OU Class of 2011 - To shirt or not to shirt?

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Three games into the season and with a quarter of the games played, if you're a true freshman from the class of 2011 and you've get to see the field odds are you're about to enjoy your redshirt year.  Last year's class was truly an anomaly with so many first year players contributing, so to expect anything close to the same from the 2011 class was very unrealistic.  That said, this was another Top 10 class for the Sooners so it is not without talent even if you won't see most of that talent on the field this year. 

So I thought it might help to go through the members of that 2011 class, see where they stand after three games, and predict their chances as to whether or not they redshirt this year.  Before we get started though I wanted to give credit where credit is due, SoonerSports.com always puts up the final stats after every game.  You were probably aware of this already, what you may or may not have been aware of is within those stats they also make public what’s called a "participation report."  This tracks every player, for both teams, that plays a single snap throughout the game.  It’s always something I check after every game and something I’ll absolutely use when putting this together.  So when I say Player X has played already this year and you’re sitting there saying "When did he ever get in the game?  I don’t remember that" this participation report is where I’m getting the info.  So let’s get started.

 

DT Marquise Anderson – An early enrollee, Anderson was thought to have a chance to play this year at a position the Sooners were unsure of the depth they had heading into 2011.  Thus far, Jarmarkus McFarland, Casey Walker, and Stacy McGee have pretty much played every snap (Torrea Peterson played in mop up duty against Tulsa) so there hasn’t been much need for Anderson.  I think he benefits greatly from a redshirt year, with a change to get bigger and stronger and work on technique.

Chances of a redshirt – Barring massive injuries at DT, 100%

OG Dylan Dismuke – A local product from Duncan, OK, Dismuke grew up a huge OU fan.  Coming in, there was little doubt that he would redshirt in 2011.  A big kid at 6’7" 299, he could compete for time next year with Stephen Good’s graduation.

Chances of a redshirt – 100%

OT Derek Farniok – If Dismuke is big, then Farniok is a freaking giant.  At 6’9" 325, I’d venture to guess he’s one of the first guys you want getting off the team bus if you’re looking to intimidate.  He drew some positive reviews early in fall camp for some better footwork than I think some expected for a kid his size.  Still probably has a ways to go, but at that size he could be a potentially dominant right tackle.

Chances of a redshirt – 100%

DE Nathan Hughes – He made a bold choice with his jersey number, #44, as even though it’s been nearly 25 years since he played for OU that number will forever be associated with The Boz.  Hughes is big for a typical OU DE (6’6" 250) and earlier in the year when there was some doubt as to Ronnell Lewis’ eligibility, it was thought he might see the field this year.  However, Lewis is back and coupled with a dominant at times Frank Alexander, an improved David King, and the light finally coming on for R.J. Washington it doesn’t look like there is much chance of Hughes playing this year.  Especially when you consider guys like Geneo Grissom and Chuka Ndulue also ahead of him.

Chances of a redshirt – 100%

WR Kameel Jackson – Obviously we know this one as Jackson has played in two of the first three games.  A credit to his ability to work his way onto the field in such a short time at a deep position for the Sooners.

Chances of a redshirt – Duh, 0%

LB Kellen Jones – This was the kid who transferred really late from Michigan and somehow came in and impressed the coaches enough in just a couple weeks to be included on the depth chart for Tulsa and has now played in all three games (exclusively on special teams I believe).  It will be interesting to watch if they get him any time at LB this year or if he just plays special teams.

Chances of a redshirt – Obviously 0%

OL Nila Kasitati – Probably most well known to this point for his ‘Haka’ on the Sooners All Access show, Nila has yet to play a down this year.  And personally I think that’s a good thing and really hope that they choose to redshirt him.  I think it would be a complete waste of a year if he gets some mop up time late in games and would really do nothing to assist his development.  It’s yet to really be determined whether he plays guard or tackle, but as he continues to get bigger with his athleticism he could be a potentially superstar tackle.

Chances of redshirt – 75%

LB P.L. Lindley – OU’s favorite hybrid LB/S type player, he had very little chance of playing with both Tony Jefferson and Joe Ibiloye ahead of him at that spot.

Chance of redshirt – 100%

WR Trey Metoyer – Technically he’s now a member of the 2012 class, assuming of course that after his year at Hargrave he keeps his commitment to OU (which he’s given no indication whatsoever of doing otherwise).  Given the suspension of Trey Franks and the two games Kenny Stills has missed, it’s hard not to think that if Metoyer could have qualified he very likely would be playing right now.  As it is, he’ll likely be in Norman this January and could be a part of an all time great WR class in 2012 if OU can get a commit from DGB.

Chances of a redshirt – Really?

CB Bennett Okotcha – A very nice late addition to the class, Okotcha acquitted himself quite nicely during fall camp.  However, with the return of Jamell Fleming and Demontre Hurst locking down the other spot a redshirt was almost assured for Okotcha.

Chances of a redshirt – 100%

DT Jordan Phillips – Despite taking a summer class at OU, he was still held up by the NCAA Clearing House before being allowed to enroll this fall semester.  As a result, he joined the team late and what looked to be a slim chance to play in 2011 became even less likely.  He’s incredibly athletic for his size (6’6" 329), so look out for him next year.

Chances of a redshirt – 100%

LB Franklin Shannon – Another hybrid LB/S type player, I thought I remembered Shannon playing more safety than LB during fall camp.  Never the less, he’s another guaranteed redshirt.

Chances of a redshirt – 100%

TE Max Stevenson – With three locks ahead of him on the depth chart, playing time was never really an option for Stevenson in 2011.  He is a big (6’6") and is more athletic than he probably gets credit for at his size.  He will be a sizable target down the middle of the field for whoever is playing QB in 2012.

Chances of a redshirt – 100%

TE Dan Tapko – Tapko left the team shortly after arriving in the fall.

QB Kendal Thompson – Son of a Sooners legend, Thompson was another early enrollee.  There was some wishful thinking that with his mobility, the coaches might design a package to take advantage of that but I think at this point the chances of that (and even then probably) are pretty much zero.

Chances of a redshirt – 100%

DT Jordan Wade – Wade was another kid who had some issues with eligibility, but news this week was that he finally passed the TX state exit exam necessary to "graduate" from h.s.  So it is believed that he will finally be allowed to enroll at OU this January.  Good news for both him and the Sooners.

Chances of a redshirt – Um, I won’t insult your intelligence

RB Brandon Williams – Don’t think it’s a coincidence that I did this alphabetically to keep the one I know you all want to know about till the end.  We’re teetering close to that ‘will they or won’t they’ edge for the OU coaches and their decision as to play him or redshirt him.  Personally, given the gem they seem to have found in Dom Whaley I’m not sure I see the point in Williams playing, getting 20-25 carries (likely) in mop up duty, and totally wasting a year of eligibility.  I’d say if he doesn’t play against Ball State on Saturday, the chances (which already appear to be fairly high) of him redshirting go up even more.

Chances of a redshirt – 65%, for now.

RB/WR/DB Danzel Williams – He’s currently listed as a RB on the roster and I know he was given assurances that they’d (the coaches) give him a chance there, but I think many believe his future with this team is at the DB position.  However, with two RB transfers earlier this year I’m sure he’s liking his chances to get snaps there even more.  That will not be happening this year though, of that there is no doubt.

Chances of a redshirt – 100%

So there we have it.  It’s not like I wasn’t aware of most of this already, but a little shocking to go back on put it on paper (so to speak) like this and actually see how little contribution they’re getting or expected to get from them this year.  Just such a stark contrast to the 2010 class, but to be fair it’s not like classes like that come along all that often.  The upside of a class like 2011, and really one of the cool things with following recruiting in general, is that these guys are all really just additions to what is shaping up to be a very good 2012 class.  So if 75% of this class redshirts, it’s just like adding a bunch of three, four, and even five star kids as a kind of forgotten bonus heading into next year.

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