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.
LB Ricky DeBerry (6-foot-2, 240 pounds)
What happened last year: Rated as the 24th-best player in the 2015 recruiting class, DeBerry was named a U.S. Army All-American and finished his senior season at Atlee High School with 51 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries in just six games.
Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 4. Looking at the pictures of the Oklahoma linebackers this offseason with coach Tim Kish, DeBerry definitely doesn’t look out of place. Size-wise, he’s already a college-level linebacker. His skillset should translate as well as an elite pass rusher. He won’t need to make an impact on the field with Devante Bond and Eric Striker already entrenched as the Sooners’ outside linebackers. Instead, this season will be about picking up the speed of the college game for DeBerry, who could be at least a three-year starter for the Sooners. If he picks up the game quickly enough in preseason camp, DeBerry could see immediate action in the rotation. He just won’t need to be a heavy contributor yet.
Best-case scenario for this season: This is a tough one. If DeBerry is the third-best outside linebacker is it better to redshirt him or let him play out the year? He could have four years as a starter with a redshirt, but he could contribute immediately without one. So there’s a short-term and a long-term best-case scenario, and they aren’t the same thing. If DeBerry plays this season, expect to see the first five tackles for loss, the first 20 tackles and the first sack of his career.