Football season is almost here. And SoonersIllustrated.com is eager to get you ready for what could be a memorable 2014 season.
During the next two weeks, Bob Przybylo and Justin Hite are going to reveal their top 11 players on offense and defense and how those players will impact what happens on the field this fall. Let the countdown and debates continue.
Bob Przybylo: One spot higher with me for Chuka Ndulue. The thing with Ndulue is that it feels no matter if you put him at defensive end or defensive tackle, he’s going to be productive.
Production is good, but also don’t get that sense that Ndulue can absolutely take over a game and change an opposing offense’s game plan. But you don’t need everybody to be a super-duper star.
You need players who know their role and take care of their responsibility and Ndulue can certainly do that. He had some breakout moments, most notably the goal line stand at Oklahoma State.
He has become one of the vocal leaders of the team, too, and will no doubt play an important factor this season because of his versatility and ability to handle all his assignments.
Justin Hite: Cornerback Dakota Austin. If the Sooners have any questions on the defensive side of the ball, it’s in the secondary. Zack Sanchez is the clear cut No. 1. Beyond that, Oklahoma will need someone to step up.
Austin, who had one interception last year, is the front runner. He’s the starter opposite Austin for now, and he’ll be picked on consistently until he proves that he can handle the pressure. Just a sophomore, Austin has done some special things after being added late in 2013.
A year as a redshirt would have been helpful for the under-sized cornerback, but the experience he gained at the end of last year will help him to try and answer the one question the Sooners have entering the 2014 season.
He’s a bulldog of a defender and has surprised at every turn thus far.