Football season is almost here for Oklahoma. 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 begin.
Bob Przybylo: Middle linebacker Dominique Alexander. No, haven’t fallen in love with OKPreps kids, pure coincidence it’s the third straight from the state.
Alexander could actually be higher in this list when it’s all said and done. It’s really up to him in terms of the leap he’s going to make from being the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year to what he wants to be at season’s end.
Nobody had a tougher task last season than Alexander, who made his first career start against Texas in the Red River Rivalry and was absolutely targeted by the Longhorns all day. He made a lot of tackles, but it was clear Alexander wasn’t 100 percent comfortable.
He will be this season. He never got down on himself about anything negative that happened last season, and he definitely made some huge plays to give OU fans reason to smile going forward.
You need a leader at every line of the defense, and the safe assumption is Alexander will be that guy for OU at linebacker this season.
Justin Hite: Defensive back Julian Wilson. There would only be one real shock when it comes to Wilson when the season begins. That’s if he isn’t on the field at all.
He could be one of the starting outside corners.
He could be the starting nickel back – one that might be impossible to take off the field.
He could be a starting safety.
Ultimately, if the Sooners go with a 3-3-5, he’ll play a hybrid role. At 6-foot-2, 200-plus, he has the size and understanding to step up in run support but could also cover tight ends down the middle.
As a fifth defensive back, Wilson would also have the ability to roam. He could play just about any position in the secondary, and his diversity is unmatched by any other player on the Sooners’ defensive roster.
The local product out of Southmoore High School was just a three-star recruit, but his development has made him remarkably important to Oklahoma.
Wilson is listed as a safety in the media guide this year but coach Bob Stoops introduced him as a cornerback/nickelback at Media Days.
Wilson likely will finish his career with a 50 percent start rate. For a three-star recruit, that’s pretty remarkable.