Last season the Sooners signed one of the top recruiting classes in the country. And as always, when a great class comes in there are great expectations as to what kind of impact that class will immediately have for the Sooners. Thus far, Bob Stoops has proven to play the best players, no matter their age, and that has been proven every year that Stoops has been the head coach.
However, the 2004 Sooners are the most experienced squad since Stoops took over as head coach. With depth and talented upper classmen at every position, there weren't many opportunities for the freshman class. Running backs Adrian Peterson and D.J. Wolfe proved to be so talented that they jumped to the top third of the depth chart, and are the only freshmen playing at this time.
That doesn't mean that this freshman class isn't talented, quite the contrary. The 2004 freshman class is considered the most talented class of the Stoops era. Most of the group works on the scout team, but every Monday they get a chance to scrimmage and show off their skills. Who is standing out at this point? Many of the names aren't going to surprise you.
Quarterback Rhett Bomar has been fantastic during those scrimmages and every time he takes the he is trying to win. Bomar plays in those scrimmages as if he is quarterbacking the Sooners in the Cotton Bowl. Bomar is a tremendous passer and he has a great knack in the passing game. His understanding of the passing game is poised way beyond his years. Bomar has earned the respect of his teammates and coaches because of his work ethic and his ability under fire. His future is very bright. He is on course to compete for the starting job next year.
At wide receiver Quentin Chaney drew early praise in camp and he deserved it. Chaney was great in camp early and has continued to play well. However, I have told you from day one at camp that the future great at wide receiver is going to be Lendy Holmes. Holmes is the best pure athlete in the freshman class, and now that he is working at wide receiver every day he is beginning to apply that great athletic ability to the position. Holmes is so athletic that he could contend for a future starting job at either wide receiver or cornerback, and it won't be surprising if he is not going both ways in the future. Holmes has been one of the brightest stars at camp catching two long TD passes from Bomar. One of the TDs was a 70-yard fly route that Holmes flew by the secondary, and the other was a 45-yard pass and run on a short crossing route. Holmes also matches up with backup corners Chijioke Onyenegecha and Jowahn Poteat on a routine bases and beats them as much as he gets covered, and that is saying something considering that Chijioke has worked his way up to part-time playing status at this time. So, when you are taking names for future greats at OU put the name of Lendy Holmes on that list and highlight it.
On the offensive line, J.D. Quinn, Cameron Schacht and Randy McAdams all have good futures at OU, but it needs to be the future. All three need to get bigger and stronger, and in McAdams case needs to get tougher. Quinn and Schacht will fight you from start to finish and they want to learn. They work every hard and always stay late after practice. Quinn will definitely be a guard at OU, but Schacht works at both guard and tackle. McAdams is talented and works hard, but again needs to mature. It is a blessing that he gets to redshirt at this time and right now his future is unknown. He competes hard, but again needs to get tougher.
Defensive tackle Cory Bennett is going through is first year at defensive tackle and it shows sometimes. However, he is a great competitor and that is half the battle at defensive tackle. He needs to get bigger and stronger and he will in time. Bennett plays hard and loves to play football. He always gives a good account of himself, but a good redshirt year is a must. OU defensive tackle coach Jackie Shipp likes Bennett a lot and feels that he is going to have a good future.
Cornerback Marcus Walker was so good in camp that in most years he would be playing on Saturday's. However, it turns out the Sooners have some good quality depth at cornerback and it wasn't necessary for him to play as a freshman. Walker has all the skills to be a great corner. He competes very hard in every single drill and always stands out in those scrimmages. Walker is very intelligent and competes much like Derrick Strait did as a freshman on the scout team. He is working to get better every day and he is testing himself against the varsity receivers every day. If this guy is not a star in the future it will be a major upset.
Safety Brett Bowers is another that needs to get bigger and stronger. However, he is a very intelligent player that loves to compete. It is tough to play safety at OU and Bowers is learning that first hand. He has landed some good licks during the scrimmages, but needs to get better in pass coverage. That is not unusual for freshmen safeties who have to adjust to the speed of the collegiate wide receivers. Bowers has the talent to be a good one in the future.
These are just a few of the highlights among the young players during practice thus far. Obviously, we didn't mention every player, but that doesn't mean they aren't playing well. One thing is for certain even though most of this recruiting class is redshirting their future is bright, and so is that of the OU Football.
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