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. 27 – CB Dakota Austin (5-foot-19, 159 pounds)
25 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INTS, 3 PBUs
What happened last year: Austin played a back-up role in his first two years on the field. Then, he got thrust into the spotlight when Zack Sanchez missed extended time last season with an injury. After only playing in 10 games his first two years, Austin played in 11 games last year and made two starts. Austin made the first start of his career against Kansas, but in his second start, he was a star. Austin was tested a ton against Texas Tech, and he was up for the challenge. One of his two interceptions came against the Red Raiders.
Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 6. Because of last year, Austin is poised to step into a starting cornerback role, replacing Sanchez full time after filling in at spot duty last year. If he starts, he’ll be the weaker link in the secondary and join a trio of starters who made every start together last season – and all have the potential to be All-Big 12 Conference stars. He’ll be tested early and often but will likely see a lot of playing time even if he doesn’t start. He’ll be tested against Texas Tech, Houston, Ohio State, Baylor, TCU. Basically, there won’t be a single team on the schedule that doesn’t look to attack the diminutive defensive back. He can be the weak link, but Austin can’t be a weakness because right now, he’s the starter.
Best-case scenario for this season: Austin makes the start against Houston in the season opener and then 12 more starts before his career ends at Oklahoma. That’s the best option for the Sooners and Austin, who has passed P.J. Mbanasor on the depth chart. Austin has three career interceptions. He’ll have opportunities to double his career total before the end of the season. He could end the year with double-digit passes defended pretty easily.