Position: Running Back
Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 214 lbs
Hometown: Marietta, GA
Ranking: 185th overall – 12th at his position (4-Star)
How do you rebuild your running game after losing Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon? You start with Sprayberry High School product, Trey Sermon. Sermon had his fair share of offers from around the country, but announced his verbal commitment to the Sooners in early April of 2016. Like recent running backs that have come through Oklahoma, Sermon is tall, rangy, and a very versatile athlete.
Sermon has a frame that is similar to a guy like Joe Mixon, however, his skills as a runner compare more to someone like Ezekiel Elliot. A nose-first, physical back that is going to hit running lanes hard and fight for yards after contact. One thing that stands out with Sermon, while maybe not having elite speed, is that he is a tremendously athletic back. If you’re watching the HUDL film, you’ll notice that he does not allow many defenders to attack his legs. He accomplishes this by either making cuts or by initiating contact himself. In other words, he’s controlling the how he wants to be hit. This allows him to control of his center of gravity, plant firmly, and fight through contact. It won’t be as easy at the next level, but these are good mechanics to build on.
As mentioned above, Sermon doesn’t have blazing speed, but he is fast nonetheless. To add to his overall speed and power, Sermon’s elusiveness is slightly underrated. He shows great vision and a natural ability to hit cut back lanes through traffic. This skill set should transfer over nicely to the next level, but as stated above, it won’t be easy. Sermon will need to acclimate to the speed of the college game, as well as develop his body over the spring and summer.
That being said, he won’t see his fair share of snaps until he can prove one thing: the ability to pass block. If you don’t have Riley’s trust as a pass blocker, it is hard to see consistent time on the field. The most under-appreciated aspect of Perine’s game was his ability to keep Baker Mayfield clean in the pocket and on the run. A shining example of this? Perine’s final game as a Sooner. As Mayfield escaped the pocket, he was being pursued closely by one of Auburn’s defensive lineman. Perine stayed with the play to put a devastating block on the Auburn defender, giving Mayfield time to throw downfield. That is what coaches want to see from their backs and Sermon will get the opportunity to build that trust with both Lincoln Riley and Baker Mayfield.
To wrap things up here, Sermon has a lot of upside the Sooners hope to see in the Spring Game. Oklahoma has the added luxury of developing him early over the offseason as he enrolled early. If all goes as planned, Sermon should be seeing ample amount of playing time as a true-freshman.