But the one thing the Sooners lacked was leadership. And the big reason why was because the 2011 class, who could have been seniors heading into the 2014 season, was basically absent.
OU’s 2011 class was ranked No. 15 by Scout. However, if the rankings were done once again, there’s no telling where this group would be now.
This won’t be the most fun for OU fans, but a look back at who these faces were supposed to be to help lead the Sooners back to the promised land.
Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, No. 6 DT
This is obvious, right? Phillips did what you’re supposed to do as a five-star recruit. Although injuries hampered him early, Phillips made an impact for the Sooners.
Following a noteworthy 2014 season, Phillips was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the second round and 52nd overall pick of the NFL Draft this spring.
Tight end Nila Kasitati, No. 38 TE
Kasitati was a part-time starter last season and is going to be one of the starting offensive guards, for sure, this season. Incredibly quiet off the field, Kasitati is more of the leader by example and has the respect of his coaches and teammates.
Outside linebacker P.L. Lindley, No. 43 OLB
It was tough for Lindley to break through as coaches weren’t sure if he was a linebacker or defensive end for the Sooners. He has found a home at linebacker although he provides depth more than anything else. Lindley does make an impact on special teams.
Offensive tackle Derek Farniok, No. 77 OT
This could be the year for Farniok. He made his first (and only) start during the 2013 edition of Bedlam, and he has seen some significant time. The question is whether or not he becomes the guy at tackle this season or once again is there to provide depth.
Defensive tackle Jordan Wade, No. 21 DT
Wade had a quality 2013 season but struggled to see the field in 2014. With a coaching change at the position with Diron Reynolds now coming in, perhaps it will be a time for a fresh start for Wade, who still could be a difference maker at tackle.
The question mark?
Safety Frank Shannon, No. 17 S
Where does Shannon play into this season? After being suspended for one year by the university, Shannon is back with the team this summer. Between Jordan Evans and Dominique Alexander, OU seems to have a pretty good set of inside linebackers. Will Shannon reclaim his spot? And if he doesn’t, what role will he have?
Injured and out
Offensive tackle Dylan Dismuke, No. 38 OT
A top in-state prospect at tackle, Dismuke’s career never materialized after a back injury. He never played a game for OU.
Defensive end Dan Tapko, No. 32 DE
Tapko arrived at OU in the summer of 2011 but left the program before the season started. He stated medical and personal reasons were the cause for his departure.
Tight end Max Stevenson, No. 11 TE
Stevenson was a highly touted tight end coming out of high school. Following a redshirt season, Stevenson quit football because of a pectoral injury.
Middle linebacker Kellen Jones, No. 12 MLB
Jones never made a huge impact after arriving to OU late for the 2011 class. He transferred to Clemson, following Brent Venables. Last report was Jones is attempting to transfer to Miami (Fla.) to play his final season of eligibility.
Cornerback Bennett Okotcha, No. 42 CB
Okotcha never became a name to remember for OU fans. He transferred to UTSA and has had a fine career and will be the starting cornerback for UTSA this season.
Defensive tackle Marquis Anderson, No. 44 DT
Anderson was expected to be another quality tackle for the defensive line but never really materialized. He appeared in four games with five tackles in his career before transferring to Navarro JC.
Defensive end Nathan Hughes, No. 5 DE
Hughes was a big bust for the Sooners. A five-star defensive end, he spent two years in Norman but never saw the field.
Running back Brandon Williams, No. 3 RB
Williams saw time as a true freshman and looked like he could become the next big thing at running back. He transferred to Texas A&M to be closer to his family and is now contemplating a move to defensive back for this season.
Running back Danzel Williams, No. 37 RB
The big thing with Williams was trying to determine what his position would be. He wanted to be a running back, while OU saw him more as a defensive back. The two never ended up on the same page, and he transferred to Central Arkansas.
Quarterback Kendal Thompson, No. 36 QB
An OU legacy but things never got on the right track with Thompson at OU. He saw limited time during his career but injuries played a role in him never being able to make the leap. He transferred to Utah and led a huge upset victory against UCLA last season.
Wide receiver Kameel Jackson, No. 69 WR
A great example of the social media era in college football. After playing in limited time as a freshman, Jackson announced his intention to transfer to Texas A&M on Twitter. But the Aggies didn’t reciprocate that so he ended up at ULM. From there, he went to Blinn College and was originally expected to commit to Tennessee before it was revealed his Blinn credits didn’t transfer over.
Quarterback Archie Bradley, No. 53 QB
Nobody is blaming Bradley or OU really for what happened here. A first-round pick in the MLB Draft, Bradley is now with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Injuries have hampered him some, but he’s had some fine moments as well. He is 2-3 this season but currently on the disabled list.
What might have been
Wide receiver Trey Metoyer, No. 1 WR
Will there ever be another one like this? Metoyer, a five-star recruit ranked No. 1 in the nation at wide receiver, couldn’t handle his responsibilities off the field.
Metoyer was sentenced earlier this year to eight years of probation following accusations he exposed himself to women.
He left the OU football team in 2013 midway through the season after being charged with indecent exposure. Reports said he exposed himself to two different women.
Metoyer played in four games in 2013 and started in four games during the 2012 season but never panned out to his five-star ranking.