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OU 17-for-2017: Is Will Sunderland ready to emerge for Sooners?

The OU 17-for-2017 continues looking at safety Will Sunderland and if he's ready for the spotlight.

It’s about that time again. Expectations are high. Questions abound. Yep, it’s time for Oklahoma spring football.

The Sooners, coming off an 11-2 season where they won the Big 12 championship and the Sugar Bowl, will no doubt be expected to be in the national championship and playoff hunt once again.

The calendar turns to March. The page officially turns to 2017, and although things look rosy for OU, there are still plenty of unanswered questions going forward.

What are those? That’s where Sooners Illustrated comes in. We’ll take a look at one pressing question each day leading up to OU starting spring practice March 21. The spring game is April 8.

Sooners Illustrated’s 17 questions for spring 2017

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Is Will Sunderland ready to emerge?

Everybody wants to come in from high school and start as a freshman. There’s no question about that. It’s what you do if that doesn’t occur that usually defines how things are going to pan out in the long run.

With that in mind, 2017 should be the breakout year for safety Will Sunderland. He’s waited patiently the last two years, absorbed knowledge from older players and now he’s ready to make his imprint.

Sunderland is going to be a much different safety than Ahmad Thomas was as Sunderland has more natural ball skills than Thomas. That was evidenced even last year when he made that huge interception in OU’s win against Red River rival Texas.

It was a glimpse of things to come, and those things are coming now. Sunderland has put in the work with a positive attitude. He admitted it was tough last year to watch as a freshman. But he grew from it. He did his duties on special teams and was ready if his number was called.

Sunderland became the “if” guy last year with personnel late in the season. If it was a running personnel group, then a linebacker came in. If it was an obvious passing situation, then Sunderland got the call.

He fared well there, too, in his limited opportunities. Now those opportunities won’t be so limited, and he’ll have to show that consistency.

Sunderland was a major get for OU way back when in the 2015 class. OU has found gems at the safety spot with OKPreps kids, and 2017 could be an example of that once again with Sunderland.

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