OU 11 - Defense: No. 5

There is a consensus No. 5 for OU on defense, and he's no slouch.

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.


No. 5

Bob Przybylo: Outside linebacker Geneo Grissom. We are in total agreement on this one with Grissom. And that’s not a knock on Grissom at all.

If you really think Grissom is your fifth best player on defense, that, my friends, is one heck of a defense. And with OU having nine starters returning from a group last year that really found its groove toward the end of the season, the hope is that it’s one heck of a defense.

Grissom is done at defensive end. Or as defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery so eloquently put it last week, “he’s out of my room.”

Now at outside linebacker, Grissom is going to be free to roam and do what he does best – use his freakish athleticism to make plays. It might have taken a while for Grissom to find his niche in Norman, but it’s safe to say he has found it.

Justin Hite: Outside linebacker Geneo Grissom. It’s amazing to think that Grissom registered the same number of sacks in the Sugar Bowl as he did in the entire regular season. But that was the case for many Sooners, the Sugar Bowl was the coming out part for just about everybody.

Grissom’s importance – whether he’s at outside linebacker (where I think he’ll be) or defensive end – is creating balance on the Sooners’ defense. He’ll be opposite Eric Striker or Charles Tapper, depending on which position he will be playing.

A two-side pass rush is by far more powerful than a one-side heavy rush. Grissom can create that. He has shown the ability to cause havoc in the backfield.

He’s really not that far behind Tapper or Striker, either.

It’s also hard to believe that he’s just one of three seniors in the projected starting 12 (nickel back included). Now that he has probably settled in to his best position, after playing in three different spots the past three years, there’s a chance for a breakout season from Grissom.

A silent Grissom isn’t a bad thing because he’s too good to keep quiet. If he’s not making plays, it means Eric Striker is making plenty.

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