image via AthlonSports.com
Things starting to ramp back as football season approaches. Before we get into Big 12 Media Days and fall camp, let’s make some way too early predictions for the Sooners.
CeeDee Lamb has a better year than Jeffery Mead:
There is a lot of hype and expectation around Jeffery Mead after the Spring Game. The senior wide receiver has certainly shown flashes of being a true playmaker on the outside, but has never accounted for more than 216 yards and 4 TD’s during his time in Norman. Now, enter true-freshman, CeDarian (CeeDee) Lamb. One of the top prospects in all of Texas last season, Lamb accrued a staggering 98 receptions for 2032 yards and 33 touchdowns. His physical talents alone are intriguing, but add his attitude toward the game and Oklahoma has what may be their best freshman wide receiver since Kenny Stills.
Oklahoma will not have a 1000 yard rusher, but will have three backs rush for over 500 yards each:
For the first time since 2000, Oklahoma does not return a running back with at least 500 yards from the previous season. That isn’t to say there isn’t potential — Oklahoma has always recruited well at the position — but it is for the most part unproven. Rodney Anderson looks to be the starter but even then, it looks like it will be running back by committee season until someone firmly takes the reigns. What does that mean? Well for one, instead of a 50/50 split like you saw with Perine and Mixon, you may see something like 50/30/10/10 or 40/20/20/20. This will cut the chances of backs breaking the 1000 yard mark, but for the first time since 2007, Oklahoma may have three guys rush for over 500 yards a piece.
Baker Mayfield starts out hot…
Last season, Mayfield had a very pedestrian start that was partially responsible for the Sooners’ 1-2 start. That won’t be the case this time around, mostly because he cannot afford it. Without playmakers Samaje Perine, Joe Mixon, and Dede Westbrook, the pressure is solely on Mayfield to get the Oklahoma offense down the field. Fortunately for the Sooners, Mayfield is a guy that thrives under pressure.
Look for him to make an early statement for this year’s Heisman Trophy.
Neville Gallimore and Du’Vonta Lampkin find consistency:
The Sooners’ have talent along the defensive line, but the group has never really hit it’s stride. Second-year defensive line coach, Calvin Thibodeaux will look to change that. Thibodeaux is a guy that has high expectations for his guys and from what I’ve heard coming out spring workouts, his players have really embraced the expectations. Two names to watch: Neville Gallimore and Du’Vonta Lampkin. Both have shown flashes, but again, haven’t been consistent week-to-week. Now in their second year under Thibodeaux, they take a big leap forward.
Freshman Robert Barnes will win the free safety spot:
With the suspension of Will Sunderland, the starting free safety spot is wide open. Will Johnson, Kahlil Haughton, Chanse Sylvie and Prentice McKinney all have some experience under their belt, but newcomer, Robert Barnes may be the name to watch. A 5-star prospect per 247Sports, Barnes will be the highest rated safety Oklahoma has brought in since Tony Jefferson. He stands 6’3″, 194-pounds and moves at a pace of a 4.6, 40. It may not be until Big 12 play, but Barnes will have every opportunity to win starting job.