Season OU 11: No. 8 Geneo Grissom

Senior linebacker battles injury, position change to make an impact for Sooners

For the next 10 days Sooners Illustrated will count down the top 11 players of the season for Oklahoma as voted by Bob Przybylo and Justin Hite during the season.

No. 8 linebacker Geneo Grissom (38 points)

Although it has been well documented, it would be a disservice to Grissom not to mention the fact that his started this season playing his third new position in five years at Oklahoma.

He also missed the final two-and-a-half games with an MCL sprain. He’s the only player who will definitely missed the Russell Athletic Bowl, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said.

Grissom dropping to linebacker was an immediate game-changer for the Sooners.

He gave Oklahoma a second pass rushing option, and once he figured out how to drop in coverage, he even returned an interception for a touchdown.

Finishing with 39 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, second on the team, Grissom was one of only two players on the Oklahoma roster to record a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and an interception.

Diversity was key for Grissom this year, but his unrelenting, team-first attitude helped Oklahoma’s defense evolve further.

Grissom dropped back to linebacker because it could help him at the next level and help the team this year. Then, he stepped back in playing time into more of late-down pass rushing role – something he’ll do more of as a professional.

“It’s a matter of keeping me fresh,” Grissom said earlier this season about his changing role. “Devante (Bond) is a great player and he’s going to get the job done just as well as I could. It’s nice. I’m not dog tired when the third quarter or fourth quarter rolls around. I think it’s a good mix.”

That change immediately paid dividends for Grissom. Just one game after Bond started to chip away at Grissom’s playing time, Grissom had a pair of seconds-half sacks against Kansas State.

He developed as a pretty solid all-around pass rusher, with the strength to inside rush against guards and speed rush on the outside – overpowering running backs who tried to pick him up.

Grissom earned a first-place finish in the OU 11 after his Pick 6 against Tulsa but didn’t make the top 11 after the Sooners’ loss to Kansas State - a third-place finish.

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