2014 Spring Football Preview| Faces of Tomorrow | Part Four

Image via scout.com

There is a lot of young talent on this Oklahoma team, but I wanted to countdown five (or so) players that I will be watching closely as we head into spring practice and then into fall camp.

No. 4 & No. 5

No. 3

No. 2

1. Charles Walker

This wont come as a surprise to anyone if you have been falling the Brainiacs for a while. We’ve loved Walker’s film for quite sometime and every person on campus I have talked to has raved of his incredible athleticism. He has reportedly ran a 4.78 laser timed forty, which would be the exact same time as Mario Williams of the Buffalo Bills. While the forty isn’t necessarily a valuable tool when evaluating a defensive tackle, it does give you some insight into just how well this guy is capable of moving.

His first step is outstanding, and from what I’ve seen/heard he seems to have already developed two solid pass rushing moves. Including one that is short, quick swim move to the inside that, with his athleticism, could give offensive linemen fits. In the future, look for NFL draft analysts to rave about his versatility whether it’s as a 3-tech in an even front or a strong side defensive end in an odd front.

He has incredible hips, allowing him to split double teams, which is a key component of any 4i — especially when you have a guy like Eric Striker and/or Devante Bond coming off the edge. In theory, you hope that you can isolate one of those edge guys on a back, and we all know that even the best of blocking running backs in the Big 12 really don’t stand a good chance against those type of athletes.

Walker most likely won’t start this year, with both 4i spots belong to Geneo Grissom and Charles Tapper respectively. Both whom I believe have a strong chance of being All-Big 12 first or second team type players, by the way. That said, Oklahoma has been known for rotating their D-Line for quite sometime now, which means Walker should get his chance to shine.

  • bmrsnr

    Will there be an offensive top 5 coming or coincidence all were on the defense?

    • Zack

      I was wondering the same thing. I figured flowers would be a guy to watch to see if he can replenish what is lost in Millard.

    • Sooner Ray

      If you read their profiles, Ace is the defensive specialist and Yost does offense. That could explain why we saw defense in this series.

  • John

    Thanks for the review. Not to downgrade the recruiting sites, but it sure is a pleasure reading analysis by guys who have played the game and not by graduates of the school of journalism. Much appreciated.

  • soonerbred4ever

    BJW is the one who found Flowers and he thinks he will be good one.

  • Doobie74OU

    WOW! Can’t wait to see this Defense in action!

  • Perry Dickey

    This kind of observation has me foaming at the mouth!

  • Cary Newman

    Walker’s high school film blew me away last year.

  • Daryl

    One thing I think is interesting is that the big complaint of some old coaches was recruiting. Yet guys like Phillips, Grissom, Shannon, Ikard, Darrel Williams, and Corey Nelson all were from those coaches. Not saying I am disappointed with new coaches at all. I for sure think development has improved but maybe recruiting wasn’t the real issue with old coaches as much as development. What do you think Brainiacs?

    • Super Keith

      I don’t think the issue was ever “starter” type players, because we’ve always landed good kids (whether it be LBs or OL), it was more about the depth. I don’t recall anyone ever being upset with Venables recruiting efforts, and I think the knock on Shipp was that he become reliant on how many stars a kid had. As for the O-line, while there have been some really good players there, it’s also been razor thin at depth. I think the biggest difference we’ll see now is the 2’s won’t be a tremendous drop-off from the 1’s.

    • Shifty

      I could have recruited Ikard to OU…there was never a knock on BV for backers…Grissom was most likely recruited by then DE coach BJW…Shipp got Phillips and Wade for a good class soon after McCoy left but missed out on his main targets and finally ended up w Walker and Higgins (Higgins got his scholly yanked from atm else we wouldn’t have got him)..Shipp was a fine coach but it was obvious that him and Mike weren’t on the same page

      • Zack

        I think shipp’s problem was developing talent. He had no issue getting guys to come to ou as far as the ratings on all the sites.

      • J.K. Abbott

        Wise very wise Shifty.

    • J.K. Abbott

      Recruiting had a lot to do with it.

    • soonermusic

      You make a good point about all those guys who were successfully recruited by the former coaches. Regarding the real Issue: I think it is a mistake to assume that Stoops agreed with either the fans or the media as to what the issues were.
      I’m not sure it’s a slam dunk that it was necessarily either recruiting or development that caused him to make changes. It might have been something related to the issues with certain players’ attitudes and how they were dealt with, it might have to do with his idea of a “new direction,” it might have been something completely unrelated. I don’t know. But I do know that Stoops has steadfastly defended the program’s record on both recruiting and development during the period in question, and he clearly has his own perspective on the issues–a perspective that does not seem to be influenced by the opinion of fans or media as to “what’s wrong with the program” at any given time.

  • Boomer4life

    Can’t wait til this BEAST of a defense gets unleashed in August!

    • pitbull17

      I think they’re going to be nasty next year. They’ll be a lot like they were this year, fast and physical. And for the most part very experienced.

      • Sooner Ray

        Not only everything you said, but we should also have quality depth which is exciting.

        • pitbull17

          Absolutely, It’s going to be different knowing we have 2 or 3 quality guys behind whoever is out on the field.

  • blaster1371

    Walker looks pretty dang lean for a DL. If he is a strong as bigger guys he should be able to take advantage of superior sped and quickness.

    • Sooner Ray

      I think Walker has to get some reps this year, especially if he’s as mean and nasty in practice as everyone says.

    • Shifty

      Keep in mind that that pic is a year old..Not sure what he came in at but if he’s only 6’2 then he’ll be a lot thicker at 290…or maybe he has a stout base that’s just not visible in the pic…there was a sugar prep pic where he looks a little heavier but I’d have to search the Facebook page to find it

      • OUknowitscomin

        He’s reported 6’3″ everywhere I’ve seen, including team bio. Rivals had 6’4″, but only one.
        Think you’re right, that photo actually taken early last yr. Smitty has to made some progress.

        • Shifty

          Yeah he has to be taller since he looks so lean…not sure where I got 6’2..seems like there was a discussion on it somewhere…but he still looked pretty lean for sugar prep so he has to be taller if he’s up to 290

  • Sooner Ray

    Just got back from Norman, had a hell of a view of the stadium from my room. WVU basketball team was in the hotel, one of them walked up to his door and had to duck to get inside. Those dudes are tall!

    • Shifty

      no burning couches were there?

      • Sooner Ray

        They tip off at 8:05 and I don’t think they will be burning anything but the road after we whup ’em.

  • wolfbuilder

    Wait so we think that we will play 5 4i’s. Starters Tapper and Chuka and backups Grissom and Dimon. Now I understand that Grissom became more of a pass rush specialist for the sugar bowl and what I mean by this is he was mainly used on passing downs only and they moved chuka to noseguard, now what im wondering is where do you think Walker could fit in Ace?

    • Shifty

      Not Ace but fig Grissom would play at the 5 to get outside the tackle to avoid the double yet w Striker the double is taken away (allowing 4i) leaving two pass rush specialists on one side…it worked wonders in the Sugar…Walker would maybe be in during rushing downs when Striker is less likely to rush when the O line is pushing rather than holding the pocket

      • wolfbuilder

        I agree with everything u said Shifty and like those ideas but I fear in the big12 we wont be able to do much specialty subbing. I hope Walker is the animal we r hearing about cause I think we need at least a third dt/dend cause Grissom isn’t very good against the run and that putting it nicely IMO

        • Shifty

          yep..depending on who we play or the personnel that comes in on first one of the two will come in and we’re still allowed to sub if they sub…thing is, I think Walker (from what we’ve heard) should be able to handle pass rushing as well so we’d only be liable if they run on a passing down w Grissom in…I’m liking the quality of our depth that Monty is developing

  • Boomer4life

    Opposing offenses will be running away like scared little girls carrying a half eaten popsicle.

    • Sooner Ray

      Looking for shutouts, negative yardage totals and opposing qb’s having to go to the locker room early.

      • Boomer4life

        Yeah, What he said!

  • bjwalker82

    How did everyone whiff on this guy? I know we can all talk about how corporate sites don’t do good job of evaluating, etc, etc. But still, his next best offer was UNT.

    I mean the guy apparently broke Tommie Harris’ all time 40 time record at OU. No one else saw this but UNT ULM and us?? Awesome I love it.

    • Sooner Ray

      He was injured for most of his Soph. and JR. seasons so I guess that turned a lot of people away or they just didn’t look very hard. Lucky for us.

      • bjwalker82

        Amazing. Gotta count those blessings

    • Shaun Heinrichkäner

      Maybe we got lucky