OU Football 2012 Class - Who Makes An Impact?

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Well now that the ink is barely dry on all those LOIs, might as well get to the way too early analysis of all the newest members of Sooner Nation. We thought it would be a good conversation starter to breakdown OU's 2012 class to see who could be potential impact players next year, who could possibly contribute, and who might redshirt. As always, we'll give you our thoughts on things but your opinion is always wanted. So if you've got a different take on things, let your voice be heard in the comments.

IMPACT PLAYERS

CB Kass Everett - Fully expect Everett to win the starting job opposite Hurst. On film, he showed the ability and willingness to step up in run defense and that's a trait Mike Stoops loves in his DBs.

OT Will Latu - I'll be incredibly disappointed if he isn't the starting right tackle in the season opener next year. I know the coaches love Lane Johnson, but this shouldn't even be a competition in my mind.

TE Taylor McNamara - In a normal year, he'd probably redshirt but the TE position for OU in 2012 will be anything but normal.

WR Trey Metoyer - OU fans will find out very quick why this guy was regarded by many as the top WR in the country last year. There was obviously a delay in him making it to campus, but he's here now and OU fans should be very, very excited to see him on the field.

RB Damien Williams - For me, you're looking at OU's starting RB next year. He's that good in my opinion. I'm very hopeful Dom Whaley can be 100% by this summer, but that was a nasty injury he suffered. In a perfect world, OU has them both along with their other options and is ridiculously loaded at RB.

TE Brannon Green - He'll share time with both McNamara and Sam Grant, but he'll essentially be the defacto "starter." He should be an absolute beast in the run game and early reports are he's a significantly better receiver than the coaches expected him to be.

WR Courtney Gardner - This is a future NFL wide receiver in our eyes and the Sooners scored big stealing him late from Arkansas. He's another player that the OU coaches targeted for his ability to come in and contribute immediately.

CONTRIBUTORS

CB Gary Simon - I think of the two DBs OU signed on Wednesday, only one will play in 2012. I think that guy will be Simon. Mike Stoops was said to be gushing about Simon's potential and I think this kid could be a star. He'll be a reserve in 2012, but he'll be a name to know in 2013 we think.

DE Chaz Nelson - Tough call here on deciding between impact/contributor and we slot him here because with two seniors ahead of him on the depth chart, he very likely won't start but will play an important role in the DE rotation.

LB/S Eric Striker - This might be a bit of a reach, but I think he'll be a contributor on special teams. I also think he ends up at safety and not linebacker, but time will tell on that one.

WR Durron Neal - I can't tell you how much I wanted to put him in the impact player category. Neal is one of my favorite players in this class and I cannot wait to see what he does in the crimson and cream. He will be a factor at WR and they're already talking about using him in the return game.

RB Alex Ross - If healthy, I just think this kid is going to be too good to keep of the field. Given all the other options they're going to have, I'd like to see a redshirt to avoid wasting a year of eligibility (like they did with Brandon Williams before he transferred) but the coaches have avoided that kind of common sense in recent years.

TE Sam Grant - He'll play both because of his blocking ability and because OU has no TEs.

WR Sterling Shepard - In a perfect world, Shepard would redshirt but I think he'll be another player who is too good to keep of the field. Aside from Kameel Jackson, OU doesn't really have a true slot receiver and Shepard fits that role perfectly. He could also play a role in the return game.

REDSHIRTS

ATH Daniel Brooks - Some see his future at CB, but he's going to be given a shot at RB first. With so many guys ahead of him at that spot, this is almost a guaranteed redshirt IMO.

CB Zack Sanchez - I think one of the two freshman DBs is going to play next season and I just have a gut feeling it won't be Sanchez. I could be wrong and it's not a knock on his talents, just a hunch on my part.

DE Michael Onuoha - I know he talked about Stoops and BJW telling him he could play as a true frosh, but I just don't see it happening. There are two many guys ahead of him and he needs to put on a considerable amount of weight to be ready to play at this level. He'd benefit from a redshirt year.

DE Charles Tapper - Tapper is similar to Onuoha in that they are both super athletic, but also super raw. Football players in basketball bodies when they get to campus, we think both will need a year to work with the coaches on their technique.

C Ty Darlington - Even with the Ben Habern injury, I still think Darlington redshirts. OU has Gabe Ikard and Austin Woods, so Darlington can benefit from a redshirt year and be ready in 2013 to be the next great OU center.

OT Kyle Marrs - Way too many guys ahead of him and he needs a year with the coaches.

OG John Michael McGee - Another guy that will really benefit from a redshirt year. Could really benefit from D-I S&C program, especially in the lower body.

QB Trevor Knight - By far the easiest call of the bunch. Knight could be really good, but 2012 will be a year to learn the offense.

RB David Smith - Maybe he plays some special teams because of his speed, but to me that would be a total waste of a year for him. We're hoping the coaches are smarter than that and Smith redshirts.

WR Derrick Woods - He's incredibly athletic, but very raw as a wide receiver. He'd have an even brighter future at safety in the eyes of many, but much like Brooks he's been assured a chance at offense first.

(We've addressed the Laith Harlow situation, so that's obviously why he isn't included in this breakdown.)

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