OU Countdown: Hatari Byrd

Safety has a limited window to prove he belongs as a starter

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. 4 - S Hatari Byrd (6-foot-1, 206 pounds)

17 tackles, 3 PBU

What happened last year: Some expected Byrd to make a big jump as a sophomore, but it just never happened on a consistent basis. He’s a physical threat on the back end but was exposed more in pass coverage than he probably would have liked. At times, the potential is there, and he still has all the tools.

Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 3. With a young group of three safeties coming into the program, Byrd seems like just a placeholder at this point unless he can make a big jump. While it’s extremely possible, he’ll like be second on the depth chart at any safety position at the end of the season. He could be even lower by the start of the 2016 season – his senior year.

Best-case scenario for this season: Byrd can put it all together as the second-most experience safety on the roster in terms of games played. There’s a chance Byrd starts at strong safety with Ahmad Thomas at free safety and Steven Parker, who would probably play strong safety at times, at the nickel. Byrd will have a limited window of opportunity. If he takes advantage of it, he could solidify himself as a two-year starter at strong safety for Oklahoma, which would work out of a lot of three-safety sets if Byrd were to become a playmaker.

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