This is something we've probably done here before in some form or fashion, but now we're going to 'formalize' things and make this all "official like." This likely doesn't need much explanation, it's pretty simple. We all have a guy or two we may irrationally favor more so than some others. It doesn't necessarily make sense all the time. Sometimes you just can't explain something when it "just feels right." We all know what that's like, right?
Did things just get a little weird in here?
Anyway, this is an admittedly borrowed idea. This is something Peter, over at Burnt Orange Nation has been doing for a number of years. Granted, he borrowed it from Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus, but it's always something I've enjoyed reading and wanted to try here at CCM. So I have to give proper credit where credit is due, even if it is to a Longhorn.
So, here we go.
Matt's Guy: Gabe Ikard - Not a flashy pick, but even before Ben Habern had to retire from football I thought he was Oklahoma's best all around offensive lineman. What he does on a weekly basis won't show up in the stats but anchoring the offensive line from the center position is pretty darn important. Other than Landry Jones he's the only other player who will touch the ball on every offensive down.
Rich's Guy: R.J. Washington - This is a defensive end who has shown flashes of potential, but has not received enough playing time to really stretch his wings. In the playing time he saw last season, behind NFL Caliber players, Washington came up big time and time again. With his name being inserted into the starting lineup, I think he grows into what he has already shown. Plus, I wouldn't be surprised to see this kid lead the Big XII in sacks.
Jordan's Guy: Aaron Colvin - Colvin is primed to take over the 'most underrated player' role Demontre Hurst currently holds and this year will be no exception. And it's a shame, because he is one hell of a football player. Corner, as many of you know, is a position that doesn't typically get noticed unless they are helplessly chasing down a receiver from behind. So with that being the standard, Colvin may go unnoticed all season. But for those of us who pay closer attention to all the little details, he could easily prove to be the most valuable player on this defense in 2012.
Matt's Guy: Corey Nelson - Kid was in the doghouse during the spring but has worked his way out of it and has emerged as a leader of the defense during the summer. Tom Wort will be getting a lot of attention this fall (and deservedly so) but Nelson will be in on a ton of plays himself and will be among the best linebackers in the conference.
Rich's Guy: Landry Jones - Yes, this is a high profile pick but I have always been in Jones' corner. He made the decision to come back for his senior season for a single reason...to finish what he set out to do and become the best. This is the season it all culminates for Jones' and he has off the chart numbers while putting his doubters to rest.
Jordan's Guy: Damien Williams - I've been in the driver's seat of the Damien Williams bandwagon ever since his LOI came through that fax machine on National Signing Day. If you've ever taken the time to watch some of his highlights, you know why I'm so bullish on the JUCO transfer. He's a tough, hard inside runner yet also possesses the ability to take it to the house if he hits the crease. Admittedly, the odds aren't necessarily in his favor with Dom Whaley and Brennan Clay providing some stiff competition for carries. However, I remain of the opinion that he'll simply be too good to keep off the field. (Disclaimer - I'm just going to go ahead and claim Alex Ross in this spot for 2013. The things people close to the program are saying about him, I mean wow.)
Matt's Guy: Tress Way - Yeah, I know he's a punter but he's also one of the best punter's in the nation. There aren't a lot of schools who can claim the punter as a game changer, but the Sooners certainly can as Way has proven over and over again that he can flip the field position battle with just one swing of his foot.
Rich's Guy: Michael Hunnicutt - We saw the beginning of a new era when Hunnicutt took the field. From the moment we all closed our eyes and held our breath right before a field goal attempt, to being able to peek through our fingers at every attempt, this is a kid that has a ton of potential. Could he be the best since Garrett Hartley? Absolutely, and he will only be a sophomore this coming season. Hunnicutt is a guy that has never ceased to impress me as this summer, he reportedly knocked a 55-yarder through the uprights. When the games are close, my money would go on this kid if I were a betting man.
Jordan's Guy: Javon Harris - Yeah, I said it. The guy took all kinds of grief last year from OU fans, but showed a ton of class and character by (1) meeting with the media following the Baylor game (one of his worst on the season) and (2) never letting the doubters bring him down. Following that Baylor game and his meeting with the media, he instantly won my respect and became a player I will root for always. Couple that with quotes I've read this summer like "Mike Stoops arrival has saved his (Harris') career" and "He's a completely different player." I think the simplified schemes Mike Stoops is bringing to this defense are going to make a huge difference in his play.
Matt's Guy: Aaron Colvin - Like Tony Jefferson you have to love this kid's attitude and resolve. He was moved from a position that he's a natural at and placed at a position with a learning curve in 2011. Now he's back at corner and several Oklahoma fans (myself included) are expecting him to shine.
Rich's Guy: Demontre Hurst - I dunno what it is but Hurst has never gotten the credit I think is due him. Maybe it is because he has made a living putting receivers on Hurst Island, a desolate place to be exiled to. Nonetheless, he has been a solid corner with great hip rotation and the ability to break up passes constantly. Maybe this season, his senior year, the media will see the impact from him that this fan sees.
Jordan's Guy: Sterling Shepard - There was already talk this summer about the true freshman potentially starting as the Sooners slot wide receiver. Granted, Kenny Stills apparent move inside all but squashes the chances of him starting but Shepard should still see plenty of snaps this season. He is the prototypical slot wide receiver - smallish, great moves in the open field, has a knack for finding holes in the defense - and projects as the perfect replacement for Ryan Broyles in this offense. I expect him to be one of those rare true freshman who appears to play well beyond his years of experience.
Guys who could have very easily been included: Austin Woods, David King, Jordan Phillips, Durron Neal, Trey Metoyer, Gabe Lynn, Justin Brown, Alex Ross, Trey Millard, Eric Striker, Adam Shead, Taylor McNamara, Chuka Ndulue, Charles Tapper.