With the season just around the corner, Sooners Illustrated is going to take a shot at guessing who will be the 11 players who make the biggest impact for Oklahoma in the 2015 season.
This version of the OU 11 is not based on how important they are to the team, but instead is based on what their projected production will be in the eyes of publisher Bob Przybylo.
Each weekday we'll be counting them down. Without further ado, the OU 11: Best performers.
Only the second day of the list and already cheating. Or hedging, maybe. The fact of the matter is there doesn’t seem to be any way possible for both Alexander and Shannon to make a huge difference for the Sooners.
It feels like an either/or situation. That’s funny to say since Alexander and Shannon have been starters for so long, but junior Jordan Evans appears to be the one middle linebacker who has secured his spot more than anybody else.
Regardless, OU needs a presence with its inside backers and Alexander/Shannon will be instrumental in making sure the middle of the defense is strong.
Alexander has bulked up, feeling like he was a little too small last season. Shannon’s story will be about how long it takes him to find his footing again after being forced to not even be enrolled at the university last year.
The last couple of seasons have seen the linebackers become the leading tacklers for the Sooners. It sure feels like that will happen again this time around. But it’s about where those tackles are made and how fierce they’re made.
OU’s linebackers haven’t been as physical as needed lately with Alexander fully admitting he doesn’t want to be dragged on the ground one time this year. For the Sooners to make a charge in 2015, Alexander/Shannon have to stand tall.