If you’re reading this, congratulations! You’ve made it to the final 10-day stretch in our 2019 Countdown to Kickoff series! It won’t be much longer until the games begins for the Oklahoma Sooners. For today’s countdown topic, I want to take a closer look at a guy who has been nothing but pro OU since before he officially joined the team. That player is sophomore safety Patrick Fields.
Coming out of Oklahoma high school powerhouse Tulsa Union in 2018, Pat Fields wasn’t the most star-studded recruit in the Sooners’ class. However, stars only meant so much in the case of the state’s 11th highest rated player, because he made up for it with his passion for OU Football. He was the second earliest prospect to commit in the class (Mar. 5, 2017), and he never wavered over the next calendar year.
After arriving as an early-enrollee, Fields showed potential, but didn’t find himself at the top of the depth chart. Still, he kept his nose down and kept working, staying ready for his opportunity. Once the season started, he received his first collegiate playing time in Week Two against the UCLA Bruins. Later, he recorded the first two tackles of his career versus the Baylor Bears.
Fields would play sparingly throughout the 2018 season, and reached his four-game limit for a redshirt when OU played Kansas. When it became clear to the coaching staff that they needed to call upon someone new in the Big 12 Championship Game, Fields was pressed into spot duty and effectively burned his redshirt. He made two tackles amid an impressive performance from Oklahoma’s defense.
Finally, in the biggest game of the season, Fields would once again play a part. After Alabama quickly raced out to a multiple possession lead in the Orange Bowl CFP semifinal, the freshman DB was once again asked to stem the tide. Incredibly, he put forth his best effort of the season with eight tackles (five solo), giving him a career total of 13 tackles in six games played.
Shortly after Alex Grinch was hired out of Ohio State and had time to evaluate the safeties, Fields was one of the players that stood out to him as a guy who would likely start if a game was played that week. In part, that speaks to the amount of work those behind him needed to put in, but it was also a testament to Fields for taking advantage of his opportunities and showing his ability to stay ready for his coaches and teammates.
At the beginning of fall camp earlier this month, the football team met with the media for questions. Fields went into detail about the changes he’s noticed under Grinch and the new defensive system.
Under the assumption that Patrick Fields will start at free safety come the opener on Sept. 1, I would expect him to pick up where he left off the last time anybody saw him in a live game. He’s an easy player to root for as well, and not just because he’s an Oklahoma product. It’s also because he’s never let anyone else define him or his ability. All he does is work on his game and rep his Sooners. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Speaking of players wearing 10, there’s a history of dudes making big plays whilst donning the number.
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