Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The Revolving Door: Oklahoma
By David Ubben
Here, we'll take a look at a couple of key players going, staying and coming for each team in the Big 12.
Trent Williams, OT
Before last season, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson called Williams the best lineman he'd ever coached. Even though the offensive line heard plenty of criticism during last season, Williams parlayed his performance into a top-five selection in the NFL draft. He and Gerald McCoy were the only ones among Oklahoma's Big Four who came back after a national runner-up season in 2008 that didn't suffer a serious injury. The first-team All-American showed he was the nation's best offensive tackle last season, which was confirmed in April's draft.
Gerald McCoy, DT
McCoy was the heart of Oklahoma's top-10 defense in 2009 and stayed healthy throughout the season, unlike fellow first-round draft picks Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham. McCoy was drafted No. 3 in last month's draft after starting every game for three seasons and notching 15.5 tackles for loss in 2009.
Ryan Broyles, WR
Broyles enters his junior season as the top returning receiver in the conference. His 1,120 receiving yards on 89 catches helped spur Landry Jones' development, and he did it while missing almost two full games and playing with a still-healing fractured shoulder blade against Texas. The speedy, 5-foot-11 Broyles is one of the most dangerous players in the conference after the catch and in the open field, and could continue his punt-returning duties (first-team All-Big 12) in what should be another big year in 2010.
Travis Lewis, LB
Lewis embraced his role as the new voice and leader of the Sooners defense this spring, gearing up for a season alongside two newcomers at linebacker. Lewis led the team in tackles as a freshman (144) and sophomore (109) and could do it again in 2010. Lewis was named to the All-Big 12 first team in both seasons and it'd be surprising to not see him there again this season.
Kenny Stills, WR
Stills could help bolster a unit that, outside of Broyles, struggled in 2009. The Sooners worked all season to find a second target opposite Broyles, and may have done it in junior Dejuan Miller, but Stills showed he had potential to be an impact player as a true freshman. The early enrolling freshman came to Oklahoma as the No. 36 receiver in his class, according to Scouts Inc., but he could end up being the No. 2 receiver for the Sooners. He led all receivers in the spring game with 84 yards and a touchdown on six catches.
Bronson Irwin, OL
Oklahoma's offensive line was forced to enlist the services of walk-on Brian Lepak late last season. Irwin, who also enrolled early, could give the line the additional depth it could have used last season, but might need to use this season. The 6-foot-5, 322-pound Mustang, Okla., native came to Norman as the nation's No. 22 offensive tackle prospect, and got a jump start on his fellow incoming linemen with his work this spring.
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