As we’re just 58 days away from kicking off next season, we thought we’d throw a shoutout to another returning starter on the Oklahoma Sooners’ stacked offensive line, center Erick Wren. The former walk-on was a surprise noise-maker last season as he took over the starting spot from injured starter Jonathan Alvarez and never looked back.
Wren, a redshirt senior set to enter his final collegiate season in 2017, came to OU as an unheralded JUCO transfer from Arizona Western CC by way of Horn High School in Mesquite, Texas. After seeing limited action at OU in 2015, he earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors after starting 10 games last season following the injury to Alvarez. Wren quickly grew to become one of the true stalwarts on the imposing Oklahoma offensive line.
Wren remarkably surrendered only one sack in his first season in D-I college football and was finally placed on a well-deserved scholarship late last September. The “never-say-die” attitude in Wren began truly taking shape when he was diagnosed with a learning disability as a middle school student. Rather than let his disability limit him, Wren took hold of his own future and decided that giving up was not an option.
Despite taking some bumps and having to take the long road through the junior college route after academic issues kept him from playing in Division I right away, Wren has admirably battled back to become one of the most underrated offensive linemen in the country at one of the nation’s most elite programs. With his size, aggressiveness and relentless activity, Wren exemplifies the true grit and indefatigable character of the dominant starting offensive line the Sooners return fully in tact heading into next season.
Although Jonathan Alvarez is a starting-caliber center on most Big 12 teams, Wren came in as a challenger who took over the spot in noticeable fashion and never gave it up. Following the careers of such standout Sooner centers as Ty Darlington and Gabe Ikard, the Sooners should consider themselves lucky to have such quality and depth year after year at a position so crucial to any football team’s success.
The 6-2, 328-pound, Erick Wren has, to the delight of the Sooner Nation, found his niche in Lincoln Riley’s system and is already a prime catalyst to count on as OU tries to return to the College Football Playoff in 2017. He is instinctive, disciplined and especially excels in pass protection as he wasted no time getting in sync with his gunslinging quarterback Baker Mayfield.
With this being his final season in such a unique, storybook career in the Crimson & Cream, here’s to Erick Wren and what we all hope is a season for the ages. The former walk-on who never quits is one who fully deserves it.