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2018 Oklahoma Sooners Countdown to Kickoff | 2 Days!

Derrick Strait played on defense, but he ended up with more touches than a lot of offensive players.

Nebraska v Oklahoma X Strait Getty Images

There are still two days remaining before the Oklahoma Sooners take the field this Saturday, but Week 1 of college football officially kicks off tonight! Before you check out the action happening around the nation, take a closer look back at one of the most ferocious defensive Sooners in the last 20 years. Yup, I’m talking about the one and only Derrick Strait.

From 2000 to 2003, cornerback Derrick Strait made throwing the ball a dangerous decision for opposing quarterbacks. The Austin native had a natural magnetism for the ball, and also for any receiver who dared to go up for it. The best defensive players in history have elite instincts, precisely because playing defense is inherently reactionary in nature. Strait had those instincts.

When QBs would throw his way, it was as if he knew the ball was coming before the decision was even made. There’s no doubt in my mind, Strait was in his opponents’ heads, and that only elevated the impact he had on the field.

When he wasn’t picking off passes, batting balls down or scooping up live fumbles, he was burying ball carriers into the turf. He was a defensive coordinator’s dream because he did so many things right. He could cover, he could hit, and most importantly, he knew where he was supposed to be.

After being a key contributor as a freshman during Oklahoma’s national championship run in 2000, Strait continued to get better with each passing start. By the end of his senior season, he was named a Unanimous All-American (‘03), and he won the Thorpe and Nagurski Awards for the nation’s best defensive back and overall defensive player, respectively.

For his illustrious career, Derrick Strait racked up 14 interceptions for a school-record 397 yards and two touchdowns. He went on to be selected by the New York Jets in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft, but unfortunately his history with injuries finally caught up with him in the league after just a couple seasons. Still, No. 2 will always be remembered as one of the best DBs to ever come through Norman.

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