OU report card: Cornerback

Down the stretch run of doling out grades for OU, we now move to the secondary and start with the cornerbacks.

The 2014 season is in the books for Oklahoma as the Sooners began the season in the top five but ended a disappointing 8-5 with losses in the final two games.

Before we start looking ahead to 2015, we’re going to take another look at every position this season for the Sooners.

Cornerback

Bob Przybylo: C. Like receiver and Sterling Shepard, feels like there should be a separate grade for Zack Sanchez and then the rest of the cornerbacks.

The big move going into the season was Julian Wilson switching from nickelback to corner. Nobody knew how it would pan out. Through three games, it looked like pure genius. And then it all went downhill from there.

Wilson lost his confidence, got injured and eventually OU was relying on true freshman Jordan Thomas at the other corner spot. He had his moments, but he also had several freshman moments, too, down the stretch.

Sanchez was incredible for OU this season with six interceptions and staking his claim as the top defensive back to watch in the conference heading into 2015.

Justin Hite: C+. Zack Sanchez has his detractors, but he does everything a college cornerback should. He’s not the best tackle – not even close.

In coverage, he’s one of the best though. That’s where a cornerback should excel.

His counterpart – whether it was Julian Wilson or Jordan Thomas – didn’t.

Wilson and Thomas were both decent at times, but those times were fleeting. Wilson was out of place almost from the start as a cornerback, and Thomas still has a lot to learn.

Wilson’s long Pick 6 against Tennessee seems like forever ago. His blow-up with defensive coordinator Mike Stoops against Baylor is probably the final memory most Oklahoma fans will have of him, which is sad.

Wilson was a great player who was asked to play out of position – although it shouldn’t have been out of position for him – in his final season.

Sanchez announced he’s coming back, which at the very least gives Oklahoma its starting cornerbacks for next season. That’s one positive moving forward. Thomas will learn. He’s too smart not too.

Sooners Illustrated overall grade:C.


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