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2014 Oklahoma Sooners Football Preview | Linebackers

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Kevin C. Cox

The Frank Shannon situation has Oklahoma's linebacker corps shrouded in a bit of mystery because there's no telling what the personnel on the field is going to look like. I'm of the opinion, regardless of what shakes down in the courts, that it will be sophomore Jordan Evans who draws the start anyway. So with that in mind we'll give the obligatory mention that Shannon, a junior this fall, led the team in 2013 with 92 total tackles. If he's available then he is obviously a tremendous asset but with the uncertainty around him you have to move forward as if he wasn't going to be there.

#

Name

Pos

HT

WT

Year

Home

1

Alexander, Dominique

LB

6-0

227

So.

Tulsa, Okla. (Booker T. Washington HS)

18

Bolton, Curtis

LB

6-2

210

Fr.

Murrieta, Calif. (Vista Murrieta HS)

5

Bond, Devante

LB

6-1

236

Jr.

Sacramento, Calif. (Sierra CC)

26

Evans, Jordan

LB

6-3

223

So.

Norman, Okla. (Norman North HS)

9

Evans, Tay

LB

6-2

221

Fr.

Allen, Texas (Allen HS)

29

Favors, Rashod

LB

6-1

253

RSr.

Fort Worth, Texas (Dunbar HS)

25

Franklin, Aaron

LB

6-1

226

RSr.

Marshall, Texas (Marshall HS)

45

Gastelum, Caleb

LB

6-2

217

Sr.

Claremore, Okla. (Home School)

85

Grissom, Geneo

LB

6-4

252

RSr.

Hutchinson, Kan. (Hutchinson HS)

42

Hunter, Ruben

LB

6-1

200

So.

Oklahoma City, Okla. (Putnam City North HS)

40

Lindley, P.L.

LB

6-2

262

RJr.

Round Rock, Texas (Stony Point HS)

82

Okoronkwo, Ogbonnia

LB

6-1

240

RFr.

Houston, Texas (Alief Taylor HS)

51

Parker, Cade

LB

6-1

231

Fr.

Norman, Okla. (Norman High School)

20

Shannon, Frank

LB

6-1

238

RJr.

Dallas, Texas (Skyline HS)

19

Striker, Eric

LB

6-0

221

Jr.

Seffner, Fla. (Armwood HS)

31

Taylor, Londell

LB

6-0

241

RJr.

Vian, Okla. (Rose State College)

The Frank Shannon situation puts sophomore Jordan Evans directly in the spotlight as he will be looked upon to duplicate what Shannon provided for the team in 2013. He played in eight games last season, with a career-high 8 tackles against Texas Tech, so it isn't like Oklahoma is throwing a guy on the field with no experience. Evans was athletic enough in high school that while he starred at linebacker he also returned punts and kickoffs, even returning four kickoffs and two punts for scores.

Everyone is well aware of the budding star that Oklahoma has in junior Eric Striker as well. An All-Conference selection in 2013, Striker recorded 50 total tackles and 6.5 sacks. A lightening quick burst off the line makes him extremely difficult to block coming off the edge which allows him to be a pass rushing specialist on third and long.

The guy who seems to be a bit overlooked among the linebackers is sophomore Dominique Alexander. The 2013 Big XII Defensive Newcomer of the Year recorded 80 total tackles which placed him second on the team. Considering that he didn't even start until the Texas game, ranking second on the team in tackles as a true freshman is even more impressive.

Newcomer Devante Bond (JUCO Transfer) is going to make the field for Oklahoma this fall as well. Cut in the same mold as Striker, Bond is a pass rushing specialists as well who is possibly a bit stronger in run support. What will be interesting to watch with him is how will he picks up the game after sitting out the 2013 season. In 2012 Bond was unbelievably good. In eleven games he recorded 77 tackles, 17 sacks, and 27 tackles for loss. Yes, in eleven games. Its okay, we'll give you a second to read that state line again.

Answer me this, between Striker, Bond and defensive end Charles Tapper, who are you going to slide protect against or double team on third and long?

Finally, Geneo Grissom has been officially moved to linebacker but you'll most likely find the 6-4/252 senior hovering close to the line of scrimmage on first and second downs as a way of run support. Basically he'll be a defensive end playing the linebacker position in Oklahoma's defensive scheme.