OU roundtable: Biggest surprise

Sooners Illustrated asked and you answered. Results of who is the biggest surprise for OU so far this season.

Back again for another roundtable question as this week SoonersIllustrated.com is looking at the biggest surprise for Oklahoma during the first four games of the season.

Plenty of choices, plenty of players receiving votes, here are the results.

Bob Przybylo: This was a tough one, but in the end, couldn’t find a more suitable answer than safety Quentin Hayes.

Last year at this time seriously would have thought he would have been leapfrogged at this time by any one of those talented trio of young safeties.

Instead, like Gabe Lynn last season, Hayes has become the best player in OU’s secondary during his final season in Norman.

Hayes has 15 tackles and two pass breakups, but he has the uncanny ability to make a big play when the defense needs it. Hayes has four tackles for loss and leads the team with three sacks.

In back-to-back games he has come up with a huge turnover, either an interception or forcing a fumble. He has matured on and off the field, and he is making the most of his senior campaign.

Justin Hite: To figure out the biggest surprise of the Oklahoma season thus far, it’s important to look at what was expected of each player.

Hayes classifies, but everyone expected him to play a significant role – maybe even start.

Sterling Shepard has been great, but he was anointed the No. 1 receiver long before the season even began.

No, the most impressive player has been running back Samaje Perine – a player who wasn’t the best freshman running back on the roster and was a candidate for a redshirt in early July.

Instead, he’s leading the Big 12 in rushing yards and is tied for third in rushing touchdowns.

Perine hasn’t missed a beat and looks like the Sooners’ most experienced running back despite being less than 20 quarters from playing high school.

Through four games, Perine has 419 yards, 6.3 yards per carry and five touchdowns. Most significantly, he’s not shy in the hole and is already more than willing to play the collegiate game.

In just four games and 66 carries – almost the most in the Big 12 – Perine has gone from potential redshirt to 25-to-1 odds at winning the Heisman Trophy.

Sooners Illustrated readers: Same two guys, but it wasn’t even close. Perine is the overwhelming choice with 51 votes. Hayes was next at 20 with nobody else accumulating more than six votes. Wide receiver K.J. Young (6), linebacker Jordan Evans (5), cornerback Julian Wilson (5), defensive lineman Chuka Ndulue (2), Other (2) and Trevor Knight (1) round out the list.

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