The Oklahoma Sooners’ thin depth at running back apparently got event lighter on Thursday. According to multiple reports (including one from the OU Daily), sophomore Tre Bradford and the Sooners have gone their separate ways.
Bradford’s short time with the team came to abrupt end after he transferred from LSU to OU in the spring. The Daily reported he missed multiple practices this week before departing.
Major attrition at running back had put Bradford in position to contribute with the Sooners right away. Five other scholarship running backs have left the team since the end of the 2020 season:
- Rhamondre Stevenson was drafted by the New England Patriots;
- TJ Pledger transferred to Utah;
- Marcus Major was declared academically ineligible; and
- Coach Lincoln Riley dismissed Seth McGowan and Mikey Henderson in connection with charges they allegedly participated in an armed robbery.
Fortunately, the Sooners have a strong one-two punch atop the depth chart at RB. Tennessee transfer Eric Gray has earned rave reviews as a dual threat coming out of the backfield. Gray rushed for a total of nearly 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns in two seasons with the Volunteers.
Kennedy Brooks also has rejoined the team after sitting out a year ago. The redshirt junior went over the thousand-yard mark on the ground in 2018 and 2019, finding the end zone a combined 18 times.
Bradford, a blue-chip prospect out of Lancaster, Texas, would have been third in line for snaps behind Gray and Brooks. Running backs coach DeMarco Murray is now searching for new candidates to tote the rock this fall. Diminutive walk-ons Todd Hudson and Jaden Knowles (aka “Weatherman J” due to the fact that he’s a meteorology major) may get a shot at a spot in the rotation. H-back Jeremiah Hall could find himself in position to add to his career total of seven carries. Sophomore receiver Brian Darby moonlighted as a running back in high school, so giving him a chance to audition at RB could be an option.
Looking ahead, OU has two blue-chip recruits committed to its 2022 class in Raleek Brown and Gavin Sawchuck. Losing Bradford will put the heat on Murray to add another runner to the ‘22 group, especially given that Brown will likely split time between RB and WR. Count on OU to scour the transfer portal for a couple seasoned ball carriers in the offseason, too.