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Oklahoma Sooners Football: Who could take advantage of the four-game redshirt rule?

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The four-game rule for redshirting has changed the calculus for newcomers’ playing time.

NCAA Football: U.S. Army All-American Bowl Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma Sooners made liberal use of the new NCAA rule in 2018 allowing players to appear in up to four games in a season and still take a redshirt.

Of the newcomers on scholarship who redshirted:

  • Offensive lineman Michael Thompson and cornerback Starrland Baldwin both missed the entire season with injuries.
  • Inside linebacker Brian Asamoah and OLs Darrell Simpson and David Swaby saw zero snaps.
  • RUSH LBs Nik Bonitto and Jalen Redmond, quarterback Tanner Mordecai, OL Brey Walker, CB Miguel Edwards, wide receiver Jaquayln Crawford, and defensive lineman Jordan Kelley played in at least one game.

The remainder of the class appeared in enough games to disqualify them from redshirting — safety Patrick Fields, defensive end Ronnie Perkins, running back T.J. Pledger, defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles, S Delarrin Turner-Yell, ILB DaShaun White, and H-back Brayden Willis.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

In the past, projecting redshirts came down to figuring out which newcomers would actually see the field and which ones wouldn’t. Last season set a precedent under the new regulation that most of OU’s 2019 class will play at some point. So who will end up getting a redshirt this year?

I’ve broken down the 23 members of the ‘19 recruiting class into four categories based on their likelihood of redshirting, all things being equal. “Locks” consist of players who will undoubtedly redshirt. The “Likely” group includes newcomers who will probably get a max of four games, but they could end up going over the limit if things break a certain way. Think of the “Unlikely” category as the inverse of the previous group – trending towards playing more than four games. The “No chance” bucket includes players whom I firmly believe won’t get a redshirt in ‘19.

Note that as of now, I would bet fewer newcomers will use a full season of eligibility in ‘19 than did a year ago. The depth chart appears more crowded at this point than the year-earlier period, and the Sooners have a number of established front-runners at positions of high turnover, such as offensive line. However, with OU transitioning to a new scheme under defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, a select number of rookies and JUCO transfers could end up getting significant time on that side of the ball.

Locks (barring injury)

Spencer Rattler - QB

Befitting the consensus view on keeping high-profile freshman QBs happy, the bet here is that OU’s diaper dandy plays in four games this season, but no more. Look for Tanner Mordecai to hold down the spot on as the No. 2 QB. If starter Jalen Hurts somehow misses extended action, however, Rattler could find himself thrust into the lineup.

Joseph Wete - RUSH

OU’s website currently lists Wete at 211 pounds. He needs at least a year in the weight room before he can contribute.

Marcus Alexander - OL

Alexander has plenty of promise, but the line ahead of him for playing time on the offensive line is long.

Marcus Major - RB

At the moment, the Sooners aren’t hurting for running backs. That gives Major a chance to take a year to get some seasoning.

Kori Roberson - DL

Roberson looks like a project who will need at least this season to get acclimated.

Likely

Stacy Wilkins - OL

Wilkins finds himself in the same boat as Alexander. The only difference is that the native Arkansan may be a step ahead physically at this point.

Ty DeArman - S

DeArman seems like a potential asset in kickoff coverage, which would be the only way he goes over four games.

Marcus Hicks - DL

Hicks likely starts off with three upperclassmen ahead of him for playing time at strongside defensive end - Ronnie Perkins, Kenneth Mann and Isaiah Thomas.

Marcus Stripling - DL

Stripling may be a little ahead of Hicks at this point, but the consensus appears to be that he needs a year to mature before he’s ready to make an impact.

Jonathan Perkins - LB

OU doesn’t have an overwhelming number of candidates at inside linebacker, but Perkins needs more time.

David Ugwoegbu - RUSH

Ugwoegbu nearly snuck into the Unlikely category. Unlike the other first-year RUSH LB, Wete, Ugwoegbu can already hold up physically. He’s a high-ceiling prospect.

Austin Stogner - TE

Stogner turned heads with his play in the spring game, prompting deserved speculation that he could work his way into the rotation at Y-receiver. Unfortunately, there aren’t many snaps to go around with Lee Morris and Grant Calcaterra also in the mix. I think he will max out at four games.

Unlikely

Trejan Bridges, Jadon Haselwood, Theo Wease - WR

NCAA Football: Oklahoma Spring Game Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

As the most ballyhooed members of OU’s 2019 recruiting class, these three pass catchers would seem like shoe-ins to play major snaps this year. Keep in mind, though, that they’re competing with proven commodities at all of the receivers positions. Unseating a guy like Charleston Rambo won’t just happen unless the rookies really prove they are primetime players.

Jamal Morris - S

Morris definitely stood out in the Red-White Game, and Grinch is looking for DBs with his size (6-2, 192 pounds). Morris could get a shot at strong safety or nickelback if things fall apart for the incumbents. (Is it possible he could grow into a linebacker in future seasons?)

E.J. Ndoma-Ogar - OL

This assumes Ndoma-Ogar backs up Creed Humphrey at center. If so, he will spell Humphrey on occasion, especially in blowouts.

Jaden Davis, Woodi Washington - CB

The situation with Davis and Washington applies to pretty much every secondary player. The returnees have performed so poorly that no job should be considered safe from a newbie asserting himself once camp opens.

No chance

Jeremiah Criddell - S

The fact that Criddell didn’t enroll early may set him back in competing for playing time, but his talent is undeniable. It seems inevitable that he will get a shot to at least earn a rotation spot in the defensive backfield at some point.

Finley Felix - OL

OL coach Bill Bedenbaugh probably didn’t use a scholarship on a JUCO player to have him sit all year. Felix has the potential to be a useful utility man along the line this fall.

Rhamondre Stevenson - RB

Stevenson (6-0, 232 pounds) is a flat-out load who will make for a solid changeup to backfield mates Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon. Expect the JUCO transfer to finish fourth on the team in carries and play in the majority of games.

LaRon Stokes - DL

OU’s coaches were singing the praises of Stokes, a JUCO transfer, in the spring. Consider him a favorite to start at three-tech defensive tackle. Usual caveats apply, but he will not redshirt.