Figuring out which players to redshirt and which true freshman to have on the field can be a delicate decision. Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops said he’d have every true freshman player, if that were possible.
Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said it varies by player, and sometimes a coach can see the answer in a player’s eyes. When the Oklahoma coaching staff sits down, they ask two questions, Riley said.
Is he ready?
Is there a need?
If you’re not on the practice field, it’s tough to tell if a player is ready for game action. But we can examine Oklahoma’s roster and what players and coaches have said this preseason to get an idea of will take that first year off.
Justin Hite from Sooners Illustrated takes a stab at the big question: Will he redshirt?
Abdul Adams, RB: No … Adams is likely to step in as the Sooners No. 3 running back. Even if Rodney Anderson hadn’t been injured, Adams likely wouldn’t have taken a redshirt.
Amani Bledsoe, DE: No … Of all the freshmen on this list, Bledsoe seems to be gaining the most late-camp steam. There’s less than less talk about Du’Vonta Lampkin and Austin Roberts and more and more about Bledsoe, who could be playing his way into the three-deep.
Parrish Cobb, CB: No … Defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks said as recently as this week that Cobb has some skills that can’t be taught. After being slowed by a quad injury through the first portion of training camp, Cobb has come on as of late. He’s likely in the three-deep at this point.
Zach Farrar, WR: Yes … Oklahoma was likely going to redshirt one of its two incoming receivers in this class. The answer likely isn’t Farrar (see further down the list). Taking a redshirt isn’t a bad thing though (see Mark Andrews).
Mark Jackson, LB: Yes … The receiver argument applies to Jackson as well. Jackson will likely only lose his redshirt because of injury with Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Ricky DeBerry ahead of him on the depth chart.
Mykel Jones, WR: No ... Seems pretty obvious at this point. Jones has been the talk of camp amongst the freshmen and might slot in behind Jarvis Baxter or another receiver in the slot immediately.
Caleb Kelly, LB: No … Count Kelly among the half dozen or so true freshmen who have been banged up sometime during preseason camp. He’s the highest-rated defensive commit since 2009 and likely was never taking a redshirt in the first place. He’ll be in the rotation at SAM linebacker, right behind Kapri Doucet it appears.
Austin Kendall, QB: No … Early enrollee, back-up quarterback: This is the easiest to figure out.
Parnell Motley, DB: Yes … Too much depth, no need for Motley to play.
Jordan Parker: CB: Yes … Just like Motley. There’s not a huge need now. There could be next year though.
Logan Roberson, C: Yes … With the surprise emergence of Erick Wren at center, there’s not really need for Roberson to play even one snap this season.
Erik Swenson, OL: Yes … Oklahoma has a ton of young depth at tackle and solid veterans in the rotation. It’ll be Swenson’s time soon enough, just not right now.
Chanse Sylvie, S: No … Enrolling early really helped Sylvie get on the field early, and he’s currently running second behind Will Johnson and nickel back. If Oklahoma goes with a “big nickel,” like it might against Ohio State, Sylvie could see significant playing time.
Jon-Michael Terry, LB: No … Curtis Bolton won’t play in the season opener, but Emmanuel Beal seems to be sitting at No. 2 behind Tay Evans. Terry won’t play significant snaps without an injury, but he certainly fits into that category of “ready to play.”