2012: The last sentence should indicate what will be looked for out of Ikard: leadership. This offensive line really has a chance to be a strength of this team, and a lot of that falls on Ikard's shoulders. Leading the unit in blocking grades again would go a long ways in getting that accomplished. He'll have to shore up the left side of the offensive line alongside left tackle Lane Johnson. Above all, the coaches just want to see similar production from Ikard up front, and if that's the case he could easily be an All-Big 12 first team selection.

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