Oklahoma opens spring practice on March 5 with the annual Red-White game set for April 9.
The Sooners will also hold pro day on March 9 for all departing players. But there are questions abound regarding the Sooners’ outlook for next year. Even coming off an 11-2 season, the Big 12 championship and a berth in the College Football Playoff, the Sooners still have holes that need to be filled.
Over the next week, Sooners Illustrated’s Justin Hite and Bob Przybylo take a look at five major questions surrounding Oklahoma. Here’s one of those most pressing questions:
Which redshirt defender is ready to make a splash?
You’ve got some real good choices here. OU will have to find a way to replace the leadership of guys like Eric Striker, Charles Tapper and Zack Sanchez, but it shouldn’t have a problem trying to replace the talent.
As big of an improvement as the group made during the 2015 season, the 2016 defensive group could only be scratching the surface of just how good it can really be going forward.
One of those reasons is OU didn’t have to burn redshirts to four top-notch defensive linemen and linebackers. So out of that four, which one(s) are about to bust down that door?
On the defensive line all eyes move toward Neville Gallimore and Du’Vonta Lampkin. Both have admitted to losing nearly 40 pounds since arriving in Norman.
Gallimore had to adjust from moving from Canada, while Lampkin’s year got thrown out of whack with all the concerns over his eligibility and whether or not he would be at Texas or OU.
At linebacker, it’s about outside backer Ricky DeBerry and inside backer Arthur McGinnis. Will this year be too early for the duo to make an impact? DeBerry seems to have an easier path to the field with OU losing so much at that position.
And they’re not redshirt guys, but the secondary is full of unreached potential at this time with guys like Kahlil Haughton, Will Sunderland and P.J. Mbanasor.
OU’s defense has made major strides through recruiting with the 2015 class. Now we’ll see who is going to make the impact earlier than expected.