Welcome to another edition of our 2019 Countdown to Kickoff series! With only four days to go until the Oklahoma Sooners open the season against UH, I want to cover a guy that figures to play a key role in this year’s offense. I’m talking about junior RB Trey Sermon.
As you can see from that run against Georgia in the Rose Bowl during his freshman season, Trey Sermon is a load to handle from the running back position. Measuring in at 6’ tall and weighing in at 221 pounds, this Marietta, Ga. native is anything but slight in stature. Not only does he run with power, he dials up the speed to make defenders feel the full impact of their decision long after the whistle.
Going back to when he first arrived at Oklahoma in 2017, Sermon found himself in a deep running back pool with no clear headliners in the room. The prolific tandem of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon had just departed from Norman to begin their NFL careers, so an opening for significant playing time was there for the taking. Sure enough, the Sooners employed a RB-by-committee approach, and in the epic game at Ohio State, Sermon proved the stage wasn’t too big for him.
Eventually, Rodney Anderson caught fire and became Oklahoma’s go-to back, but Sermon solidified himself as the next man up ahead of older guys like Abdul Adams and Marcelias Sutton. Not only did he establish himself as the No. 2 runner, he was the perfect compliment to all the others because of his ability to come in as a late-game closer. When the defense was gassed and on its heels, he came in fresh and ready to rumble.
While Sermon has built a reputation of being somewhat of a bruiser, he’s far from a one-trick pony. As I alluded to before, the man has wheels, and in the open field, he can go the distance in a hurry if you’re not careful. Just ask the Oklahoma State Cowboys from two Bedlams ago.
If a guy that big running with that kind of speed already wasn’t fair, then what is it called when that same guy can also break multiples tackles on his way to the end zone? Consider this play against the Iowa State Cyclones, who might have fielded the best defense in the Big 12 a year ago despite Sermon completely embarrassing them in Ames.
PREACH MODE. TOUCHDOWN. pic.twitter.com/Ey5pvisIuc— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) September 15, 2018
Perhaps the aspect of Trey Sermon’s game that Lincoln Riley appreciates the most is his versatility. He’s proven to be more than serviceable in pass protection, which is crucial, but he’s also made a number of plays as a receiver out of the backfield. The more ways he’s able to get the ball the better for Oklahoma, as he typically makes things happen. Take for example this 51-yard catch-and-run against the Baylor Bears last season. He didn’t reach the end zone, but everything else he did was exactly what you want to see if you’re for OU.
In two seasons, Sermon has amassed 1,691 rushing yards on 285 carries for a career average of 5.9 yards per carry. In that time, he’s also ran for 18 touchdowns. In the receiving game, he’s added 28 catches for 220 yards and two more scores. Going into the 2019 season, he eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark five times, including a 206-yard performance against Texas Tech in 2018.
With Kennedy Brooks and T.J. Pledger back in the fold for Oklahoma, the running back position should be a strength for the Sooners once again this fall. Trey Sermon is the most experienced of the bunch, so he’ll be tasked with leading the way behind a mostly new offensive line.
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