Hite's OU 11: No. 8 Austin Seibert

Freshman takes kicking game to a new level; could solve Sooners woes

During the next two weeks, Sooners Illustrated will rank Oklahoma’s players.

While Sooners Illustrated publisher Bob Przybylo will breakdown the best Sooners, we are talking about the most important players here – based on the opinion of Sooners Illustrated writer Justin Hite.

There will definitely be some crossover between the two lists, but this list in particular is based on who Oklahoma needs to be at the top of their game this season.

Let’s keep it rolling.

8. Austin Seibert

The first and only freshman on this list, and Seibert is here for good reason.

In all likelihood, Seibert beats out Nick Hodgson at kicker and Jack Steed at punter. Think about last year: Oklahoma potentially wins 10 games if Michael Hunnicutt doesn’t fall apart against Kansas State or miss an overtime field goal against Oklahoma State.

Even the loss to Baylor featured a missed field goal that could have slowed the Bears’ scoring momentum.

And again, you don’t usually bring in the No. 1 kicker in the country, capable of hitting a 70-yard field goal in practice, and expect to redshirt him.

The importance of a reliable kicker and a big-leg punter can’t go understated.

“The young true freshman, really has a big leg, punting and kicking,” Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said. “He's a guy we're really excited about.”

Even if Seibert isn’t the starter, he’ll push the entire kicking game to another level – giving it plenty of depth and forcing everyone to stay sharp every day.

“You don't want an 18 year old to come in and say, ‘I'm better than you,’” Hodgson said. “It's going to motivate you, yeah. But you've just got to keep doing what you're doing, you know? And hope that what you're doing on the field is good enough.”

Oklahoma’s punter agreed.

“We're pushing each other,” Steed said. “It's just making us both better. We're both doing well so far. It's a good, competitive practice every day.”

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