During the next two months leading up to the Big 12 Media Days in Dallas, Sooners Illustrated will breakdown the Oklahoma Sooners’ roster, starting with Dominique Alexander (No. 1 on the roster) and working all the way down to Dwayne Orso (No. 99) and the incoming freshmen.
We’ll look at last year’s performance, the best-case scenario for this season – without projecting injuries – and what each player means to the short-term or long-term success of the Sooners.
No. 1 - LB Dominique Alexander (6-foot-2, 215 pounds)
107 tackles, 6 TFL, 1.5 sacks
What happened last year: After being forced into a starting role as a freshman, Alexander had a full year to prepare for his second stint. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said Alexander was far more reactive in his second year, and he’ll probably be even better this season. Alexander was solid but still had a few deficiencies in pass coverage, where Oklahoma was exploited over the middle.
Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 8. A starter for two seasons, Alexander is as important to Oklahoma now as just about anybody else on the defense – outside of Eric Striker and Zack Sanchez – as the Sooners become more elaborate defensively. He’ll be the starter this year, and he’ll probably be the starter next year. There’s a good chance that Alexander will finish his career with one of the higher tackling totals in program history. He’s on pace for 374 tackles in his career but is trending upwards after starting 21 games in the first two seasons of his career. Alexander drops from a 10 because of the increasing depth behind him and the questions surrounding how many linebackers Oklahoma will in fact use. Frank Shannon seems to be back, and Jordan Evans is bigger than last year. Then there’s Devante Bond, Striker and incoming freshman Ricky DeBerry.
Best-case scenario for this season: Alexander finishes as Oklahoma’s leader in tackles again, although with a few more direct takedowns than what Oklahoma fans might call dragged tackles. He’s bulked up for his third season as a starter but might not see as much action as last season because of a new defensive alignment.