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Oklahoma Sooners Football: Help is on the way for OU’s defensive backfield

In the past week, OU has added Trey Morrison, CJ Coldon and Kani Walker from the transfer portal.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Boston College Adam Richins-USA TODAY Sports

With Oklahoma’s secondary taking on a new look under new head coach Brent Venables, change was expected for the Oklahoma Sooners. On top of that, OU has multi-year staters Patrick Fields (Stanford graduate transfer) and Delarrin Turner-Yell (NFL Draft) this offseason, so the transfer portal was going to be a priority for this program. Venables, Jay Valai and Todd Bates hosted three defensive backs this past weekend, and they went three-for-three by landing promising Louisville DB Kani Walker, experienced Wyoming corner CJ Coldon and versatile North Carolina contributor Trey Morrison.

The sample size isn’t small for Venables, but there’s still a bit of mystery as to what his defense will look like in his first year back in Norman. At any rate, the depth of the defensive backfield is much less of a concern than it was a week ago.

Morrison saw extensive action in his all four of his years at UNC where he played a variety of positions on the football field that range from nickel to cornerback to safety. During his junior season he gained All-ACC Honorable Mention as a defensive back.

If I had to guess where Morrison plays it would be at nickel or safety considering the amount of love Brent Venables has for safeties in his defenses. With Venables’ defense on the field, one can generally expect two linebackers and three safeties. I would say he has a real opportunity to be a key contributor, and I’m sure it helps that Venny has seen Morrison play in person several times in the ACC.

Brent Venables has evaluated his talent in Norman, Oklahoma and has decided that his defensive backfield needs more bodies — larger defensive backs, in particular. Venables gets just that in C.J. Coldon.

The Belleville, Ill. native was the lead cornerback at Wyoming and has seen game action since he’s been a redshirt freshman. In the last couple of seasons, he has been a veteran presence in the the secondary and has gained 2nd Team Mountain West Honors. At 6’1” and 180 pounds, he appears physically ready for Power Five football. Additionally, he comes to Oklahoma with quite a bit of leadership skills and maturity with two years left to play. He’s a very vocal leader in the secondary and has been viewed that way in Laramie, Wyoming for the last couple of seasons.

Established starters Woodi Washington and DJ Graham return for OU in 2022, but rotation is necessary at the cornerback position, so it’s expected that Coldon should be a factor.

Of the three DB transfers Oklahoma was able to add this past weekend, Kani Walker is the most interesting of the bunch. This is due to the fact that he still has several years left of eligibility after transferring from Louisville. Although he didn’t see much of the field as a true freshman, many around his old program expected him to compete for the starting cornerback position coming into this season.

Walker was recruited to Louisville as a cornerback, but at 6’2 and 194 pounds, I imagine Brent Venables could use that frame in a variety of ways in tandem with S&C coach Jerry Schmidt. He has plenty of time to develop, and he could certainly be transformed into that third roaming safety that Venables loves to run, but those will be conversations that Valai, Venables, and Hall will have to have over the coming weeks, months and perhaps years.