Thank you for your patience, everybody. After a brief hiatus, our 2020 Countdown to Kickoff series is back! The Oklahoma Sooners are now scheduled to kick off the upcoming college football season 29 days from now on Sept. 12 against Missouri State. With that in mind, we’re hitting the ground running, and today I want to take a look at senior RB Rhamondre Stevenson’s debut campaign at OU.
Before he was helping Oklahoma capture its fifth consecutive Big 12 title, Stevenson, originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, made his way to Norman in 2019 after playing two years of JUCO ball at Cerritos College in California. He held scholarship offers from the likes of USC, Texas and Kansas State among others, but ultimately decided that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of past Sooner greats at his position.
Listed at 6’ tall and a whopping 246 pounds(!), Stevenson is by far the biggest running back Oklahoma has on its roster. In fact, he’s 31 pounds heavier than starter Kennedy Brooks. After watching just a few touches, it quickly becomes clear that his tremendous stature has shaped his rushing style. He’s spoken about which pros he models his game after, and the comparison that intrigues me the most is unquestionably Marshawn Lynch.
Lynch — aka ‘Beast Mode’ — built his NFL reputation on running through defenders like a bull seeing red. Stevenson carries a lot of those same qualities in his game. He maintains his balance, he’s not afraid of contact, and he’s strong as hell. Perhaps the best example of these qualities can be seen on this 61-yard touchdown run against the Kansas Jayhawks.
Not only did Stevenson show off his immense power on that impressive run versus KU, he also showed that he’s not just a one-trick pony. Even with his great size, he’s not a player who is only good for picking up the tough, short yards. In fact, he’s proven himself as a big-play threat on virtually any given down. In 2019, he recorded runs of 45, 61, and 75 yards, the latter of which came against South Dakota. Once he hit daylight, it was lights out for the Coyotes.
For his season total, Stevenson racked up 515 rushing yards and six TDs on 64 carries. He also added 87 receiving yards on 10 receptions. His 8 yards per carry average led all Sooners, which says a lot when considering he had to share the load with Jalen Hurts and the aforementioned Brooks.
Unfortunately, his production was absent from last year’s CFP Peach Bowl semifinal, as Stevenson was one of three players (DE Ronnie Perkins, WR Trejan Bridges) serving suspensions for a violation of team rules. So far, Lincoln Riley has yet to provide a definitive update on the status of those suspensions, but the current expectation is that they will miss at least the first few games of the 2020 season if not more. It’ll be up to Brooks, T.J. Pledger, Marcus Major and potentially true freshman Seth McGowan to step up in Stevenson’s absence, however long that may be. And when he does finally return, get your popcorn ready.
Follow Crimson & Cream Machine on Twitter!