Oklahoma officially closes spring practice this week, but it’s going to be tough for the final practice to erase what has been seen during the last three weeks.
With that in mind, here are five (plus one) names who have certainly helped their stock report as a Sooners going forward.
Tight end Mark Andrews
You have to start with Andrews. The redshirt freshman is mentally all-in with the move to tight end, especially a tight end in this kind of offense. Andrews was dynamic throughout spring and is showing what his 6-foot-4 frame can do for the Sooners. He’s the type of weapon OU hasn’t had in a while at the position. And better yet, it feels like offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley knows exactly how he wants to use someone like Andrews.
Wide receiver Dede Westbrook
He’s lived up to the hype so far. Still a long ways to go with Westbrook, but he showed in the spring everything everybody wanted to see from him. Great hands, natural ability after the catch, strong football IQ. There’s no way anybody can leave OU’s spring without mentioning how well Westbrook adjusted to making the transition from junior college. The jury is still going to be out regarding punt returning, but Westbrook is already making noise in a spot where it’s incredibly necessary.
Looped them into one spot because they’re both on the same learning curve. With Dominique Alexander out with a wrist injury and Frank Shannon still serving his one-year suspension from school, the spring was huge for the redshirt freshmen. They had the opportunities and they made the most out of them. Bolton showed the ability to hit, and Evans made a couple of nice plays in the passing throughout the weekend. The time might not yet be now for either one of them, but it’s good to know for OU fans that they certainly appear to be ready.
Defensive end D.J. Ward
The time is now for Ward. He sounds more sure of himself than ever before. He looks more sure of himself than ever before. The potential move to a four-man front will help nobody more than it Will Ward, who is a natural at that spot. He talked about how first-year coach Diron Reynolds is making a huge impact with his development, and after a lot of setbacks, Ward seems poised to have a season to put him on the map in 2015.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield
Tough to gauge based on spring game, but from all reports, Mayfield put a little distance between himself and the rest of the pack going forward. OU coach Bob Stoops was quick to say the competition will go on into the summer and most likely fall camp, but it still feels like Mayfield is going to be that guy. He’s in this spot more because of the way he has conducted himself off the field and in the locker room. It feels like he is fully grasping what it’s going to mean to be the leader of the team and seems eager to accept the responsibility.