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. 98 – DT Marquise Overton (6-foot-2, 315 pounds)
5 tackles, 1 sack
What happened last year: After getting incredible reviews as a true freshman in fall camp, Overton was a consistent back-up behind Matthew Romar at defensive tackle. Like many other defensive tackles in an odd front, Overton’s statistics don’t exactly show his effectiveness on the field. He became a really stout run stuffer and should only grow this offseason. Overton was good enough to get significant reps on the line as a true freshman at Oklahoma. That’s probably a pretty good sign.
Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 7. Overton will no doubt see a major spike in snaps in his second year at Oklahoma, and he’ll be required to make a major jump – especially because he’ll might be Oklahoma’s best weapon when it come to stopping the run. With a new middle linebacker and Jordan Evans sliding into a new position, Overton will be counted on to hog up blockers at the line of scrimmage. He could do it last year so there’s not reason to think that he won’t be just a little bit better this season. If Oklahoma is going to get a push on the defensive line, it’ll have to be aided by a strong duo in the middle. Romar and Overton can provide that, and they’ll likely be counted on to provide it equally split between the two of them.
Best-case scenario for this season: Romar is the starter, and there’s no changing that. But Overton could definitely earn a 50-50 split in terms of plays. The coaching staff seemed to trust Overton last year before he even played a game with the Sooners. So after a full offseason of workouts, it would only be logical that Overton would earn more playing time. Overton could earn a start by the end of the season, especially if Oklahoma likes a matchup against a run-oriented team like Texas or Kansas State. There’s the off chance that Overton could leave this season as the starter at nose guard going into his junior season. Although, that would probably be caused by a complete lack of faith in Romar (no likely) than any significant improvement by Overton.