OU linebacker Frank Shannon expected to make first start of season

OU senior linebacker Frank Shannon is expected to make his first start of the season Saturday against Texas Tech.

Sometimes things have a way of coming full circle. For Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon, that opportunity comes Saturday afternoon.

It was two years ago where Shannon, then the leading tackler for the Sooners, had to miss a home game against Texas Tech because of a concussion.

Inserted into his place was freshman linebacker Jordan Evans, who fared well. Following Shannon being expelled from the university before the 2014 season, Evans jumped right in to become the guy at the spot.

The theory was that with Shannon returning to school and to the team for the 2015 season and now a senior, there would be a lot of rotating Evans and Shannon. That hasn’t been the case as Evans has basically been the guy whenever it has mattered most.

But now Shannon is going to get his turn. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said he’s not sure if Evans will play because of an injury, but he said he feels confident enough to say Shannon will get the start when the Red Raiders return to Norman.

“Now that he’s taking first-team reps his focus has been much better,” Stoops said. “You can see that he’s zeroed in. If he has to go for Jordan, we feel very confident in his ability to come in and play at a high level.

“I think now that he’s in there getting all of the first-team reps … that’s what’s hard about it. Once you get into the season, you don’t get as many reps at the backup. Frank’s needed those reps to catch up and be able to play fast. This week he’s getting those.”

Shannon has been a factor on special teams and has seen time in a backup role to Evans this season. Saturday could be Shannon’s last opportunity to make an impression in front of the OU fans.

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