Red-White: Defensive Top Five

NORMAN, Okla. -- Sooners Illustrated names our picks for the players who had the top five performances on the defensive side of the ball in Saturday's Red-White Game.

Red-White Game: Top Five Defense

Frank Alexander – Defensive End – Sophomore
Size: 6-4 - 250
Review: Alexander was just absolutely having his way with the offensive linemen and making plays in the backfield. The end position will be stacked in '09 with Beal and English coming back in'09. All-in-all he racked up 5.5 tackles, three sacks, and 2.5 tackles for a loss to earn Sooners Illustrated Co-MVP honors.

Dom Franks – Corner – Junior
Size: 6-0 – 190
Review: Franks is the king of the spring game and he helped the defense roll over the offense again by setting the tome early with a pick six on an ill advised pass from Landry Jones. He was also rock solid in his coverages and would add another interception before the day would end. He has unbelievable skills and can break on the ball in a fraction of a second.

Jeremy Beal – Defensive End – Junior
Size: 6-3 - 250
Review: Alexander made more big plays, but Beal was right there with him terrorizing ball carriers and quarterbacks behind the line of scrimmage. He racked up 4.5 tackles, 2.5 sacks, a tackle for a loss and caused a fumble that LB JR Bryant scooped up and returned for a touchdown. Beal had a nice '08 season, but he will be a player that can really make a name for himself on more of a national level if he continues with this type of play.
Mike Balogun– Linebacker – Senior
Size: 6-2 - 250
Review: Balogun was a quiet warrior on Saturday, but he was still able to lead the team in tackles with six. He also had a tackle for a loss. He is a player that received plenty of reps, and will be in the mix for a starting job in '09. If Austin Box can come back healthy then the battle for the MLB position could get very interesting very fast.

J.R. Bryant – Linebacker – Senior
Size: 6-3 - 230
Review: Bryant was not a player that many expected to make such a name for himself in the game, but he was lighting running backs up in the backfield and played with a lot of fire all day long as he tries to put his name in consideration for playing time in 2009. After watching what he can do it almost makes you want to see him take a red-shirt year so that he can push for a starting job in 2010, but he may be too valuable as back-up linebacker and special teams contributor to consider it.

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