Welcome back to another edition in our 2020 Countdown to Kickoff series! Today we’ve reached the four week checkpoint, as the Oklahoma Sooners are set to finally open the college football season 28 days from now. With that in mind, I want to highlight a player who has been with OU program since Bob Stoops last roamed the sidelines, and is currently sparking change through social activism. That’s right, I’m talking about redshirt senior DB Chanse Sylvie!
Coming out of Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana, Sylvie signed with Oklahoma as part of the Sooners’ 2016 recruiting class. As a true freshman, the defensive back saw most of his reps on special teams. As a sophomore in 2017, he turned in the most productive season of his career to date, and was even named an Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection for his accomplishments in the classroom.
After two years of putting in the work, Sylvie’s trajectory showed a steady climb towards a greater role on the OU defense, but an Achilles tendon injury suffered in the summer sidelined the upperclassman for the majority of the 2018 season. Using that year to redshirt, his lone action came in the Orange Bowl CFP semifinal versus the Alabama Crimson Tide.
While Sylvie has yet to create the level of impact he strives to achieve on the field, there’s no denying the good work he’s done off the field to better the lives of those around him. Through OU’s ‘GrowU’ program, Sylvie has helped deliver meals to the elderly in Norman, among other acts of volunteer community service.
Sylvie’s desire for public service doesn’t end with ‘Meals on Wheels’, either. Amid the recent protests against police brutality, this veteran Sooner took it upon himself to come up with a list of ideas to reform and improve the relationship between police and minorities in America.
When the protest ends what will remain ? Steps for reforming policing in America ! pic.twitter.com/FOI6Q8oO2j— Chanse Sylvie (@ChanseSylvie) June 1, 2020
In light of his words and goals, Lincoln Riley had this to say about Chanse Sylvie: “I’m as proud of him as I’ve ever been of any player that I’ve ever had.” Coming from one of the top minds in the coaching profession, that’s about as powerful of a ringing endorsement as one could possibly get. For more background and details on Sylvie’s plan for change, check out this insightful article from The Athletic’s Jason Kersey regarding the talented young man who’s wise beyond his years.
As a political science graduate and master’s student in global affairs, this guy is uniquely primed for the task he’s set ahead of himself. With so much civil unrest around the world and within this nation, it’ll be up to individuals like Chanse Sylvie to continue to push for real, tangible change from a legislative level down to the communities in which that legislature governs. That’s why when he’s able to have conversations with City of Norman Mayor Breea Clark and other elected officials, it’s significant because those talks can lead to action and action creates change.
Great speaking with @ChanseSylvie today about ideas for reforming policing in our city, state & nation. I'm pleased to announce that I am forming a task force to identify the best ways to use our new community outreach funds, & I have invited Mr. Sylvie to participate! #localgov pic.twitter.com/yXt8Dxdzos— Mayor Breea Clark (@clarkfornorman) June 19, 2020
Going into the 2019 season, Sylvie was competing hard to become OU’s starting nickel. Alex Grinch ultimately went with Brendan Radley-Hiles for the job, but Sylvie is back this year for one final go-around before he wraps up his collegiate playing career at Oklahoma. For all he’s done and continues to do as an activist, Sooner Nation is rooting for his success on the field and beyond.
Follow Crimson & Cream Machine on Twitter!