Tuesday New Year’s Eve, friends and fans!
It hasn’t been the easiest week for the Oklahoma Sooners after what happened in Atlanta last Saturday, but here is some good news. According to The Athletic’s Jason Kersey, RB Kennedy Brooks has informed the OU coaches that he intends to return for his redshirt junior season in 2020.
Good news for #Sooners fans: Per a source close to him, RB Kennedy Brooks will return to Oklahoma in 2020 for his junior season. A two-time 1,000-yard rusher, Brooks thought about the NFL this year but has informed coaches that he’s staying.— Jason Kersey (@jasonkersey) December 30, 2019
In 13 appearances this year, Brooks eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing mark for the second time in as many years. With the news of his staying at Oklahoma, he’ll only trail Kansas’ Pooka Williams Jr. for leading returning rusher honors in the Big 12 going into 2020.
Kersey also provided a small update on RB Trey Sermon’s status. If you recall, the junior went down with a knee injury against Iowa State in early November, and would remain sidelined for the remainder of the season.
No word yet about Trey Sermon. But Oklahoma desperately needed at least one of them to return, especially considering Rhamondre Stevenson’s likely 5-game suspension to start 2020.— Jason Kersey (@jasonkersey) December 30, 2019
If senior Rhamondre Stevenson is indeed missing for the first five games of 2020 (Missouri State, Tennessee, at Army, Baylor, vs. Texas) for suspension, Brooks’ veteran presence will be especially welcomed. Sermon would also help tremendously, but if he’s not part of the equation, there are capable options in junior T.J. Pledger, redshirt freshman Marcus Major and true freshman Seth McGowan (who is expected to enroll for the spring semester). Something else going for the Oklahoma run game is the experience along the offensive line. Still no official word on whether or not Creed Humphrey is returning, but most of the other starting pieces should be set with guys who all gained a season’s worth of reps this year. If the Rimington Award finalist chooses to give it another go-around, this could be another special unit for O-line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.
Now onto today’s Hot Links! Building defensive depth continues to be a priority for OU’s coaching staff, Lamb and K9 could both end up in the AFC North, Matt Rhule says he declined Cleveland’s interview offer and more!
- Sixth-year senior WR Nick Basquine was the old man on campus in his curtain-call season for Oklahoma. Throughout his journey, the Norman native overcame obstacle after obstacle, from starting his career as a walk-on to returning to the field following not one but two Achilles tendon injuries. Above all else, his leadership will be missed the most, but what a run it’s been for this Sooner.
- The Tulsa World’s Eric Bailey has notes on Lincoln Riley’s thoughts on the 2019 season. The head coach doesn’t consider this year a rebuild, nor a step back. Also, Riley spoke about a current appeals process for the suspended players, as well as a possible CFP hangover in the future when it comes to OU and the committee.
- A glaring weakness for Oklahoma reared its ugly head against LSU: a lack of defensive depth. The Sooners have short and long term goals for building quality depth on defense, particularly up front, writes the Norman Transcript’s Tyler Palmateer.
- Speaking of defensive depth, Alex Grinch has a vision for how he wants the OU secondary to look, and that’s beginning to come together with this 2020 recruiting class. While the Sooners will need to replace CB Parnell Motley, there is plenty of size, speed and talent waiting in the wings, writes Sooner Scoop’s Bob Przybylo.
- Pro Football Focus has released its final mock 2020 NFL Draft before the New Year, and both WR CeeDee Lamb and LB Kenneth Murray received first-round projections. One or both of these Sooners could be reuniting with former teammates with the Cleveland Browns or the Baltimore Ravens.
- Adrian Peterson may be a little long in the tooth compared to most of the other high-profile backs in the league, but he’s proving he can still run with the best of them if not out-do them altogether. Way to work, AD.
- Make sure you check out Allen’s All-Decade Team at OU for the 2010s. As you could probably expect, the offensive side of the ball is where things are the most difficult to narrow down with all the star power that’s come through Oklahoma over the last 10 seasons. Defensively, there is a noticeable drop-off when it comes to overall talent, but even still there have been plenty of game-changers in recent Sooner history.
Around the Sports World
- Baylor Bears coach Matt Rhule said he’s turned down an interview with the Cleveland Browns and has no plan on entertaining NFL offers as his team prepares for its Sugar Bowl bout against the Georgia Bulldogs.
- Ohio State Buckeyes RB J.K. Dobbins announced that he’ll be forgoing his senior season to enter the 2020 NFL Draft. The junior rushed for a program-best 2,003 yards, 21 touchdowns and was a Doak Walker Award finalist in 2019.
- The Alabama Crimson Tide received huge news Monday night when LB Dylan Moses announced he’ll be returning to Tuscaloosa for his senior season. The talented defender suffered an ACL injury just weeks before the start of the 2019 campaign, and was expected to be a team leader on the field before the major setback.
- Incoming Georgia Tech freshman WR Bryce Gowdy, 17, died in a train accident early Monday morning. The 2020 signee was set to enroll in the school next week.
- The highest-paid state employee in any given state is almost always a head coach. Check out this interactive article by ESPN’s Charlotte Gibson for yourself to see who is receiving the biggest checks in each of the 50 states.
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