OU Countdown: Charles Tapper

Most experienced defensive lineman must provide consistency for Sooners

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. 91 – DE Charles Tapper (6-foot-4, 283 pounds)

37 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 2 PBUs

What happened last year: Despite starting all 13 games for Oklahoma, last year was an unimpressive one for Tapper, who acknowledged his struggles midway through the season. He wasn’t nearly as disruptive as the Sooners really needed him to be, barely averaging half a tackle for loss per game and recording just three sacks.

Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 8. Oklahoma needs Tapper to be better this season, and it’s clear that Tapper wants to take that final step in his final season. The athletic defensive end was always going to be a bit of a project after transitioning from the basketball court, but his natural ability is there. Tapper needs to be an All-Big 12 performer for a defense that’s lacking consistent playmakers. Outside of Eric Striker and Zack Sanchez, there aren’t any on defense. Tapper needs to provide the push and fear that Jordan Phillips did last season. A four-man defensive line would go a long way to making that easier on him.

Best-case scenario for this season: Tapper puts together his best season and makes second team All-Big 12. He finishes with a career-high seven sacks and double-digit tackles for loss. Most importantly though, a change in defensive front and improved training allows Tapper to stay on the field longer and more consistently, like his predecessor Chuka Ndulue, and gives Oklahoma the freedom to rotate at three other positions. Charles Walker and Dwayne Orso benefit immediately. Tapper shows enough to be a second-day draft pick next season.

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