Thought on Kenyon Frison

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Happy Saturday Sooners! How bout that signing class? I’m still flying high from the Sugar Bowl win that’s over a month old now, so the haul that we pulled in Wednesday is just icing on the cake for me. When you look at the class from top to bottom, it seems like one of Stoops’ most complete classes if not the most that I can remember. The big time talent is there at virtually every signee, and when you look closely at the prospects who are lower rated, the knocks you hear on them are things like…wasn’t a camp kid, showed up to events overweight, discovered late in the process, at one point was a possible grade concern etc. So when you look at those reasons, nowhere to be found is a knock on any kid’s ability to actually play the game. One of these guys is Kenyon Frison.

Talking to K about Kenyon’s performance in the Semper Fi Bowl, there were some times that he whiffed on blocks and maybe didn’t look all that great in the actual game. What you gotta remember about all star games whether they be in high school or college like the senior bowl, is that the practices leading up to the game are more valued by scouts and decision makers than the actual game. The laboratory that’s provided by being able to spend a week seeing how a guy practices, how he prepares, how he does in drills, how he finishes, and all of those things are what really resonates to people in the scouting world.

Like I alluded to in the article about Orlando Brown, Kenyon was a guy who I never felt great about Oklahoma landing. I don’t know what it was, but it was just a feeling I had that the guy wasn’t coming to OU. With that, I didn’t do a whole lot of research on him since I didn’t feel like we were going to get him anyway. Originally I watched his junior film, and I wasn’t all that impressed. What I saw was a guy who just looked really raw. He was very athletic, and that couldn’t be mistaken. Without knowing too much about Kenyon, I thought that he may be a Charles Tapper kind of guy who hadn’t played the game very long. Come to find out, Kenyon has only played football for a couple of years. So when you cut on the tape for his senior year, the transformation you see, and the progression in his game is undeniable.

You hear about guys all the time who take leaps and bounds from year to year, and Kenyon is one of those guys. What was the most fun about watching Kenyon’s senior film was going back and pulling up his junior film and comparing it. When I laid them side by side, if I didn’t know that I was watching the same guy just one year later, you couldn’t have convinced me that I was. The guy literally made that kind of step in his development. Talking to folks I know around the Oklahoma Football community, the stuff that’s coming out about how the staff feels about Frison is very exciting. Phrases I’ve heard have been:

“Best offensive tackle prospect Oklahoma has ever signed since Stoops has been here”
“Upside seems to have no end”
“The staff feels like he could be as good as Trent Williams”

All of that sounds like very high praise, but I can see why they feel the way they do when you go back to how much he progressed between his junior and senior years. Without sounding too corny, the kid took a quantum leap. Couple that with the fact that he’s played basketball most of his life and has only been around football for a couple of years, I find myself asking the question how good could this guy be?

It’s no secret that I wasn’t a fan of how our offensive line was being coached up before Bedenbaugh came to town. I saw guys who were supremely talented all across our front only to be missing on the little things time after time. Coach B however is an architect as an offensive line coach. He’s a guy who knows what kind of players he wants, knows how to recruit, and is very demanding once they get here. The guy is a savant when it comes to coaching kids up and teaching them how to play the game. Look at the depth we’ll have this year at virtually every position. Specifically at offensive line, you’ll have from left to right…Thompson, Savage or Shead, Darlington, Nila or Evans and Williams. You have Farniok, St. John, Marrs, and looking at the class coming in, you don’t see the need to plunge these new kids into the fray too early like we’ve seen in the past. Guys like Habern, Cooper, Good and others were put into the games before they were ready because we had no one else. The same could be said for the defensive line too, but now when you see guys come in like Dalton, Alvarez, Brown, Frison, Paul and Curtis, you feel good about knowing unless something goes very wrong, that these guys are going to redshirt and be around a couple of years before they’re needed to play. Then with Bobby Evans and Wariboko in the fold for 2015 already, and rumors of Barnett committing almost every time you hear about him, you really come to appreciate the fact that Bedenbaugh knows how to build an offensive line that will stand the test of time.

So for kids like Curtis, Paul and Brown who could stand to lose some bad weight, and a developmental guy like Frison, the situation they’re walking into at Oklahoma seems tailor made. I’ll admit unapologetically that I was rooting for Tristan Hill to get an offer. He ended up getting offered by Vanderbilt in the SEC, so you know the guy can play or at least we’re not the only folks that think so. Now that I know it’s all over and the ink is dry on the paper, I am very glad that Kenyon is a Sooner. There’s really not anything I don’t like about his game. Any deficiencies he may have at this point are things that are going to come with experience and good teaching. The guy is 6’6″ and 290 right now. His frame doesn’t look like it’s filled out all that much, and Stoops said that he’s actually closer to 6’7″. So when you think about what he could be in two or three years, a guy retaining his elite athleticism and weighing 325 while developing power out of his natural strength, the future for the offensive line just has me giddy. Even warm and fuzzy.

Take this for what it’s worth, but in my opinion, Kenyon has all of the physical tools to be a first round draft choice in a few years. The guy is an elite athlete at the position, and would have been rated much higher had he been around the game longer. So when you see how nasty he is, how good a finisher he is and how athletic he is, you gotta feel good about knowing that he’s going to have time to learn how to play the game. If he comes in and embraces his opportunity to redshirt, hits the weights hard and takes nutrition seriously, we may have a guy who could be challenging to be the starter at left tackle after Thompson leaves. Farniok has always been a right tackle to me anyway, so it’s possible we could have a three or four year starter at the left tackle spot. Granted that depends a lot on what Josiah St. John does about it, because if there’s anyone on the team who can compare athletically to Frison it’s St. John, and like Kenyon he hasn’t played the game very long either. It’s going to be interesting watching all of this unfold, but I must admit it’s a great time to be a Sooner! Kenyon Frison is a special signee, and I’m excited to see what the young man can do.