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Oklahoma Sooners: Freshman Who Must Produce Against UTEP

Apr 14, 2012; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners receiver Trey Metoyer (17) runs with the ball during first half of the Oklahoma spring game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Apr 14, 2012; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners receiver Trey Metoyer (17) runs with the ball during first half of the Oklahoma spring game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

With the Oklahoma Sooners' start to the season just a day away, there are still a few concerns with loose ends. in an attempt to address these issues, the Sooners recruited a few key freshman who could have an immediate impact on the field. There is no better time to break in a few of these players to see how they respond in real time situations than in the games leading up to conference play. OU will travel to El Paso, Texas to take on the UTEP Miners in the Sun Bowl. Here are a handful of freshman who will need to make an impact on Saturday.

Michael Onuoha - DE - This is a beast of kid at 6-5 / 235 and will be bearing down on opposing offenses from the left defensive end position. The key this year for the Sooners will be getting pressure on the quarterbacks in the Big XII. Replacing the likes of Ronnell Lewis and Frank Alexander is no small feat but the defense took a good step with this kid. There is a ton of potential and versatility for Oklahoma to work with. With his size and speed, he will be a force to reckon with in the future. He had this to say about himself:

"I could see myself gaining a lot of weight and then being a pretty stacked player. But at the same time, I'm really quick, so I can say something like a Ronnell Lewis [is who I could be like]. I can play Jack, I can drop, I got speed off the edge, so either way I'm not really going to compare myself to anybody because I'm Mike Onuoha and I'm a whole different person." - Scout

Trey Metoyer - WR - This one is a no brainer for anyone familiar with Oklahoma Football. Landry Jones is going to need targets to throw to. With Ryan Broyles off to the NFL, it is time for someone to step up and become the next WR at Oklahoma. Ultimately that role falls to Kenny Stills while Metoyer is a star in the making. It is no secret that OU will need three exceptional receivers if they hope to compete with the top teams in the nation.

While there are huge expectations for Metoyer, he has yet to suit up on the D-I level and make a reception. In all of the practices leading up to Saturday, this is a kid who has yet to drop a pass. He has the know how combined with the skills to be a threat on multiple level. If the spring was any indicator of what is to come, this is a kid bound for greatness. Hopefully, that star will shine brighter but it all starts on Saturday.

Jordan Phillips - DT - With all the problems surfacing along the defensive line, the Phillips has been thrust into the lime light. Stacy McGee has been suspended while Casey Walker is dealing with health issues and the Sooners will be looking to inexperience to fill the gap. Phillips is a prime candidate to shine in the role given his 6-6 / 318 frame coupled with the off the charts athletic ability to dunk as well a pull off a standing backflip (gives me confidence I can complete one as well assuming I'm brave enough to try).

However, the DT position is not one that usually features youngsters. It is not the easiest position to learn and requires discipline as well as fundamentals. In recent years, the run defense has been suspect and will be looking to get back on track. Jackie Shipp has done a great job in developing future talent but is Phillips ready for the role? Sooner fans hope so as this is a kid many talked about.

Sterling Shepard - WR - There is a huge potential problem that currently dominates the Sooners receiver outlook. From intially wondering who would take the field after suspensions were dealt out to bringing in a ton of talent through JUCO transfers, freshmen, and D-I transfers, Oklahoma has had it's fair share of problems. With the emergence of Trey Metoyer, the coaching staff was forced to find a way to get him on the field with Kenny Stills. The result was Stills moving to the slot.

How does that involve Shepard? Well, Shepard is a highly touted slot receiver who has been drawing comparisons to Ryan Broyles. Seeing as Stills is the only returning receiver to record a reception in a Sooner jersey, it is highly unlikely that Shepard will be given the nod for the starting position. However, it is almost certain that Shepard will see the field on Saturday. Oklahoma will likely use four and five receiver sets or kick Stills outside with Metoyer and insert Shepard in the slot. There are plenty of ways to use him and he will be counted on later down the road as well. Hopefully this is a kid who will live up to the comparisons while helping this group become the greatest in Oklahoma history.