Big 12: Marquis Anderson

Opening spring practice: Oklahoma

March, 21, 2011
3/21/11
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Schedule: Oklahoma opens spring practice Monday at 4:40 p.m. ET and will play its spring game on April 16. The first 15 minutes of Monday's practice are open to the media, but the remainder of the practices until the spring game will be closed.

What’s new: Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, responsible for the highest-scoring offense in college football history in 2008, took the head coaching job at Indiana. Replacing him for the Sooners are co-coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell. Heupel has been with the program since 2006 as the quarterbacks coach, and won a national title at OU in 2000. Wilson was with the team for its Fiesta Bowl win, but Heupel called the plays for the Sooners and will do so in 2011. Norvell has coached receivers at Oklahoma since 2008.

On the mend: Running back Roy Finch looks like the favorite to replace DeMarco Murray as Oklahoma's featured back, but surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot suffered during bowl practices will keep him out during the spring. Starting fullback Trey Millard is also out for spring practices after minor surgery.

On the move: Defensive back Aaron Colvin played some in spot duty as a true freshman in 2010, but opens the spring as the Sooners' starting strong safety. He was expected to replace last season's starting corner, Jamell Fleming, who is not enrolled and won't be back until the fall semester at the earliest after reported academic misconduct. The corner job went to Gabe Lynn, who enters the spring with little on-field experience.

New faces: Running back Brandon Williams enrolled early and will start the spring at No. 2 on the depth chart at running back. Quarterback Kendal Thompson is also in camp as an early enrollee alongside Marquis Anderson, a third signee from the 2011 class.

Breaking out: Nickel back Tony Jefferson. You could make the argument that he's already broken out as the co-Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2010, but he's hardly a household name across the country or even the conference. That could change fast for Jefferson, who looks like his sophomore year could mean dropping the "rising" from his status as a rising star.

Don’t forget about: Sophomore receiver Kenny Stills. His teammate Ryan Broyles gets all the headlines, but Stills showed plenty of potential in his first season on the field, giving Oklahoma a much-needed second option in the passing game. He started all 14 games as a true freshman and broke Broyles' freshman receiving record with 786 yards and five touchdowns on 61 receptions.

All eyes on: The defensive lines and secondary. It's a "National Championship or Bust" kind of year for the Sooners, who may well debut at No. 1 in the preseason polls next fall. If one thing stops them from winning it all, it will be a lack of experience up front or troubles defending the pass without their top corner, Fleming. Stacy McGee, Jamarkus McFarland, Daniel Noble and Casey Walker will be in the rotation at defensive tackle, and have to help collapse the pocket and stop the run. Junior Demontre Hurst played well as a sophomore, but if Fleming doesn't return, Lynn and Colvin will have to be solid alongside experienced safeties Javon Harris and Sam Proctor to slow the prolific Big 12 passing offenses.

Who enrolled early across the Big 12?

January, 18, 2011
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The semester is just beginning. Last week in some places, today in others. Some programs have welcomed in new members, new college freshmen that are eager to get their careers started after being in high school just a month ago.

It's perhaps most valuable among quarterbacks -- notable in the case of Florida's Tim Tebow and Baylor's Robert Griffin, to quickly name a couple -- but here's who checked in to campus early and will likely take part in spring practice in a few months.

Keep an eye out for possible future stars among this group.

Colorado
Iowa State
Kansas
Missouri
Oklahoma
Oklahoma State
Texas A&M
Texas Tech

Texas Tech, Oklahoma snag big weekend commits

May, 10, 2010
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Bradley Marquez, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound running back from Odessa, Texas, committed to Texas Tech. The 2011 ESPNU 150 Watch List member chose the Red Raiders over Texas A&M, Baylor and Arizona, among others. Oklahoma also showed interest, but pulled their scholarship offer in February.

Marquez's commitment is more evidence that Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville's history with running backs is paying off on the recruiting trail. Marquez is the second ESPNU 150 Watch List running back to pledge to play for Tuberville. Kenny Williams, a 5-foot-10, 210-pounder from Pflugerville, Texas, committed to the Red Raiders in March.

"I didn’t see myself going anywhere but Tech,’’ Marquez told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “I love the coaches. Coach Tuberville’s history with running backs shows, and his record.’’

Tuberville sent several running backs through to the NFL from Auburn, including Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown, who shared carries, as well as Rudi Johnson.

The prospect of competition obviously doesn't scare Marquez or Williams, and should give the Red Raiders continued depth in the backfield. This year's team will feature senior Baron Batch, junior Aaron Crawford and sophomores Harrison Jeffers and Eric Stephens.

Marquez's commitment gives the Red Raiders 11 total recruits for the 2011 class.

Oklahoma also nabbed a commitment over the weekend. Marquis Anderson, a 6-foot-2, 260-pound defensive tackle from Cibolo, Texas. Anderson is also a member of the ESPNU 150 Watch List and gives the Sooners 12 committments for 2011.

Anderson chose the Sooners over a host of Big 12 teams including Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, as well as TCU.

Lunch links: Big 12/Pac-10 alliance in the works?

May, 7, 2010
5/07/10
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