Fall camp is well underway for the Oklahoma Sooners, and what happens during these August practices will set the 2017 season in motion.
A mere four months ago, the team was constructed a bit differently. Since the conclusion of spring practice, there has been a bit of a coaching change, the rest of the signing class from the latest recruiting cycle has made it to campus, and the most dreaded part of football — injuries — has reared its ugly head.
Never fear, football’s almost here. The commencement of yet another season full of promise and fortuitous bounces is nearly within reach. The best will play, and the rest will continue to work. There are those who have already proven and solidified their spots, but then there are players who may be just on the cusp of becoming significant contributors on the field, or who need to take that next step to fill a possible void from the previous season. Whatever the reasoning, here are five Sooners that have the most to prove during fall camp:
CB Jordan Parker
Many fans would probably concur that the entire defensive back unit has something to prove this fall, but out of all the DBs, I feel none of them have more to prove than Parker.
A true freshman last season, Parker made his debut against Texas after Michiah Quick went down with an injury. The position wasn’t so rock-solid to begin with, but Jordan Parker started the rest of the season and even earned a spot on ESPN’s True Freshman All-American team.
Then seemingly out of nowhere, a player by the name of Parnell Motley emerges. Motley stood out in the spring, and made some outstanding plays during the spring game.
Fast-forward to the present, and it appears as though Parker may lose his starting spot to Motley. Not only that, but he also has this year’s freshmen looking to move past him on the depth chart, guys like Justin Broiles, Tre Brown and Tre Norwood. Of course that’s also part of football, but for Parker, he’ll especially be looking to make sure it does not happen to him.
LB Jon-Michael Terry
Redshirt freshman middle linebacker Jon-Michael Terry has a lot to prove this fall camp. With Jordan Evans graduated, there is a significant void left in the middle of the linebacker corp.
Terry possesses tremendous size at 6’2” and 240 pounds, and at the Mike LB spot, it’s a good thing to have. Heading into the spring, Terry was expected to be the man for the job, but early-enrollee Kenneth Murray has unexpectedly made it a real competition.
The emergence of Murray can only mean good things for OU football. JMT realizes that the starting position is not his by default, so he must work even harder to separate himself in the eyes and minds of the coaching staff. This in turn also makes Murray a better player. By the end of fall camp, a starter will be named, and Jon-Michael Terry will be out to prove he should get the nod.
WR A.D. Miller
In two seasons, A.D. Miller has a total of 14 receptions for 161 yards and 2 TDs, so it is paramount that the junior receiver has a substantial fall camp, otherwise he could find himself buried on the depth chart for good.
The reason being is because he’ll have newcomers like junior college transfer Marquise Brown, graduate transfer Jeff Badet, and true freshmen CeeDee Lamb and Charleston Rambo nipping at his heels, and by all accounts every one of these players has the potential to earn significant playing time.
Even with the season-ending injury to Nick Basquine, playing time for Miller is going to be tough to come by. Tough, but not impossible. Miller has excellent natural athleticism, even among his fellow receivers, and with a 6’3” frame, he has the potential to be a major threat in the red zone. If Miller can put it all together during camp, look out. Until then, A.D. has much to prove.
QB Austin Kendall
So we all know who will be the starting field general at OU. Baker Mayfield has not only proven he’s the best of the bunch, he’s also proven he’s one of the best in all of college football. But what about the backup QB spot?
Austin Kendall, a true sophomore out of North Carolina, saw limited action in his first season at OU. Even though he made only two appearances, his 16 completions and 143 yards rank highest for a true freshman in the Stoops era. That would usually all but solidify him for the back-up role.
That’s obviously not the case in this instance.
Waiting in the wings all last year was another QB by the name of Kyler Murray. Murray, a transfer from Texas A&M, has the kind of pedigree most players can only dream of.
So where does this leave Kendall? With the recent dismissal of Chris Robison, the competition for back-up QB is clearly down to two. Kyler Murray outplayed Austin Kendall in the spring game, but only so much can be said for a single outing. Kendall knows he must put forth his best effort during fall camp if he wants to avoid falling behind Murray for good.
RB Abdul Adams
While some might feel as though RB Rodney Anderson has more to prove this fall given his unfortunate injury history and off-season praise, upon closer inspection it should be Abdul Adams who has even more to prove.
The primary reason for this is because many felt that after seeing Adams last season (behind stars like Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon), they knew what to expect and where his ceiling was. Consider the expectations that have had Rodney Anderson as the projected starter and the infusion of three talented newcomers in Marcelias Sutton, Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks, and some had almost written off the young Adams as being a significant factor almost entirely.
If anything, Adams should have the biggest chip on his shoulder. He also has the attention of his quarterback, Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield stated that “Abdul has progressed the most out of all of [the RBs].” In addition, running backs coach Jay Boulware said that Adams is “probably our most improved player on our football team from his first year to his second.”
With the encouragement and acknowledgment of his teammates and his coaches, Adams has the internal support to become a key contributor for OU. He still has a lot to prove in the minds of the fans, but as long as he continues to do all the right things, it should come as no surprise to anyone to see him succeed on the field.
Which Sooner has the most to prove during fall camp?
This poll is closed