If you were here around this time last year, you know that we started something we thought would be fun and something we could turn into an annual tradition. We put out our first 'My Guys' column and as you can see, we had some hits and some misses. As we did last year, proper credit is due to the folks at Burnt Orange Nation who we admittedly borrowed the idea from after they borrowed it from Baseball Prospectus. Just because they're Longhorns doesn't mean they're incapable of the good idea from time to time, right?
Anyway, this actually works quite well as BON just put their 2013 version out and we are prepared to do the same.
We took a bit of a different approach this year in that Matt, Rich, and myself selected our guys in more of a draft style so as to avoid any duplicate picks. As a result, some of us might not have been able to get everyone we were looking for but I believe we're all pretty confident with who we did wind up with.
The beauty of this is there really is no set criteria for how you determine your 'My Guys.' You can pick someone who you know will play a crucial role in the coming season or you can pick a guy who you believe others are sleeping on and could have a breakout season. Before they play a snap, there are no wrong picks. When we come back around to grade our picks, well we can reevaluate things at that time.
Much as we did last year and like to encourage with everything we do here, we want to here from you as well. So let us know who you would have picked as your 'My Guys' in the comment section below.
Without further adieu, here are the second annual CCM 'My Guys.'
Matt's First Pick: WR Jalen Saunders
I believe that Saunders is going to be a key cog in the wheel of Oklahoma's offense. I wouldn't put him in the same class as Ryan Broyles in terms of production but I certainly would in terms of importance within the offense. He's lightning quick, has the ability to sit down in coverage and then make plays with the ball. I'm looking for him to lead Oklahoma's receivers in 2013. He's also a threat on special teams.
Rich's First Pick: CB Aaron Colvin
The Sooners defense has been under some scrutiny as of late and will be looking for a player to rally around. After opting out of the draft, Colvin is looking to be the undoubted leader of the secondary and the defense as a whole. Much of how successful Oklahoma will be depends upon his performance but Colvin has shown he can and will rise to the occasion. I expect this to be his best season to date.
Jordan's First Pick: S Hatari Byrd
Even before he arrived on campus, the expectations have been very high for the talented California defensive back. He arrived in Norman physically ready to play and by all accounts he has done nothing but impress during OU's fall practices and two scrimmages. One of his most valuable assets to date has been his ability to play multiple roles in this revamped Mike Stoops defense. His ability to play both safety and nickel back will only further increase the chances he sees significant time on the field this coming season. He's a true freshman so he is going to make some mistakes, but his ceiling is incredibly high and he could have a starting role possibly even prior to the Texas game.
Jordan's Second Pick: OG Dionte Savage
Selecting an offensive guard probably isn't the most exciting pick I could have made here, but if even half of what I've heard about Savage so far is true it could prove to make me look much smarter than everyone here knows I am not. From the day he first arrived, walked into the locker room, and reportedly shouted "Okay, whose job am I taking?" to the considerable work he's already put in with Jerry Schimdt and transforming his body, Savage could play a considerable role in OU's offensive line this year. Oklahoma has traditionally rotated their offensive linemen in and out of the game pretty regularly, though we'll have to see if that continues under new line coach Bill Bedenbaugh. So the odds were probably high already that Savage was going to play, but even if that weren't the case I think he'll be too good to keep off the field. If Adam Shead's back/injury issues flare up again, having a guy like Savage behind him could prove to be incredibly valuable.
Rich's Second Pick: WR Trey Metoyer
This is a kid who came in with a ton of hype surrounding his name. A five star recruit, Metoyer never lived up to the expectations as a freshman. Now with a year in the system as well as a year of building up confidence, he now has the chance to shine. The third receiver spot is up for grabs and Metoyer has the skills and drive to be one of the greats. Expect him to have a break out year.
Matt's Second Pick: LB Corey Nelson
This is the last chance for Nelson to live up to the hype that he arrived to Norman with. After showing promise as a freshman, he's kinda averaged out and even spent some time in the dog house. We all believe that he's much better than that and this is the season that he proves it. There's a lot of emphasis being put on Oklahoma's front-7 and Nelson could easily become that vocal and physical leader that the Sooner defense is looking for.
Matt's Third Pick: RB Roy Finch
Speaking of being in the dog house. It appears that possibly the coaching staff is ready to let Roy Finch loose. After seeing him bottled up for three seasons, Oklahoma fans are ready to see him reach his full potential. Like Saunders, he'll play a role on special teams but Oklahoma should also look to do whatever they can to get him the ball in space.
Rich's Third Pick: LB Frank Shannon
With his size and speed, Shannon proved to be an asset often out performing the starter. The experience has helped him grow tremendously as a player. Not only can he move sideline to sideline, he is a sure tackler. All of these attributes combined make him a vital piece of the front seven specifically in blitz packages.
Jordan's Third Pick: CB Cortez Johnson
After following Mike Stoops from Arizona and sitting out last year due to the transfer rules, OU fans are anxious to see if Johnson can hold his own lining up next to one of the top corners in the country in teammate Aaron Colvin. There is no questioning that Johnson looks the part. He's a big, physical corner who is very much in the mold of what Mike Stoops covets in his secondary. Playing opposite Colvin, he's going to get tested early and often so if he struggles a rebuilding OU secondary could be in serious trouble. However, if he proves capable it could go a long ways toward helping this OU defense get back to where it needs to be.
Jordan's Fourth Pick: DT Jordan Wade
Probably not the OU defensive tackle with a first name of Jordan that many might have expected, but I've been a fan of Wade's ever since he signed with the Sooners. He got to Norman late last year after some academic issues delayed his arrival and as a result it seems like a lot of people have forgotten about him. He's a big, powerful player who plays with a mean streak you love to see in a defensive tackle. At this point we don't really know what OU plans to do with this defense, so it's somewhat difficult to project the type of role Wade could have this year. But I'm of the opinion that his ceiling is as high as any other defensive tackle on this roster and yes, that includes Jordan Phillips. Now to be clear, I don't expect Wade to hit that ceiling this year but with the need at defensive tackle the opportunity for playing time is certainly there. And it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if he is a regular contributor by the end of the season.
Rich's Fourth Pick: DT Quincy Russell
Surprise! Another defensive player. Russell is coming off an All-American level performance on the JUCO level. While many have labeled him "the savior" for the defensive line, it will be far from the case as depth is still an issue. Russell will be a starter with his drive as he plays with a chip on his shoulder. This is a transfer with a lot to prove not only to the fans but also to himself. I wouldn't be surprised if we hear his name being thrown around more that anticipated as a disruption for opposing teams in the trenches.
Matt's Fourth Pick: DT Jordan Phillips
He's got the body size, strength and experience. Oklahoma needs something to happen up front on defense and Phillips is as good a possibility as anyone. Look for him to team up with newcomer Quincy Russell to revitalize the defensive line in Norman.
Matt's Fifth Pick: RB Alex Ross
This kid's future is still way out in front of him but he'll show Sooner fans glimpses of his talent this fall. Look for him to be the biggest talk of the off-season as well as the guy that OU fans will beg to see more of in 2013.
Rich's Fifth Pick: K Michael Hunnicutt
I know I will catch a little bit of flack for this pick. However, Oklahoma is losing the senior leadership of Tress Way but inherits Jay Boulware who will take over as special teams coach. While Hunnicutt has been exceptional, he has remained inconsistent at best when attempting anything outside of 40 yards. However, the biggest area I expect to see an improvement from this kid is in being able to plant the kickoff in the back of the endzone. We will see a great improvement in both areas which is a great thing as I anticipate the Sooners playing in a few more close games than they would like to this season.
Jordan's Fifth Pick: DE Charles Tapper
Probably could have gone any with any number of guys here for my final pick, but the young defensive end from Baltimore was too tempting to pass up. He's the kind of athlete that Oklahoma has not typically had at the defensive end spot and this is a defensive line that is incredibly desperate for difference makers. He's still really raw as a prospect, but his physical skills are so great that he can make plays purely on his athletic ability alone. And the Sooners are going to need him to, especially if he is going to start as he's currently projected to do so.
There you have it. A lot more defensive players than any of us would have ever expected. And no one took a quarterback, which even with the starting spot being somewhat up in the air still came as a surprise. No Trey Millard, no Damien Williams, no Sterling Shepard. Still several guys who could have very easily been taken in place of any of those we did take.
Hopefully you all enjoyed reading it as much as we did putting it together. And hopefully you'll let us know your picks in the comments.