OU spring spotlight: P.J. Mbanasor

The second cornerback spot is open for Sooners, and P.J. Mbanasor is one to watch.

There are few players on Oklahoma who can use words as well as sophomore-to-be cornerback P.J. Mbanasor. So when he was asked what getting early playing time as a freshman was like, you knew the answer would be good.

“Frustrating blessing.”

Mbanasor certainly didn’t disappoint, and it’s obvious as to why he would use that term. Last year was a wakeup call for Mbanasor. It served as a reminder that there is still a lot he has to learn when it comes to playing cornerback.

Through no fault of his own after a last-minute Jordan Thomas suspension, Mbanasor was thrown into the fire vs. Tulsa and had a shaky game. The issue, to those on the outside, was how would he bounce back from a rough outing?

That issue never entered Mbanasor’s head.

“In terms of me competing, I just have to come out every day and pay attention to the little things like technique, which isn’t even a little thing once you think about it,” Mbanasor said. “I have to make sure I pay attention to details and alignment and continue to put my best foot forward in everything I do.”

The second cornerback spot is there for whoever wants to grab it. With Zack Sanchez leaving early for the NFL Draft, nobody is a shoo-in to replace him and join Jordan Thomas at cornerback for the Sooners.

It appears like it will be a two-man race between Mbanasor and senior-to-be Dakota Austin. Mbanasor is hoping he will be able to use a little bit of Sanchez mixed in with some Thomas to help him become the guy going forward.

“When I first got here, he (Sanchez) was the guy I went to and learned the schemes,” Mbanasor said. “JT is more of the technique-sound guy and Zack is more of a risk taker so being able to learn behind both of them and implement it in my game – it was important for me to be ready when he left.”

Thomas and Sanchez were always in the ear of Mbanasor last year, telling him how much potential he has. But in the end, it’s going to be up to Mbanasor as to how this story gets told. Always his harshest critic, Mbanasor will have to learn to shake things off and look to the next play.

That’s where last year’s experience should help him because he’s not afraid to put in the work.

“It was a blessing because I could come back to practice and compete every day,” Mbanasor said.


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories