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. 23 - LB Devante Bond (6-foot-1, 236 pounds)
29 tackles, 4 tackles for loss
What happened last year: Bond spent time coming off the bench last year before finally getting to start when Geneo Grissom went down with an injury. Bond, who acknowledged last season that he had been slowed during the spring, picked up the defense at just the right time. He was one of the few Sooners to stand out in the Russell Athletic Bowl, registering six tackles and blocking a kick.
Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 8. It seems as though the Oklahoma linebackers will be a far more fluid unit than ever before in this tenure under defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. There could by two. There could be three. There could be four. Based on the spring and everything that Stoops has said, Bond will be a part of the unit no matter the number. Stoops included Bond in the same breath as All-Big 12 linebacker Eric Striker. With that comes a great responsibility for Bond, who will be playing in his final season with the Sooners.
Best-case scenario for this season: Bond’s numbers will rival Striker’s at the end of the season. Both make plays in the backfield, and Bond actually finishes with more tackles by the end of the year than Striker. As a physical presence, Bond becomes one of the more sure tacklers on the Oklahoma roster, impressing fans with his ability to fill holes in the defensive line.