The Argyle, Texas native is the best of the Big 12's three centers on the preseason Rimington Watch List. Yet it's easy to wonder if he might have been even better if he didn't suffer two separate season-ending injuries.
Habern came in and played in three games as a true freshman backup at center before suffering his first season-ending ankle injury against Baylor. But that didn't stop him from showing glimpses of his potential by racking up nine knockdowns in nine plays against the Bears. The injury was early enough that he was able to get a medical redshirt for the season.
He gained the starting job in the second game of his redshirt freshman season and started the next 10 games before getting hit with his second season-ending ankle injury, this one against Texas Tech. But he showed enough to earn All-Big 12 Freshman honors form ESPN, getting 70 knockdowns in 741 snaps and grading out at 70 percent, tops among Sooner underclassmen with at least 200 plays.
Habern finally played a full season last year, starting all 14 games and playing a team-leading 1,070 snaps, knocking down a team-high 123 opponents. But he was far from a run-blocking plodder, grading out at 81 percent or above in pass blocking for nine games, including a 93 percent mark against both Texas and Nebraska.
He earned All-Big 12 honorable mention honors from the AP for his efforts, and enters 2011 with a chance to compete for bigger league and national honors.
2010 Stats: 123 knockdowns