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Oklahoma Sooners Football Hot Links: Will Johnson joining OU staff as grad assistant, Jalen Hurts reunites with Nick Saban

Also, Kenneth Murray will represent the Big 12 in the State Farm All-Star Football Challenge.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, friends and fans!

On Wednesday evening, former Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Will Johnson announced his status as a defensive grad assistant on the OU coaching staff.

After beginning his collegiate career at Monroe College, Johnson transferred to Oklahoma in 2015, where he went on to play 30 games in the Sooners’ secondary, including 17 starts. As a senior in 2017, he recorded a total of 62 tackles, two interceptions and four pass breakups. Johnson’s addition to the coaching room is a good sign for Lincoln Riley’s program, as it reinforces the familial culture that’s been built.

Now for today’s Hot Links! Jalen and Saban reunite, Creed is an early favorite for an All-American spot, Zion didn’t disappoint and more!

OU Links

  • Kenneth Murray is set to participate in a college football all-star skills competition, where conference mates will team up and square off in a series of challenges that will test each athlete’s abilities. You can catch this action on Jan. 31, airing at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
  • Jalen Hurts reunited with his first college head coach, Nick Saban, at the Senior Bowl practices this week. I feel like no other former player of his can make that man smile as much as Hurts does.
  • ESPN’s Chris Low formed his way-too-early 2020 All America team, and he picked Creed Humphrey as his starting center. If the season goes as planned for Oklahoma, awards season could be especially fun for Humphrey.
  • Former Sooner Blake Bell comes from a family of NFL experience. Both his father, Mark, and his uncle, Mike, played in the league, but neither of them ever reached the pinnacle of the sport — the Super Bowl. Now the youngest Bell is embarking on new territory, but in reality it’s all gravy from this point forward. OU Insider’s Joey Helmer has more.
  • Former OU outfielder Blake Brewster (2016-19) will be joining Toby Rowland as a color analyst for more than 20 Sooner baseball radio broadcasts this season. Congrats, Blake!
  • This six second clip perfectly sums up cornerbacks coach Roy Manning. He’s never slacking on his OU drip, and his energy is always dialed to 11. Boomer!

Around the Sports World

  • The NBA world has been eagerly anticipating the regular season debut of the New Orleans PelicansZion Williamson, and after an incredibly slow start with next to nothing for fans to take away on Wednesday night, the former Duke sensation and No. 1 overall pick went completely nuclear for a three minute stretch in the fourth quarter. In that time, he scored 17 points on 6-8 shooting, including making all four of his three-point attempts. What a moment for the game of basketball, and this is just the beginning.
  • On Wednesday, the NFL’s Black and Silver bullies out west officially changed their name to the Las Vegas Raiders. The move from Oakland has been in the works for years, but now you can start using their new Sin City moniker without having to think twice about it. Still sounds a little weird, but it’ll smooth out in time.
  • UCLA Bruins redshirt freshman Shareef O’Neal, son of world-famous NBA Champion and Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, announced his intentions to transfer from the program on Wednesday. The 6’9” forward came off the bench in 13 games this season.
  • The penultimate installment of Bill Connelly’s top 100 college football games from 2019 is here, and a number of the season’s bowl contests and epic rivalry tussles have made the ranks from 40-21. Stay tuned for the release of his top 20 on Friday.
  • After 16 seasons, New York Giants QB Eli Manning has called it a career. From being drafted with the first overall pick in 2004 to winning two Super Bowl MVP awards, he gave his all to the G-Men, and that’s how his legacy ought to be remembered.

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