Welcome back to another installment in our 2021 Countdown to Kickoff! In 95 days, the Oklahoma Sooners will open the upcoming college football season in New Orleans against the Tulane Green Wave. Speaking of 95, the player who currently rocks said number has developed into quite the difference maker. I’m talking redshirt senior defensive end Isaiah Thomas.
Coming out of Memorial High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Thomas signed with Oklahoma as a four-star prospect in the recruiting class of 2017. After redshirting his first year on campus, he saw his playing time increase gradually over the course of the next two seasons.
In 2020, the seasoned defender finally broke out and became the caliber of player that his coaches and the fans knew he could become when he first arrived in Norman. At 6’5, 262 pounds, IT routinely wore out offensive lines with his aggressive pursuit around the edge, and his combination of speed and balance has made him one of the Sooners’ top pass rushing artists.
Through three seasons of play, Isaiah Thomas has recorded 10.5 sacks, 15 tackles-for-loss, 32 total tackles, forced one fumble and recovered two more. For his strong junior campaign, he was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team. After blowing out the Florida Gators in the 2020 Cotton Bowl Classic, IT said it himself — “Stay tuned, it’s gonna be a movie.”
Y’all heard the man. Get your popcorn ready.
Now take a look at the days we missed since our last countdown post!
96 Days! — LaRon Stokes
Senior DE LaRon Stokes elected to take advantage of the rule that allows all players to gain an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19, and that’s great news for an Oklahoma D-line that’s expected to be one of the best units in the nation this fall. With the 2019 Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year back in the fold, OU’s depth up front is that much more talented. Add in career totals of 27 tackles, seven tackles-for-loss and half a sack, and that talent is also highly experienced.
Laron Stokes just going to tackle everybody pic.twitter.com/hbM51AaDsj— JetPack Galileo (@JetPackGalileo) May 2, 2020
97 Days! — Joe Mixon returns kickoff 97 yards against Ohio State
In 2016, the Ohio State Buckeyes walked into the Palace on the Prairie and left with a victory, but not before RB Joe Mixon housed a 97-yard kickoff return in the the first quarter. At least, that’s what record books show, as everyone who remembers this play can recall seeing the star back clearly let go of the ball before breaking the plane. Oh well, it didn’t make a difference in the outcome in any case, and the Sooners got their revenge in Columbus the follow year.
Joe Mixon finished w/ career-high 225 all-purpose yards vs. Ohio State. His 97-yd KOR is 3rd longest at Owen Field. pic.twitter.com/KbBDFC6iFR— Eddie Radosevich (@Eddie_Rado) September 19, 2016
98 Days! — Tre Norwood returns five INTs for 98 yards in 2020
Before he was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft, DB Tre Norwood led Oklahoma with five interceptions in 2020. In total, he returned those INTs for a combined 98 yards, including this 45-yard pick six against Florida’s Kyle Trask.
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