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Oklahoma Sooners Football Hot Links: Orlando Brown Jr. rises to Pro Bowl status, OU’s 2019 season gets an A- from USA Today

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Also, Ryan Jones is yet another defensive entry into the Transfer Portal. This kind of thing was expected with a new DC.

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Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens

Happy Thursday, friends and fans!

Oklahoma Sooners redshirt sophomore LB Ryan Jones entered the NCAA Transfer Portal on Wednesday, reported first by The Athletic’s Jason Kersey.

The Charlotte, North Carolina native began his OU career on offense as a receiver before moving over to defense as a safety. When that fit didn’t quite work out, he climbed up closer to the line of scrimmage as a linebacker, but ultimately he never saw significant reps. In two seasons, Jones totaled 29 tackles and this interception late against UCLA in 2019:

It’s unfortunate to see a player with the natural athletic ability and versatility Jones has struggle with getting over the hump and becoming a regular playmaker, but with Alex Grinch and his defensive staff implementing a new system and the SAM position becoming more of a rarity on the field, Jones wasn’t quite able to find a fit elsewhere. Additionally, Grinch is slowly bringing his own guys into the fold, so transfer portal entries of this nature are expected. If Jones lands in the right spot at another school, I’m fully confident that he can thrive.

Wherever your journey takes you next, Sooner Nation is behind you all the way, Ryan!

Now for today’s Hot Links! Oklahoma running backs should be among the best in the nation next season, Orlando Brown is headed to the Pro Bowl, Zion is nearing his NBA debut and more!

OU Links

  • USA Today gave grades to all 130 FBS teams for the 2019 college football season, and Oklahoma received an A- for its 12-2 record that included a fifth consecutive Big 12 title and a third consecutive berth in the CFP. That seems fair, but here’s to hoping that 2020 ends up being an A+ season.
  • The folks over at Pro Football Focus project OU to feature three of the nation’s top 25 running backs in Kennedy Brooks, Trey Sermon and Rhamondre Stevenson. Of course, Stevenson could miss a sizable portion of the 2020 season due to the suspension that kept him out of the Peach Bowl. We’ll just have to wait and see on that appeal.
  • Check out this former Sooner trio of Jordan Smallwood, Bob Stoops and Landry Jones reuniting at XFL training camp. Smallwood is set to suit up for the Los Angeles Wildcats, while Stoops and Jones are part of the Dallas Renegades organization.
  • Former OU Unanimous All-American tackle Orlando Brown Jr. has risen to Pro-Bowler status in just his second season with the Baltimore Ravens. Congratulations on the big honor, big dog!
  • Make sure you check out this week’s episode of the Oklahoma Breakdown Podcast with Jack and Kamiar. This time, the guys dished on OU Hoops, the latest recruiting news, the transfer portal and a whole lot more. As usual, be aware that there is some NSFW language used on the pod.

Around the Sports World

  • New Orleans PD has issued an arrest warrant for Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. on a count of simple battery after he slapped the backside of a police officer following LSU’s win in the national championship. Firstly, I don’t understand why the cop was in the locker room policing the players, but now this is evolving into an unnecessarily larger story.
  • The wait for the NBA regular season debut of No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson is almost over, as New Orleans Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin recently announced. The sensational freak-of-an-athlete is set to take the floor on Wednesday, Jan. 22 against the San Antonio Spurs.
  • A total of seven LSU Tigers underclassmen have declared early for the 2020 NFL Draft. Fortunately for the Bayou Bengals they’ve still got Ed Orgeron, the top head coach in college football. That should be enough to repeat as champs, right?
  • Conor McGregor is getting set to fight Donald Cerrone aka ‘Cowboy’ this Saturday at UFC 246, and the ‘Notorious’ one has remained true to himself by sprinkling in some trash talk as the bout approaches. Damn, that’s not very nice, Conor.
  • WWE Hall of Famer Rocky ‘Soul Man’ Johnson — the father of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson — passed away on Wednesday at the age of 75.

Stick to Sports!

  • After 50 years going strong, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is coming up on its golden anniversary in just a few months, and as always the lineup is stacked with some of the best bands and artists spanning multiple generations. Some of my personal favorites who will be performing this year include the Foo Fighters, Brandi Carlile, Of Monsters and Men among many others, and our editor Jack will surely try to make the pilgrimage to see Dead & Company. Jazz Fest 2020 is shaping up to be two weekends of good folks making great music and even better memories.

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