With Sooner kickoff being only 18 days away, there are many questions concerning how this Oklahoma team will look under new head coach Brent Venables. With a brand new staff, there is competition at every position, and nobody’s job is safe. Everyone has a shot at being at the top of the depth chart. Venables and co. have put these players through the ringer over the summer. Now, we are in the midst of fall camp, and players are attempting to prove themselves worthy of a starting role heading into 2022. Without further adieu, here are our projections for who will crack the starting lineup for the Sooners this season.
Oklahoma Depth Chart Prediction – Offense
- Dillon Gabriel, Jr.
- Davis Beville, Jr.
- General Booty, So.
If there is one player that is all but guaranteed a starting spot this year, it’s Junior QB Dillon Gabriel. In his career, Gabriel has passed for 8,037 yards and 70 touchdowns in only 26 games. The young playmaker now gets the opportunity to reunite with Offensive Coordinator Jeff Lebby. He already has a firm grasp of Lebby’s offense, and will more than likely be the one leading the charge this fall for the Sooners.
The bigger question is, who will be QB2? The battle appears to be between Davis Beville and General Booty. Davis Beville seems to be leading at the moment, as he has impressed many coaches with his accuracy and ability to put some zip on the ball.
- Eric Gray, Sr.
- Marcus Major, R-Jr.
- Jovantae Barnes, Fr.
- Tawee Walker, R-So.
The runningback room has seen massive improvements over the last year. A room which featured only two scholarship backs to start the 2021 season has been completely revitalized heading into the new year, and Eric Gray will likely lead the group in touches. With his elusiveness and ability to make plays in the passing game, Gray looks to rebound after a lackluster 2021 campaign.
However, Gray isn’t the only one that will see touches this year. With the up-tempo style of offense that Lebby runs, we should see a multitude of backs get their hands on the ball. Marcus Major and Jovantae Barnes are two other candidates that could receive a healthy amount of touches. Expect the ball to be distributed evenly across the board, with multiple ballcarriers with triple digit carries.
- WR-X: Marvin Mims, Jr.; Jalil Farooq, So.; Jayden Gibson, Fr.
- WR-Y: Theo Wease, R-Jr.; J.J. Hester, R-So.; Brian Darby, Jr.
- WR-Z: Drake Stoops, R-Sr.; LV Bunkley-Shelton, R-So.; Trevon West, Jr
As of right now, the clear number one in the WR room is Marvin Mims. How does the rest of the room stack up? Theo Wease returns to the fold this season after being out all of last year with a lower body injury. He and Drake Stoops look to be a veteran presence on the WR corps, and with the resignation of Coach Cale Gundy, they’ll need all the mentorship they can get.
One guy to keep and eye on as the season progresses is Sophomore wide out Jalil Farooq. Although he didn’t see much action last year, he could ultimately make a splash in 2022. He hauled in four catches for 69 yards against the Oregon Ducks in last year’s Alamo Bowl, one of only two games that he appeared in. Although he isn’t particularly a proven commodity, Farooq’s skillset could lend to him surging up the depth chart, and being a premiere wide receiver this season.
- Brayden Willis, Sr.
- Daniel Parker, Sr.
- Kaden Helms, Fr.
The tight end group at OU has no shortage of experience. 5th year senior Brayden Willis finally has the opportunity to be the lead man. Daniel Parker, a transfer from Mizzouri, also looks to get some solid playing time. The dynamic duo are excellent at opening up holes in the run game, and we will likely see them both on the field, especially near the goal line.
- Left Tackle: Anton Harrison, Jr.; Tyler Guyton, R-So.
- Left Guard: McKade Mettauer, R-Jr.; Brey Walker, R-Sr.
- Center: Andrew Raym, Jr.; Robert Congel, R-Sr.
- Right Guard: Savion Byrd, R-Fr.; Chris Murray, Sr.
- Right Tackle: Wanya Morris, Sr.; Nate Anderson, R-So.
Oklahoma’s offensive line struggled last year. They weren’t nearly physical enough, and they were pushed around at times. However, after a summer with Jerry Schmidt, they are looking to come back strong. They’ve had some time to gel with each other, and with a scheme that focuses heavily on the zone run, I expect them to take a big step up this year.
Someone to keep an eye on during fall camp is Tyler Guyton. He has received high praise from many coaches, and has been labeled as “one of the most consistent guys we have”. Don’t be surprised if Guyton manages to crack the depth chart this fall.
Oklahoma Depth Chart Prediction – Defense
- Left End: Ethan Downs, So.; Jonah Laulu, R-Sr.
- Right End: Reggie Grimes, Jr.; Marcus Stripling, Sr.
- Defensive Tackle; Jalen Redmond, R-Jr.; Jordan Kelley, R-Sr.
- Nose Tackle; Jeffery Johnson, Sr.; Isaiah Coe, Sr.
Out of every position group on the team, the defensive line definitely took the biggest hit this off-season in terms of production. Losing Nik Bonitto, Isaiah Thomas, as well as Perrion Winfrey is never a good feeling. However, the Sooners still have a ton of talent up front. Ethan Downs has all but secured a spot on the edge, and we all know the type of talent that Jalen Redmond has. I mean, who could ever forget about his “thick six” against Iowa State last season? Jeffery Johnson, a transfer from Tulane, also projects to be a starter.
One battle to look out for is the one between Reggie Grimes and Marcus Stripling. Both have been having great fall camps so far, and it’ll be very interesting as to who comes out on top between those two.
- Middle: Danny Stutsman, So.; David Ugwoegbu, Sr.
- Weak Side: Shane Whitter, Jr.; Kip Lewis, Fr.
- Strong Side: Dashaun White, Sr.; T.D. Roof, R-Sr.
- Cheetah: Justin Broiles, R-Sr.; Jaren Kanak, Fr.
Next up we have what I believe to be the bread and butter of this year’s defense, the linebacking corps. Danny Stutsmanis one of the most anticipated players on the defense this year, drawing comparisons to Teddy Lehman from coaches and media members alike. However, every other spot on the depth chart at linebacker is up for grabs. We’ve seen some great performances from guys like Dashaun White and David Ugwoegbu in the past, however, they have hungry guys right behind them, and they could easily slip up and lose their starting status from last season.
In year one of the Brent Venables era, we already see a new position on the defense, the cheetah position. Earlier in the year, we saw Justin Broiles and Jaren Kanak as the two main candidates for the role. So far it’s been a battle of epic proportions, but I had to give the edge to Justin Broiles. He has a ton of experience at several different positions, which makes him the perfect man for the job.
- Cornerback: Woodi Washington, R-Jr.; D.J. Graham, Jr.; Jaden Davis, Sr.
- Strong Safety: Key Lawrence, Jr.; Robert Spears-Jennings, Fr., Jordan Mukes, So.
- Free Safety: Billy Bowman, So.; , R-Sr.; Bryson Washington, R-So.; Kendall Dennis, R-So.
- Nickel Back: Justin Harrington, R-Sr,; Trey Morrison, Sr.; Jayden Rowe, Fr.
Last but not least, we have the defensive backs. This position has been a thorn in OU’s for quite some time now. This year, it has the potential to be a very good group, as long as everyone stays healthy. The lack of depth at safety is definitely a cause for concern. If someone were to go down with an injury, there isn’t much experience behind them.
The battle for the nickel position is still going strong, and there isn’t a clear cut number one guy yet. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Several players are playing lights out in fall camp, however, I believe that Justin Harrington will end up taking the starting role.