Dallas Colleges: OU Crimson Countdown 2014

Crimson Countdown: DT Matthew Romar

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
10:00
AM CT
This summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on the Oklahoma Sooners' roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 92 Matthew Romar, defensive tackle, 6-foot, 287 pounds, redshirt freshman

Impact thus far: Romar redshirted during his freshman season in 2013.

Impact in 2014: Romar should provide depth along the Sooners’ defensive line. It would be a surprise if he earns a bigger role, but he did have a solid spring and is already showing signs he can be a contributor on OU’s defensive line during his career.

Long term upside: Don’t expect a major impact as a redshirt freshman but Romar has the ability to be a three-year contributor and emerge as a key asset along OU’s defensive front for the next few years.

Evaluation grade for Romar: C. It’s early to grade Romar but it would be a surprise if he never makes an impact for OU after having a solid spring following a redshirt campaign. The talent in front of him in 2014 is likely to have more to do with his lack of an impact than a lack of ability on his part.

Development grade for Romar: A. Even though the Sooners lost Jordan Phillips to injury during the season, a redshirt year for Romar was the right move. Now he has four full seasons to emerge as a impact player after one season in the strength and conditioning program.

Crimson Countdown: T Derek Farniok

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
10:00
AM CT
During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 72 Derek Farniok, tackle, 6-foot-9, 329 pounds, junior

Impact thus far: Farniok made his biggest impact with a start against Oklahoma State in the Sooners’ 2013 Bedlam win at Boone Pickens Stadium. In 2011, he redshirted. He played a special teams role as a redshirt freshman in 2012 then played in four games as a sophomore, including the lone start of his career.

Impact in 2014: Farniok should play a backup role at tackle for the Sooners with veterans Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams manning the position. He clearly has a ways to go in his development, but his start against the Cowboys was a sign he could contribute this fall and expand his role in 2015.

Long term upside: It all depends on Farniok’s continued development. Even with OU bringing in talented tackles around him, Farniok has the ability to be a contributor if he responds to the competition.

Evaluation grade for Farniok: C. He hasn’t starred, but he hasn’t disappointed either. Farniok enters his junior season with a start under his belt, even though a pair of veterans have stood between him and playing time since he stepped on campus.

Development grade for Farniok: A. OU has given Farniok opportunities to play in a backup role behind Thompson and Williams and even threw him into the mix in short-yardage situations. Can’t really ask for much more from the Sooners’ development approach.

Crimson Countdown: RB Daniel Brooks

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
11:00
AM CT
During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 34 Daniel Brooks, running back, 5-foot-8, 185 pounds, sophomore

Impact thus far: Brooks has never played in a game for the Sooners. He redshirted during the 2012 season after injuring his ACL in high school then didn’t get any playing time as a redshirt freshman in 2013.

Impact in 2014: Brooks will have to force his way onto the field. He's in competition with several talented, young running backs for playing time this fall. There's is minimal experience returning at running back.

Long-term upside: Brooks is talented and showed flashes of ability during the spring game. Nonetheless he faces a tough road to playing time at running back in 2014 and beyond.

Evaluation grade for Brooks: C. Ideally, Brooks would have had some type of impact thus far, even if he just played a role on special teams. After all, several of his fellow 2012 signees are the foundation of OU’s 2014 title hopes, including receiver Sterling Shepard, quarterback Trevor Knight and defensive end Charles Tapper. And several 2013 signees surpassed his productivity in one year on campus. Brooks still has time to make an impact, but he’s clearly looking up at other signees of his class.

Development grade for Brooks: C. The Sooners could have given him a little playing time a year ago, particularly in blowout games, yet chose not to give him playing time. That said, the Sooners have given opportunities to several other players, so the lack of opportunities could fall on Brooks' shoulders as much as anyone else.
During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 29 Rashod Favors, defensive end, 6-foot-1, 253 pounds, senior

Impact thus far: Favors' impact has been minimal during his first four years on campus and featured a position change. After a redshirt season in 2010, he played in one game in 2011 as a linebacker. ... In 2012, he had the lone production of his career with 10 tackles, including 1.5 sacks, in nine games played. ... In 2013, he played in 12 games, largely in a special teams role. He’s played in 22 career games with zero starts heading into his final season in crimson and cream.

Impact in 2014: Expect Favors to play a similar role to 2013 when he saw spot duty on defense and played a special teams role. He should be a contributor but it would be a surprise if he earns a start this fall.

Long term upside: He’s a contributor, not a game changer, but his experience could prove useful as a senior.

Evaluation grade for Favors: D. He’s a contributor, but entering his senior season without a start drops this grade below average. Favors has played in 22 games as a Sooner, which cannot be overlooked, but more is expected from a Sooners’ signee.

Development grade for Favors: C. Favors flashed some pass-rush ability early in his career but wasn’t moved to the defensive line until his junior season. Yet it’s hard to say he hasn’t gotten opportunities because he has gotten some chances on defense, but other players have simply outperformed him.

Crimson Countdown: RB Alex Ross

July, 4, 2014
Jul 4
10:00
AM CT
During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 28 Alex Ross, running back, 6-foot-1, 221 pounds, sophomore

Impact thus far: Ross hasn’t made a major impact despite impressing behind closed doors in practice. After a redshirt season in 2012, he played in 10 games in 2013, mostly on special teams, ending the season with three carries for 19 yards.

Impact in 2014: Ross had a strong spring, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him earn some carries this fall. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see him duplicate his 2013 production with so many talented running backs on the roster. But, regardless of how much talent is on the roster, Ross will be hard to keep off the field if he starts to maximize his potential.

Long term upside: His size/speed combination is hard to match. If he's healthy, he could become a critical piece in the Sooners' offense in the next few years.

Evaluation grade for Ross: C. Even though he’s impressed in practice, Ross has yet to show that potential during his opportunities in spring games or last season. Until he starts to produce, this grade will rise no higher than average.

Development grade for Ross: C. It wouldn’t have been the worst idea to get him more carries in 2013, but he has to play his part in earning those opportunities. Keith Ford’s rise up the depth chart is a sign that the opportunity to play is there if someone is focused on grabbing it.

Quotable: “I paid my dues and waited my time. I felt like I needed time to get acclimated to everything around here. I feel like I’ve matured a little bit just in getting bigger and knowing what to do in my part," said Ross, on the chance to play in 2014.

Crimson Countdown: K Michael Hunnicutt

June, 23, 2014
Jun 23
10:00
AM CT
During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

[+] EnlargeMichael Hunnicutt
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsOklahoma has one of the best placekickers in the country in senior Michael Hunnicutt.
No. 18 Michael Hunnicutt, kicker, 6-foot-1, 178 pounds, senior

Impact thus far: Hunnicutt rivals any player on the roster in terms of his impact on the program during his career. He completely stabilized the Sooners' kicking game when he took over place kicking duties in 2011. Hunnicutt made 21 of 24 field goals as a freshman, 17 of 21 field goals as a sophomore and 24 of 27 field goals as a junior. He’s made 86.1 percent of his career field goal attempts, including 72.7 percent of his attempts from 40 yards or longer (8 of 11) and 97.5 percent of his career PATs (159 of 163).

Impact in 2014: Hunnicutt should continue to be one of the nation’s top kickers and give the Sooners piece of mind that they will get points every time they drive inside the opponent’s 30-yard line.

Long term upside: The senior is already among the nation’s best at his position. It could be an All-American final season for Hunnicutt.

Evaluation grade for Hunnicutt: B. The Sooners didn’t give him a scholarship out of high school, the lone reason they don’t get an A. But he was a walk-on who has made a major impact in every season of his career.

Development grade for Hunnicutt: A. Even though he was a walk-on the Sooners didn’t hesitate to give him the starting job as soon as he earned it as a redshirt freshman. And they promptly put him on scholarship.

Quotable: “Michael has been excellent all spring. He has been great and I think he is within an eyelash of being a First Team All-American a year ago. He is set to have a big year.” -- coach Bob Stoops after the spring game.

Crimson Countdown: Jordan Smallwood

June, 20, 2014
Jun 20
11:00
AM CT
During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 17 Jordan Smallwood, receiver, 6-foot-2, 218 pounds, redshirt freshman

Impact thus far: A foot injury kept Smallwood off the field in 2013, forcing a redshirt season. He was one of the stars of the summer in 2013 and appeared poised to play as a freshman before the preseason injury.

Impact in 2014: Smallwood should be a contributor on a Sooners offense in need of threats at the receiver position. His size, athleticism, route running and ball skills should make him an intriguing option for the coaching staff. Don’t cement his name in the starting lineup, but it would be a surprise if he’s not a contributor.

Long-term upside: It remains to be seen just how high Smallwood’s upside will be for the Sooners. He brings terrific traits and could become a quarterback’s best friend during his career with his size and ball skills. He should be a three-year contributor at the very least.

Evaluation grade for Smallwood: C. All signs are pointing toward Smallwood getting a terrific evaluation, but he hasn’t done anything in crimson and cream quite yet. If he can live up to the praise he has received so far, this grade will rise.

Development grade for Smallwood: NA. His development was taken out of OU’s hands with his injury. But the redshirt season could turn out to be the best development for Smallwood and OU.

Quotable: “Jordan is a guy that is going to be fighting for a starting job next year and will surely be playing a lot.” — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops

Crimson Countdown: CB Zack Sanchez

June, 19, 2014
Jun 19
11:00
AM CT
During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

[+] EnlargeZack Sanchez
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiCan OU cornerback Zack Sanchez build on his solid freshman season?
No. 15 Zack Sanchez, cornerback, 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, sophomore

Impact thus far: After redshirting in 2012, Sanchez was the surprise of the defense in 2013. He made a major jump from the spring to the fall and became a starter on OU’s defense after leaving the spring as an afterthought. He started all 13 games, finishing with 46 tackles, 13 pass breakups and two interceptions. He earned FWAA Freshman All-American honors.

Impact in 2014: Sanchez will have to step up his leadership as the lone veteran at cornerback with Aaron Colvin’s departure. The Sooners will count on him to be the most dependable and trustworthy cover man on the squad this fall.

Long term upside: If Sanchez continues to develop he should be an all-conference performer and four-year starter. His competitive nature and ability to forget previous miscues rank among his best traits.

Evaluation grade for Sanchez: A. The Sooners began their pursuit of Sanchez late in the recruiting process, thanks largely to the arrival of Mike Stoops, who liked Sanchez's ball skills and versatility. He has rewarded Stoops' belief in his ability by starting every college game he has played in.

Development grade for Sanchez: A. Redshirting Sanchez during his first season was the right move, particularly with Colvin and Demontre Hurst manning the cornerback spot in 2012. The season in the background allowed Sanchez to get comfortable at the cornerback position after playing receiver and safety in high school.

Quotable: “We have to get more consistent play out of him, even as good as he was at making big plays, he just has to be a more consistent player. He has to focus on what he looks at and training his eyes. His eyes get him in trouble a lot. He just has to continue to improve.” -- Stoops on how Sanchez can improve as a sophomore.

Crimson Countdown: QB Cody Thomas

June, 18, 2014
Jun 18
11:00
AM CT
During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 14 Cody Thomas, quarterback, 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, redshirt freshman

Impact thus far: Thomas redshirted as a freshman, running the scout team for much of the season.

Impact in 2014: Thomas is in the battle to back up starter Trevor Knight. He had solid moments in the spring but needs to take some steps forward to secure the backup job and give the the coaching staff some peace of mind.

Long term upside: Thomas, who also plays baseball for the Sooners, is talented and his athleticism is underrated, largely due to his size. He’s the ideal dual-threat type of quarterback the Sooners have tried to secure in recent years on the recruiting trail. But Knight stands between him and a starting role -- not to mention Baker Mayfield’s arrival -- so Thomas has plenty of work to do before he sees the field. But if and when he does, he should be productive.

Evaluation grade for Thomas: C . It’s too early to know just how good Thomas can be, but his talent is unquestioned. If he’s able to handle playing two sports and excel behind center to provide a quality backup for a couple of seasons until he gets his opportunity, this grade will rise.

Development grade for Thomas: A. A redshirt season was perfect for Thomas even though the Sooners were playing musical chairs in 2013. No matter how inconsistent the Sooners passing game was a year ago, Thomas wasn’t ready to help.

Quotable: “Cody’s an excellent athlete, he does a really good job, throws some good balls and is moving well. He’s running that scout team really well right now.” -- OU coach Bob Stoops during Thomas’ redshirt season.

Crimson Countdown: DB Ahmad Thomas

June, 17, 2014
Jun 17
11:00
AM CT
During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 13 Ahmad Thomas, defensive back, 6-foot, 218 pounds, sophomore

Impact thus far: Thomas didn’t make a clear impact on the Sooners as a true freshman, but his progress and improvement was evident. He played a significant role on special teams and spent more time on the defensive side of the ball in the later part of the season. He played in 12 games and had nine tackles, including one tackle for loss.

Impact in 2014: Arguably the star of the spring for the Sooners, Thomas is poised to become an impact performer as a sophomore. He’s talented, versatile and getting more and more comfortable in OU's scheme with each passing day. It would be a surprise for him to spend the majority of the 2014 season watching from the sidelines like he did in 2013. OU lined him up at safety and nickelback during the spring, and he should be ability to play several different roles for Mike Stoops' defense this fall.

Long-term upside: Thomas has all-conference talent and is developing like the Sooners would hope to see from a young player. If he continues the progress he has made during his time on campus he should be a core contributor for at least two seasons and be a likely All-Big 12 honoree at some point in his career.

Evaluation grade for Thomas: B. The only reason this grade is not an "A" is the lack of actual production from Thomas thus far. All signs point to this grade rising to an "A" before his career is over. He earned a role on special teams as a freshman and even worked his way onto the field on defense during the Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. Add the consistent praise from the coaching staff and teammates during the spring and Thomas looks like a terrific evaluation who is poised to be part of the foundation of the defense.

Development grade for Thomas: B. Not too much to bicker about here. The Sooners could have put Thomas in the mix on defense more, particularly when games were in hand. Outside of that small change, Thomas got 12 games worth of experience as a special teamer and did see some time on defense as a freshman. That experience has helped put him in the position to help OU’s defense as a sophomore.

Quotable: “He’s a guy that can do a lot of different things. As a young player, you don’t want to throw too much at them, too fast. But I think Ahmad has a good feel for his position and we can start moving him around.” -- Stoops on Thomas’ versatility.

Crimson Countdown: WR Derrick Woods

June, 16, 2014
Jun 16
11:00
AM CT
During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Woods
Crystal LoGiudice/USA TODAY SportsDerrick Woods only had two catches in 2013 but has shown his development as a receiver.
No. 12 Derrick Woods, receiver, 6-foot-1, 189 pounds, sophomore

Impact thus far: Woods hasn’t made a major impact during his two years on campus but has flashed terrific ability at various moments during his young career. After redshirting in 2012, Woods was a core member of the Sooners special teams and showed potential as a receiver. He finished with two receptions for 29 yards in 11 games in 2013.

Impact in 2014: If Woods continues the steady improvement he’s shown during his first two years, he should make an impact at receiver this fall. His 20-yard reception in the Sugar Bowl was a glimpse at his playmaking potential.

Long term upside: Woods is another one of the talented receivers in the Sooners meeting room who has not started to turn his upside into production. But, ability-wise, he looks like a guy with the potential to be a key contributor for the next three seasons and a potential all-conference player.

Evaluation grade for Woods: B. He earned a special teams role as a redshirt freshman and seems to be getting more and more comfortable as a receiver after starring at several different positions in high school. Most schools recruited him as a defensive back, but the Sooners’ willingness to keep him at receiver could pay off.

Development grade for Woods: A. Outside of just throwing him into the mix at receiver as a redshirt freshman, there probably wasn’t a better development arc for Woods. As the season progressed, Woods did start seeing the field more and more on offense and redshirting him during his true freshman season was the right move.

Quotable: “He didn’t play a lot but he played an important role in that Alabama game. He came in on that big pass, which was as important of a play in that game. Now he just has to transport that into his play all the time. He’s been a big play threat on the field; he just has to do that consistently.” -- Receivers coach Jay Norvell on what Woods needs to do to take the next step as a sophomore.

Crimson Countdown: TE Blake Bell

June, 13, 2014
Jun 13
10:00
AM CT
During summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

[+] EnlargeBlake Bell
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsBlake Bell has been a major contributor for the Sooners.
No. 10 Blake Bell, tight end, 6-foot-6, 258 pounds, senior

Impact thus far: Bell has had an interesting and productive career. After a redshirt season in 2010, Bell became an contributor in 2011, earning the moniker the “Belldozer” while scoring 13 rushing touchdowns as OU’s short yardage specialist. … in 2012 he continued his role, scoring 11 rushing touchdowns. … In 2013, Bell finally got his chance to play quarterback and run the Sooners’ regular offense. He started eight games, finishing with 1,648 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. Interestingly enough, he did not score a rushing touchdown as a junior. Bell has played in 31 games (eight starts) and accounted for 36 touchdowns in an OU uniform.

Impact in 2014: With Trevor Knight locking down the starting quarterback job in the Sugar Bowl, Bell made the move to tight end in January, deciding to stay in Norman, Okla., instead of transferring to play quarterback elsewhere. He has the size and athleticism to help the Sooners at the tight end spot as a senior if he makes a smooth transition to his new position.

Long term upside: If everything goes perfectly for Bell, he could become the Sooners top pass-catching tight end since Jermaine Gresham. But that requires him excelling as a blocker, getting comfortable running patterns and, most important, proving he is one of the best 11 players available to put on the field for offensive coordinator Josh Heupel.

Evaluation grade for Bell: B. This is a tough one. Bell is poised to be a major contributor for the fourth straight season. Yet he never became an consistent difference-maker as a dual-threat quarterback, which is why he was recruited in the first place. Nonetheless you can’t discount Bell’s positive impact on the program. He’s helped OU win a lot of games during his four years on campus.

Development grade for Bell: B. Another tough grade, but there’s not much more the Sooners could have done to help Bell’s development other than give him more time running the regular offense as a freshman and sophomore. Nonetheless it was a stroke of genius to put his size, strength and desire in the short-yardage package when he would have just been sitting on the sideline behind Landry Jones as a underclassman.

Quotable: “Blake has done a great job, we’re very fortunate to have him there and he’s fit in very nicely with our guys. He’s really excelled and he brings an athlete, which is what we’ve always said we need, we need blockers, we need guys who can run down the field and make plays on the ball and Blake can do that.” -- tight ends coach Jay Boulware

Crimson Countdown: S Quentin Hayes

June, 12, 2014
Jun 12
11:00
AM CT
During the summer months, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through our final analysis of No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

[+] EnlargeTexas Tech tight end Jace Amaro
Brett Deering/Getty ImagesSafety Quentin Hayes brings consistency and experience to the Oklahoma defense.
No. 10 Quentin Hayes, safety, 6-foot, 189 pounds, senior

Impact thus far: Hayes' impact was minimal until last season. He redshirted in 2010, saw limited duty in 2011 and missed the entire 2012 season. His junior season was a breakout campaign with 75 tackles including 40 tackles for loss, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and one sack.

Impact in 2014: Hayes should start and bring a veteran presence to the Sooners’ secondary. He’s a proven playmaker who will provide peace of mind for the defensive coaches with his consistent play.

Long-term upside: Hayes has the ability to earn all-conference honors as a senior because of his versatility. He has the ability to make plays in the running game and hold his own in coverage, making him a valuable asset.

Evaluation grade for Hayes: C. This grade could jump to a B with a solid senior season, but the Sooners have only one good year of production out of the four years he has been on campus. That's the only reason this grade is a C. When he's healthy and available, he's an impact player.

Development grade for Hayes: B. The Sooners have done a pretty good job with Hayes' development. The senior safety is the one who took himself out of the equation after his redshirt freshman season with his 2012 suspension. When he has been healthy and available, the Sooners have found ways to use his skills.

Crimson Countdown: QB Trevor Knight

June, 11, 2014
Jun 11
11:00
AM CT
During the summer months, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through our final analysis of No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

[+] EnlargeTrevor Knight
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesIf Trevor Knight's Sugar Bowl performance becomes his baseline standard, then Oklahoma fans will enjoy the 2014 season a lot.
No. 9 Trevor Knight, quarterback, 6-foot-1, 202 pounds, sophomore

Impact thus far: Knight has been on campus for two seasons but has already made a major impact on the Sooners. After a redshirt season in 2012, Knight won the starting job as a redshirt freshman. He had an up-and-down season, finishing with 819 passing yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions while adding 445 rushing yards and two scores. Even with his struggles, his freshman season is largely remembered for a Sugar Bowl MVP performance in OU’s win over Alabama. He passed for 348 yards and four touchdowns against the Crimson Tide.

Impact in 2014: Knight will be the man in OU’s backfield with the Sooners’ championship hopes resting on his shoulders as the starting quarterback. He’s shown signs of being able to handle the burden but will need to consistently play at a high level to lead OU into Big 12 title and/or College Football Playoff contention.

Long-term upside: Knight showed he has the potential to be one of the nation’s top quarterbacks with his performance against Alabama. He has all the traits of an elite quarterback, so it will be interesting to see if he maximizes his upside and becomes one of the best signal-callers in OU history.

Evaluation grade for Knight: A. The Sooners did a terrific job evaluating Knight. They have insisted their move to more mobile quarterbacks does not include sacrificing the ability to throw the ball with efficiency. Knight is an example of a guy who can make defenses play with his feet while not sacrificing any passing threat. Superb evaluation.

Development grade for Knight: A. It would have been easy for the Sooners to just give the starting job to Blake Bell in 2013 and allow Knight to learn for a couple of seasons behind him. Instead, OU proved its open quarterback competition was wide open as Knight swooped in and won the job. Some programs would not have been willing to risk placing its destiny on the shoulders of a redshirt freshman quarterback.

Quotable: “I think he showed the whole country what we've been watching for two years in our practices and our scrimmages and things like that, that the game has started to slow down for him where he's really starting to feel comfortable in what he can do when he is. He's got a very live arm with great legs.” -- OU coach Bob Stoops after Knight’s Sugar Bowl MVP performance.

Crimson Countdown: WR Austin Bennett

June, 10, 2014
Jun 10
11:00
AM CT
During the summer months, ESPN.com will take a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we will analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series will follow the roster numerically through our final analysis of No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 8 Austin Bennett, receiver, 6-foot, 165 pounds, sophomore

Impact thus far: Even though he escaped a redshirt season as a true freshman, Bennett’s impact has been minimal. He played in seven games in 2013, finishing with two receptions for 23 yards.

Impact in 2014: After a solid spring, Bennett looks like he will be a key contributor as a sophomore. He has excellent quickness and playmaking ability in the slot and could emerge as an additional target for quarterback Trevor Knight.

Long-term upside: Bennett has talent, but the Sooners have several other talented youngsters in Jay Norvell's receivers' room. Bennett's long-term impact will depend on how consistent and focused the sophomore will be during his career. It's all up to him.

Evaluation grade for Bennett: B. He seems right at home in the receivers room at OU and could make a contribution in just his second season in the program. He didn’t make a major impact as a true freshman, but it would be a surprise if he left Norman, Okla., without making a significant contribution during his career.

Development grade for Bennett: F. The Sooners wasted a year of eligibility. Bennett saw time on special teams and at receiver but only had two receptions last fall. He probably would have been better served by a redshirt season.

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