During the next two months leading up to the Big 12 Media Days in Dallas, Sooners Illustrated will breakdown the Oklahoma Sooners roster, starting with Jarvis Baxter (No. 1 on the roster) and working all the way down to Marquise Overton (No. 98) and the incoming freshmen.
We’ll look at last year’s performance, the best-case scenario for this season – without projecting injuries – and what each player means to the short-term or long-term success of the Sooners.
No. 25 – RB Joe Mixon (6-foot-1, 226 pounds)
753 rushing yards, 6.7 yards per carry, 7 rushing touchdowns, 356 receiving yards, 4 receiving touchdowns
What happened last year: After sitting out his first year on campus with a suspension, Mixon very quickly showed why he was so highly touted coming out of high school. He averaged more than seven yards per touch and was a superb receiver out of the backfield. He became Oklahoma’s most versatile weapon because Samaje Perine isn’t a dynamo as a receiver and Sterling Shepard didn’t have too many carries. Opponents had to find Mixon on the field every play.
Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 8. Each of the past two years have brought more injury concerns for Perine, and as a result, the No. 2 running back in the Oklahoma offense couldn’t be more important than it is right now. The Sooners don’t want to run Perine into the ground, and they clearly have a weapon that needs to be used more often in Mixon, who has a good chance to play his way into the NFL Draft if he wants to leave Oklahoma early. With Shepard gone and Perine wearing down a bit from an immense amount of carries, Mixon’s importance is as high as ever as well. There won’t be a single receiver that can replace Shepard’s impact, but Mixon is the player that can counteract Shepard’s loss.
Best-case scenario for this season: Like a lot of third-year players on the Oklahoma roster, the perfect season for Mixon ends with him in the NFL this time next year. He obviously has the talent, and with a public relations nightmare still looming, it might be best for him to make the move when he can. Statistically, there’s no reason to think that Mixon can’t score 15 touchdowns this season and eclipse 1,500 yards of total offense. That mark seems well within reach, as long as Oklahoma does in fact take some burden off of Perine.