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.
2. Zack Sanchez
The Oklahoma secondary was abysmal last season, but it wasn’t because of Sanchez, who picked of a career-high six passes last season. Steven Parker and Jordan Thomas should have evolved and grown a little bit more before the start of their first full season as starters.
The Sooners still need Sanchez.
They don’t need him to be much more than he was last year, though – a shutdown corner capable of taking away the best receiver on the opposing team. If he has that kind of season again, he won’t need a senior year
He said that the secondary is growing, and there’s a battle for depth behind him. That’s important for Oklahoma, but what’s far more important is Sanchez’s play this season.
Sanchez needs to lock down half of the field – again.
Thomas and Parker still aren’t perfect yet, and another strong season on the field from Sanchez will also provide Will Johnson the opportunity to develop in his first season with the Sooners, as well. Freshman P.J. Mbanasor still needs time to learn as well.
Sanchez has the chance to disguise a lot of Oklahoma’s learning woes in the secondary. He won’t be booted out of the No. 1 cornerback spot no matter how much he struggles. Oklahoma just can’t afford for him to not be on top of his game all season.
That alone speaks to Sanchez’s importance.