Coming out of Spring Ball, the vibes are all positive for the Oklahoma Sooners. A huge crowd at the spring game, followed by several strong recruiting weekends, has the Sooners heading into the summer with some momentum. Still months away from the start of the 2022 season, Oklahoma is once again positioned to challenge for the Big 12 title.
The Sooners’ spring left a strong impression on local and national media and in ESPN’s latest power rankingsthe Sooners saw a three-spot bump to No. 14. Here’s what ESPN’s Mark Schlabach had to say.
The Sooners’ roster was decimated by players going to the NFL Draft and transferring after (Lincoln) Riley left for USC. But first head coach Brent Venables has done a good job of reloading through the transfer portal. (Dillon) Gabriel threw for over 8,000 yards with 70 touchdowns in three seasons at UCF. (CJ) Coldon, a transfer from Wyoming, and (Trey) Morrison, from North Carolina, were good additions in high school. (Jonah) Laulu had eight tackles for a loss and four sacks in Hawaii last season. Venables will settle things on defense, and the offense will be good enough to outplay most Big 12 teams. The Sooners will face Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma State at home. –Schlabach, ESPN
The Sooners have lost a lot in the transfer portal, but they have also won a lot. The addition of Dillon Gabriel, Jeffery Johnson, Trey Morrison and Jonah Laulu gave the gate a good boost at the start while LV Bunkley-Shelton and Javian Hester added competition at wide receiver.
Oklahoma may not have the same level of star power heading into the 2022 season as they did last year. However, the hope is that the change in leadership of the coaching staff will help close the gap as new stars are born for the Oklahoma Sooners.
Players like Marcus Stripling and Ethan Downs are expected to have breakout seasons, replacing Nik Bonitto and Isaiah Thomas on the edge. Gabriel’s experience in college football and on Jeff Lebby’s offense will help get everyone on the same page in a new offense.
ESPN buys the hype surrounding the USC Trojans who sit at No. 4 in Schalbach’s power rankings and Oklahoma State was the highest-ranked Big 12 team at No. 11.
No surprise as to who occupies No. 1 and 2 in the power rankings. Alabama and ohio state who have arguably the two best quarterbacks in college football, and the two favorite players to win the Heisman, head into 2022 as the top two teams in college football.
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