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. 28 – RB Alex Ross (6-foot-1, 220 pounds)
88 carries, 595 yards, 6.8 yards per carry, 4 touchdowns, 718 kick return yards, 2 kick return touchdowns
What happened last year: One doesn’t become the most explosive kick returner in the Big 12 Conference by accident. Maybe the far more impressive thing that happened last season for Ross wasn’t his two touchdowns and near-NCAA-best kick return average, but his growth as a running back. Early in the season, Ross showed little-to-no vision out of the backfield. He was a stand-up runner and easy to take down. He still runs vertically, but he grew into a running back last year – not just a sprinter.
Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 4. Ross might need to carry the ball a little bit for Oklahoma this season, but he’ll wind up being far more important as a kick returner – setting the tone for the start of key offensive possessions. He hasn’t fallen out of favor as a running back. There are just other running backs more in favor, especially for Ross’ particular set of skills. They make him very dangerous for poor kick coverage teams.
Best-case scenario for this season: After two return touchdowns last season, Ross would have a special season if he doubled that. Really just duplicating his numbers from last season would be a best-case scenario. He probably won’t get as many carries as last year, likely settling for closer to 40 than 90.