sutherland 2015 OT Countdown | Sixth Place | Keaton Sutherland

Image via scout.com

As previously discussed, this is the first of a six part series of evaluations involving Oklahoma’s primary offensive tackle recruiting targets in this 2015 class. It figures to be an important position of need for the Sooners and clearly one they have made a priority having already identified a number of players they are focusing on. In turn, we will do the same in an effort to give you a better idea the type of player we believe each to be and what the Sooners could be getting should a commitment come from one (or more) at some point later down the road.

No. 6 – Keaton Sutherland 6’6″ 280 lbs | Marcus H.S. | Flower Mound, TX

What you notice about Sutherland immediately is a great frame.  He’s one of the more athletic tackles you’re going to see as well.  What I like about his game is the ability he has to locate players on the second level.  He never seems to take bad angles and shows to be a very smart player.  However, he’s not very heavy handed at this point in his development and he’s also not as nasty as I would like.

When choosing who you rank from sixth to first on my wish list, I had to look at it like I was the o-line coach and I only get to choose two of ‘em.  The reason I decided to rank Keaton sixth was because he’s not as nasty as the other guys on the list. He seems to position block more than finishing guys off and his upper body still needs some work.

You’d like to see him pummel guys with those hands, but he just hasn’t quite grown into that huge frame enough.  His Hudl tape shows him at 6’5″ 257 lbs, but in the picture of OU’s junior day he looked closer to 6’6″. So he may have grown a little bit since that profile has been updated.

Keaton is one of those guys I’m going to enjoy keeping my eye on this year.  I’m anxious to see if he takes advantage of the offseason this spring and summer.  If Keaton can hit the strength training hard, he’ll vault up a lot of boards.  He shows above-average intelligence with his footwork in the run game.  In my opinion, he’s ideally suited for a zone-blocking scheme and one that needs a guy who can get out in space on screens.

In the past, this is a guy that James Patton (OU’s former offensive line coach) would have been all over. Mainly because he’s more of the dancing bear type than he is a bloody your nose and those were guys Patton seemed to prefer.  However with Coach Bedenbaugh, we’re showing a shift to more of a ‘line up and run over your butt’ type of approach. BUT the guys still need to be athletic enough to be able to handle screens and space blocking from time to time.

With the short yardage woes we’ve seen in years gone by, it makes sense why Bob Stoops has Coach B after your Joseph Paul and Orlando Brown types.  While they may not be quite as athletic as someone like Sutherland is, they’re athletic enough.  A lot of coaches want the guy who will “wow” people at the combine and everyone’s enamored with his short shuttle and 40 time.  For me, I want a guy who’s gonna line up and beat you into a pulp first.  In position 1A, I want a guy who can make all the blocks.

What makes it so hard to evaluate juniors is that knowing that kids develop mentally and physically at different rates.  Kenyon Frison is a prime example.  His junior film didn’t wow me, but his senior stuff left me very impressed.  Keaton strikes me as the kind of guy who maybe has played a lot of basketball and who is, at least right now, generally just more of a ‘big kid’ out there. He played a little defensive end early in his hs career, so he’s still learning how to play the position of tackle.

Rumor has it that he got hurt late in the season last year and the amount of growth and development that can take place for a guy from August to November can’t be understated.  Missing time during his junior year may have affected his nastiness a bit.  In this elite group of tackles, great offseasons could definitely cause the order I currently have them in to change as we track their progress through their respective senior seasons.

While I may like other guys on this list a little more at this stage, watch out for this guy if the light switch comes on for him mentally.  If Sutherland can get a little whiz and vinegar in him, he’s a name we could hear getting called in Radio City Music Hall in a few years.


  • Steve Johns

    I’m with you, JY. I like the big nasty at OT that will punch and maul. Thanks for another great article!

    • Daddy R

      Absolutely! I love that Coach B is recruiting the bruisers again. How the hell can you be a punch-you-in-the-face nasty team, if we don’t have some nastiness up front. Seems to me, the nastier you are, the better chance you have to go all the way…

      • Steve Johns

        Yup, all of the coaches are doing a great job recruiting.

    • hOUligan

      I like the “nasty but with enough athleticism” approach Coach B has taken. This past year was the first time in a while that OU has been able to line up in short yardage situations with confidence and no gimmick formation. He’ll be able to get those guys and sort them out when they are lined up across from guys like Striker, Grissom and Bond in practice.

  • Sooner Ray

    I too am glad to see the transformation into big boy football. The days of not being able to pick up a third and one were frustrating. Hope all these prospects continue to work on size and technique so we can have a dominating line that can play and block everything in the playbook. Keep’em coming JY!.

    • Daddy R

      Still just a little surprised it didn’t happen right after the 2008 National Championship game….those 7 or 8 plays from the 1 still probably haunt Bob!

      • Daddy R

        But, better late than never! Probably a lot easier said than done, when referring to firing your coaching buddies.

        • Sooner Ray

          It has bothered him, no doubt, but when you are stocked with guys you have been grooming to fit the system that was in place, there is not much you can do except take a big QB, FB, and a couple tight ends and make a package. It was finally realized that changes needed to be made not only in players but also coaches who understood how to put those players to good use. Getting Mike back to strengthen the defensive side hasn’t hurt anything either.

      • http://www.TheFootballBrainiacs.com/ JY

        It’s funny you mention that. Jordan and I both live in KC. We met up for lunch today and were talking about that same thing. If we had an o line coach like Bedenbaugh back in the heydays of 03, 04 and 08, it just wouldn’t have been fair.

    • http://www.TheFootballBrainiacs.com/ JY

      You got it hoss!
      p.s. Love your avatar.

  • Shelby is a Patriot

    I love that we’re recruiting big, nasty linemen! Especially with the RBs we have!

    • Steve Johns

      …and being more aggressive at recruiting, instead of waiting around and coming in late.

      • Shelby is a Patriot

        Especially with QB now, it seems.

        • Steve Johns

          Have a feeling some of those guys are being recruited as ATH

          • Shelby is a Patriot

            Like J.W. Ketchum, maybe?

          • Steve Johns

            That would be my guess, as of now.

  • EasTex

    This young man better be training hard this off season, not only for a shot at D1 football, but also his teams district schedule is tough. They are in a district with Allen, all three Plano teams, Hebron and Fl. Mound High. Not many cream puffs in district play and they often add a school like the Denton schools or Coppell in their non-district games.
    With a new coach at Marcus we will have to wait and see what type of offense they will run.
    Now that Sutherland is getting this kind of attention hopefully it will motivate him to focus on his development.

    • Sooner Ray

      In the film I watched, he was mostly getting a run at linebackers or someone at the second level. Hard to judge how much power he might have coming off the line without a big DT in his face. Think he has a lot of room to get better which is a good thing and playing in a tough district may help him develop faster.

  • JVC2014

    Not a rumor on his late season injury. He didn’t play at all the past 3 games and was on the sidelines in a sling. Not sure what was injured, but I was at the games and know he wasn’t on the field.

  • tforce

    Patton’s development of these type of players into elite pass-blocking OT is beyond reproach. The frustrations of the OL in not being able to identify and erase 2nd level defenders under Patton was real however. I don’t think it was a lack of size actually. It was scheme. C/OG were constantly watching LB/S run right passed them to the ballcarrier. Coach B’s ability to adjust the run blocking scheme, combined with the threat of the QB run paid huge dividends in 2013 run game.

    I wouldn’t necessarily jettison the strategy of turning to guys like Sutherland and Koda Martin (A&M signee) that have the athleticism without the strength in HS. What we want are players who are nimble, powerful, smart, and driven to finish blocks. Weight, as fat, doesn’t give you any of these and may negatively impact quickness. Therefore, I don’t look passed relatively slight HS OL with good feet, and I’m glad you’re keeping tabs on them too.

    • http://www.TheFootballBrainiacs.com/ JY

      While I don’t disagree with you, O Line is more about attitude than it is aptitude. When you’re splitting hairs about who you’re gonna take, I’ll take a fighter with slightly less athleticism than someone who’s a better athlete, that isn’t a scrapper.

      • tforce

        We agree.
        Temperament is something that is difficult to quantify, and these kids are developing emotionally as well as physically.

        • http://www.TheFootballBrainiacs.com/ JY

          You’re right on with your assessments of Patton. Great job.

  • ruasoonerfan2

    Great job guys, love this site.

  • TheMind___Gap

    So the trench warfare 4th quarter. You guys said you have it just not been posted yet. Thats my favorite article out of all you guys awesome articles.Please post. Please