Looking Back | SoonerSquad ’17 After Four Full Years
– Charlie S
Four full years have passed since ‘SoonerSquad17’ stepped foot on campus.
That class really felt like it was the starting point for the Sooners renewed focus on recruiting elite athletes.
The class finished in the top 10 nationally by most accounts and it consisted of 28(!) players.
Let’s take a look at where the guys are at in their careers!
Justin Broiles CB – Still in Norman, has been a contributor on the field and in the locker room. Solid teammate for sure and one of the pillars of that class.
Robert Barnes S – Barnes was in Norman for 4 seasons and had some big moments for OU. He was at one time a starter and last year he switched to LB but in order to help his team, he switched back to DB for the last few games due to COVID issues. He is now at Colorado after transferring.
Tyrese Robinson OG – Robinson enters his 5th year in Norman and has played in a ton of ballgames over the course of his career. He has been the starting RG for the past two years. This year, he will be challenged to hold onto that spot.
Levi Draper ILB – Levi came into OU and was immediately put on the shelf due to injury. He never gained traction under the Mike Stoops/Tim Kish contingent and the thought was he may receive new life (in regards to football) when Grinch came to town. That did not materialize and he transferred to Arkansas.
Addison Gumbs WDE – Gumbs was primed to be the starting RUSH (or Jack) his sophomore year when he blew out his ACL in camp. Then, in one of the more surprising moves, he abruptly transferred to Oregon State. Unfortunately, he blew out his ACL while there as well. Still at Oregon State as best I can tell.
Tre Brown CB – Brown was selected in the 4th round by Seattle in the 2021 draft. Tre was a multi-year starter and thrived on the Big Stage as he made the Big 12 Championship and RRR games his playground, much to the dismay of the rivals to the south of the Red River on many occasions.
CeeDee Lamb WR – Quite possibly the best receiver in the long history of Oklahoma football. Lamb spent three seasons on the field for the Sooners and was drafted in the 1st round of the 2020 draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
Charleston Rambo WR – Rambo was always seen as Robin to CeeDee’s Batman. He redshirted his freshman year and was commonly tabbed as the ‘next guy’. Things didn’t work out that way as he never seized the ‘WR1’ job and transferred to Miami following the 202o season.
Chris Robison QB – This guy…never made it to fall camp for OU although he did wind up playing a game in Norman with FAU.
Trey Sermon RB – Sermon played three season for OU after bursting on the scene as a true freshman. He was known early on in his career in Norman as ‘The Closer’ as Riley and company would bring him in late in games and let him frustrate and punish the opposition. In the 2019 season, things went sideways with the way he was used by then RB Coach Jay Boulware and even though OU brought in a new RB coach, Sermon fled Norman and headed to Ohio State. He was drafted by the San Franciso 49ers in the third round of the 2021 draft.
Kennedy Brooks RB – Brooks redshirted his freshman year and went on to put up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for the Sooners. He sat out the 2020 season due to COVID concerns and is set to return to the Sooners backfield this season.
Grant Calcaterra TE – Calc was thought to be the next great OU tight end. He played in portions of three seasons for the Sooners, but unfortunately, he was forced to medically retire from football at Oklahoma. After sitting out the 2020 season, he signed with Auburn but they had a coaching change and he made his way to SMU. He is one Mustang that all of Sooner Nation will be rooting for…both to stay healthy and have success on the field.
Marquis Hayes OG – Much like his OL mate Tyrese Robinson, Hayes is still in Norman and heading into his third year as a projected starter. Hayes will also be pushed to maintain his role, but I think he holds onto it and is likely headed towards an NFL career if he can clean up his play and penchant for untimely penalties. Love his game, just hope he learns to play within himself and let his talent take over more than his emotions.
Ryan Jones ATH – Ahhhh would love to have seen him stick it out under Grinch. Jones transferred following the 2019 season, but can you blame him? Kid came to Norman as a WR initially, immediately flipped to the defensive side at DB, spun down to SAM and then was asked to move to WILL…all in two seasons. Dynamite athlete, just square peg – round hole deal.
Adrian Ealy OT – Ealy spent his 4 years in Norman learning from some great offensive linemen ahead of him and coach Bill Bedenbaugh. He chose to leave this year, while he still had eligibility. He went undrafted and reached a free agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens. Likely would have been better served by returning to Norman for another year, but I’m not even sure that would have done much for his draft stock as he is not the most athletic fella on the end. But he is a large human being and could hang on to a practice squad initially.
Isaiah Thomas WDE – Thomas spent his first 3 years floundering around in Norman. Never really getting the opportunity to show what he could do in his first three years. EnterOLB/DE coach Jamar Cain who Thomas says he immediately clicked with on the practice field. Thomas went on to have an incredible 2020 season in which he logged 31 tackles and 8 sacks. OU is lucky to have him on the field for the 2021 season and I expect him to be drafted next year at this time.
Creed Humphrey OC – Creed redshirted his freshman year and then he anchored the 2018 Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line. Creed was drafted in the second round of the 2021 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs and he joins each of his linemates from 2018 as NFL draft picks (Evans, Ford, Powers, Samia)
Marquise Brown WR – Hollywood began his 2 year career in Norman as the understudy to Biletnikoff award winner DeDe Westbrook. However, he flourished during his time at Oklahoma and was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens.
Dillon Faamatau DT – Faamatau was a depth player for the Sooners for most of his three-year career. Solid guy that was appreciated by his teammates.
Kenneth Murray OLB – K9 had himself quite the journey to becoming a first-round draft choice in the 2020 draft by the Los Angelos Chargers. Murray was a three-year starter at middle linebacker and you were able to see him grow almost from game to game. In a class that at one point included Jacob Phillips along with Levi Draper, K9 was initially viewed by some as ‘that other guy’. Great story for both Murray and Oklahoma.
Marcelias Sutton RB – Sutton had some moments, but very little impact. He suffered a leg injury and was last seen back at OU’s pro-day in 2020 working to get himself a look.
Jeremiah Hall HB – Hall came to Norman and worked while he waited. He has been the starter at HB for the Sooners for the past 2 seasons and while he won’t get many looks at the league when he is done (IMO), he has been a valuable asset to the squad both on and off the field. Really good kid and is widely respected and appreciated by his teammates.
Zacchaeus McKinney DT – Committed to OU the day he was offered by Texas. That is his lone highlight for Sooner fans. Zero impact and has left the program.
K’Jakyre Daley OLB – Daley was a very vocal member of the class back in 2017. He never had an impact in Norman and transferred to a JUCO in 2019.
Tre Norwood CB – Talk about a roller coaster! Norwood made an early impression at Oklahoma and got on the field early and often. He suffered an injury and missed the 2019 season. He came back for the 2020 season and led the Sooners in interceptions as he played multiple spots in the secondary for OU. He was drafted in the 7th round of the 2021 draft by the Pittsburgh Stealers.
Troy James SDE – James highlight in Norman was lining up in the offensive backfield on occasion. He transferred following the 2019 season.
Tyreece Lott DT – Man what could have been. Lott was highly thought of by the Sooners but for one reason or another, he basically walked away from football prior to the 2019 season. Would have liked to see the athletic big man in Grinchs scheme.
Reeves Mundschau P – Still in Norman, still punting.
SoonerSquad17 scorecard so far:
Out of 28 members:
7 drafted (25%) – including Sermon
10 transfers (also including Sermon)
7 still on campus
Looking back, that was a pretty good class and it still has a few guys who could get drafted in Thomas, Hayes, Robinson and Brooks (including Rambo).
Snippet from: Monday Notebook | Cale Gundy on the Portal
– James Hale
Eyes Always on the Portal
OU scored big in the transfer portal following the 2020 season bringing in five players who all look like they will contribute big time next season. OU lost some players to the portal, but their return looks to have been so great that it’s a huge win for OU. Now, watching the portal is almost as important to a team as recruiting high school players.
“Well, I don’t know if there’s anything specific. A lot of stuff that’s kind of started to happen has been happening,” said OU inside receiver coach and Recruiting Coordinator Cale Gundy. “You know, it’s definitely going to change with the one-time transfer rule.”
“You just wonder—initially, it kind of makes you think of what basketball can do, how guys can put their name in and say I’m going to go to the NBA, but I’m not going to sign with anybody because I might want to come back. I don’t know how all that’s going to unfold, and those are decisions that each university and head coach and president, and athletic director has got to make. But it is going to be challenging moving forward. There’s no doubt.”
“We’re about to start exploring things in college football that have never happened before. I think that the relationships that your coaches and the staff have with your players have always been extremely important. I think it’s got to be even more important now. I think you’ve got to know where your players are, mindset, when it comes to being a part of this program and wanting to stick with this program, instead of guys just wanting to jump ship and go somewhere else.”
“Again, we’re going into stuff right now that we’ve never been into right now. As a staff, and as Coach Riley leads, in our minds, we’re trying to think of what other things could possibly be happening. We’re trying to prepare ourselves for something to happen in six months or a year from now.”
“Recruiting has changed so much, as you’ve said, over the years. There are so many different things that have changed. Social media has made it evolve and has changed just the world we live in itself, but it’s also changed its recruiting side. So I don’t really want to go into what we think or ideas of things that could possibly happen down the road, but it is; it’s going to be challenging.”
“You know what? It’s going to be challenging for everybody, and it is what it is, and at the end of the day, we’ve got to get the guys ready that are here to be good football players and to help us win football games.”
Starting June 1st, the handcuffs will be off and recruiting goes back to official visits and unofficial visits, and soon coaches will be back on the road.
“To be honest we can’t wait,” said Coach Gundy. “We have been working out of our office, or conference rooms, or at home recruiting for so long that we are itching to get out again. Now, once we are out for a while recruiting is hard, and it’s long hours, and we may regret thinking this way, but to be good at recruiting, you have to love doing it, and we as a staff we love to recruit. We love getting out to meet players, their parents, their family, and coaches.”
“What’s going to be interesting is that we are going to have a bunch of kids visiting us starting in June. So, when I say that we are preparing for a lot of things in recruiting while preparing for visits, whether that’s official or unofficial, we have to get ready for them with the new age way that we are going to present them. It will take a little bit for things to feel normal to us because nobody did the pandemic way of recruiting better than us with our zoom visits and social media aspects of it.”
“Early June is going to be an interesting time around here and around all programs across the country. It’s going to feel a little bit like it’s a new thing, but we have to get back on top of it in a hurry and make sure that we host those visits like only Oklahoma can.”
2022 Draft Prospects | Big Potential for a Big Draft
– Charlie S
Last weekend, the Sooners continued the longest streak in the country by having at least four players selected in the NFL Draft.
That is really quite an impressive feat.
Oklahoma will undoubtedly continue that streak next year and they will likely double that number at the very least and could even triple the number of draft picks.
Here is my’ way to early look’ at guys who will be draft-eligible and likely to at the very least, give it some consideration (*denotes early entrance)
*Spencer Rattler – RSSO – Barring injury, Rattler will almost certainly be a high 1st round pick
*Eric Gray – Junior – If he has the year I expect him to have in Norman, look for him to be a one and done at OU and potentially be a 3rd-4th round draft pick with the potential to move up with a special season
*Kennedy Brooks – RSJR – Brooks would still have one more year of eligibility left in at OU if he doesn’t put up the numbers he would like ahead of the ’22 draft. I do expect him to leave at any rate following this year and likely will be selected in the back half of the draft.
Jeremiah Hall – RSSR – I mean, we saw a true fullback get picked this year, is there a possibility that someone takes a chance on Hall as a Swiss Army knife? I don’t think it is likely right now, and I would guess he gets a look as an UDFA as Dmitri Flowers did.
*Austin Stogner – Junior – Big year for the big guy and he could see himself certainly in a position to be drafted in ’22. If he is a featured target of Rattler, he could see himself well up the draft boards.
Brayden Willis – Senior – While he has a ton of talent, he does not yet have the film which would lead him to be a likely draft choice right now.
*Theo Wease – Junior – Former 5* wide receiver has the tools to be an NFL receiver, I think a lot of his stock and therefore his decision-making will be based on his production this season. He had a decent year last year, but too many drops for an NFL possession type receiver.
*Jadon Haselwood – Junior – Another former 5* guy out of high school who has a very limited sample size of production to this point in his career in Norman. Haselwood needs to put up some serious numbers and solid film to realize his potential in the draft. He is also coming off an injury, but the talent is there to put up a big season and be a coveted guy in the draft.
Mike Woods – If he puts out similar production as to what he did at Arkansas, he will be drafted. I expect him to have enough film between his time at Arkansas and his stop in Norman to be a mid-round guy.
*Tyrese Robinson – RSSR – Robinson, along with all the other RSSR guys would be leaving a year of eligibility on the table if he heads to the league. He has been a two-year starter for OU and I think he needs a big year to be thought of as anything other than a draft wildcard for the later rounds. He has the tools, needs to put it all together.
*Marquis Hayes – RSSR – Again, lot’s of potential and he has some good film right now to put out. He has been inconsistent in playing disciplined football, however. If he puts together a dominant year, he very well could find himself in the middle of the draft class for guards in ’22.
*Chris Murray – Senior – Based on the COVID year, Murray still has two years of eligibility. A lot of his decision-making will be based on his playing time this year. If he claims a starting role on the OL in Norman, he certainly could be in the discussion as a draftable guy. Right now, he is just a guy with potential. A big year could impact his decision to enter the draft or return for a final year.
*Wanya Morris – Junior – The former Vol heads to Norman for what is widely expected to be a one-and-done stop. He specifically chose OU to learn under Coach B and become a ‘1st round tackle’. Can that be accomplished in one year? I have my doubts and if he is serious about developing to his full potential, I would recommend he spend 2 years under Bedenbaugh. Still, if he has a good year, he will likely take his chances and enter the draft.
Robert Congel – RSSR – All about what he does on the field this year in regards to being considered as a draft choice. Right now, I don’t see it, but if he starts on a playoff OU team, you never know.
Erik Swenson – RSSR – A two year starter at tackle heading into the season…yet I don’t know of anyone who believes he is a draft guy. Could we all be incorrect? I guess we will see.
*Perrion Winfrey – Senior – Lot’s of buzz around Winfrey as an early-round choice from Sooner fans and some way too early mock drafts. I, personally, have to see the production match the flashes he displayed last year. Nobody is drafting a guy on 9 tackles and half a sack with one of their top picks. I have no doubt Winfrey will be drafted, his production on the field and on film will determine exactly where he is selected. He does have a chance to be a day one or two guy for sure though!
*Jalen Redmond – RSSO – Has flashed during the time he has played for Oklahoma but this will be a complicated choice and a multi-faceted decision for any team looking to take him based on his injury history. If he puts up a dynamic year, he could be a safe bet to be drafted. I just have no idea where he would slot based on the other factors.
Isaiah Thomas – RSSR – This dude went from the potential portal pile to a likely top 3 round draft choice, in my opinion. Thomas offers teams a lot of versatility on the DL and he has developed into one of the top pass rushers in the conference. I could see him putting up a double-digit sack season and securing his bag as a day one or two pick. What a great story of perseverance and determination.
LaRon Stokes – Senior – Stokes had a better first year in Norman than he did his second year. Is he a draft pick? Not right now. If he takes a big jump? Maybe. I still would consider it doubtful, but let the season play out and we will revisit his chances.
*David Ugwoegbu – Junior – Half of me wants to not even include him on this list because I feel like he would more likely be a 1st rounder after the ’22 season if he continues to progress at the speed he did last year (his first at ILB). However, if he does head to the draft, it will likely be good news for the Sooner fans as it would likely mean he did take a huge jump and worked his way into the top 3 rounds of the draft. Selfishly, I would like to see him stay no matter what and become the next 1st round LB for OU in the ’23 draft. But he certainly is one to watch for the ’22 draft.
*Nik Bonitto – RSJR – Bonitto will head into the season likely targeted as a consensus top three-round choice. What he does during the season will dictate which of the first three rounds he is picked in. I think he could have a huge year and solidify himself in the first-round discussion. He feels almost as safe of a bet as Rattler to be picked in the top 2 rounds in my opinion.
Caleb Kelly – RSSR – Do we get a storybook ending for a real-life melodrama that was the Caleb Kelly experience in Norman? The kid you all wanted to be great, was great, just not on the field to this point. He has suffered two major knee injuries on top of suffering through the Mike Stoops era over his first three years in Norman. Kelly played three positions in his first three years prior to his first injury. I don’t think it is likely he gets drafted as I don’t think he gets enough PT to put out the necessary film and production. But if there is one guy I won’t bet against, it is Kelly. I’m rooting for the storybook ending personally. I just don’t see how we get there.
*Brian Asamoah – RSJR – Asamoah really came on late last year as he tightened up his tackling in space and became an impact player at WILL for Oklahoma. He always played fast and on the edge, last season he seemed to get the ‘control’ part down as the season went on. People will question his size, but I’m actually pretty confident he will be selected in the middle rounds next year.
*DaShaun White – Senior – White has played three seasons for the Sooners and has been the starter/part time starter at both WILL and MIKE for Oklahoma over the past two years. White has his moments and has been solid for the most part, just not a lot of highlights at this point. He can stay for ’22 with the extra year of eligibility and it may make some sense for him, but OU does have a lot of talent coming in behind him. Could he be a Jordan Evans type and declare and have a great workout? We will see.
*Woodi Washington – RSSO – Will the Sooners have corners selected in back-to-back seasons? If Woodi declares early, I think that signifies they will. Washington had a standout year last year as an island-type corner working man on man mostly. He is plenty athletic and if he simply continues his progression at the pace he has been, I think you are looking at a mid-round selection. If he has a monster year? I think you see an OU corner drafted in the top 3 rounds for the first time in a long time.
*Delarrin Turner-Yell – Senior – DTY will be drafted. Will it be mid-round or later rounds? That will be determined over the course of the year. He could come back for the ’22 season, but at that point he would have been a 3 year starter and I don’t think there would be anything left for him to prove in Norman so I think this is your last season with him. Really root for this kid as he has been a solid player would love to see him get his hands on the ball a bit more to raise his stock.
*Pat Fields – Senior – Fields will still have another year of eligibility left so I don’t think he declares because right now I don’t see him as a draft choice (I also did not see Norwood as a draft choice so who knows). My question for Pat is, if he starts to lose some reps, does he want to come back to Norman for another year, or does he throw his hat in the ring to see if anyone takes a chance? If Pat Fields gets drafted, that is a very good thing for Sooner fans. Right now, I just don’t see it.
*Jaden Davis – Junior – Davis could see a lot of reps this year and he has been solid if not spectacular. Davis does have the big-play ability as he is pretty technically sound and very smart and instinctive on the field. While he doesn’t have great measurables, he is plenty fast enough and when you pair that with his instincts and soundness if he has a big year, he could be a mid to late-round draft pick if he declares early.
*Justin Broiles – RSSR – As mentioned above, Broiles is the ultimate teammate. He was a pillar of his class and has been a contributor on the field for the Sooners at a variety of positions. He has also dealt with some injury issues and, to this point, he has never settled into one position. Is there a chance he develops into a Tre Norwood type this year if he gets, and remains healthy? Whether he gets drafted or not, Broiles has given all he has to the program.
That’s 28 guys who could give the draft some serious consideration if things go well for them on the field this year!