The Oklahoma Sooners brought home a Big 12 championship trophy for the 2020 season. However, most diehard Sooners fans were still disappointed with the team’s 9-2 record. The back-to-back losses to Kansas State and Iowa State early in the season were more than a bit concerning.
The Sooners return a ton of talent on both sides of the ball this season. You can bet that head coach Lincoln Riley will have his team super-focused on a college football playoff berth in 2021. Here’s a closer look at the 2021 Oklahoma Sooners.
Redshirt sophomore Spencer Rattler made huge strides during his 2020 campaign (Ourlads.com). The former 5-star recruit tossed 26 touchdowns and also found the end zone six times on the ground. Most online sportsbooks have Rattler as the early favorite to win the Heisman Trophy in 2021.
The Sooners offense will definitely miss Rhamondre Stevenson, who was drafted by the New England Patriots. However, there are plenty of talented running backs on the Oklahoma roster to carry the load. Redshirt junior Kennedy Brooks and Eric Gray, a transfer from Tennessee, will split the carries and both have game-breaking speed.
Oklahoma’s receiving corps returns intact as both of the team’s leading wideouts, Theo Wease and Marvin Mims, will be in the starting lineup. Mims led the 2020 squad in receiving yards (610) and touchdown catches (9). Wease tied Mims for the team lead in receptions last season with 37. Both of these guys will be key targets for Rattler, as well as tight end Austin Stogner, a 6-6 251 pounder with NFL potential.
Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has done a fine job rebuilding this Sooners defense. Oklahoma used to always be awful on the defensive side of the ball but that is no longer the case with Grinch calling the shots. This year’s defense should be stacked, as almost all the big-time playmakers return.
Seniors Isaiah Thomas and Perrion Winfrey both have the potential to be first-round NFL Draft picks in 2022. Winfrey is an absolute beast against the run, while Thomas is an elite pass rusher who had 7.5 sacks a year ago. Also, don’t forget about Nik Bonitto, who led the team in sacks with nine in 2020.
Brian Asamoah led the team in tackles in 2020 with 66. The redshirt junior also had 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, and an interception. Look for Asamoah and senior linebacker DeShaun White to lead this linebacking corps in 2021.
The secondary will indeed miss Tre Norwood, who is now with the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, Woodi Washington will be back at corner after a productive 2020 that saw him make 44 tackles and two interceptions. Strong safety Delarrin Turner-Yell also has the potential to play on Sundays.
2021 Special Teams
Gabe Brkic returns at kicker for the Sooners in 2021. Brkic had a solid 2020 campaign as made 20 field goals and 49 extra points. Reeves Mundshau returns as the starting punter after averaging 39.1 yards per punt a year ago.
Marvin Mims will handle the punt return duties this season. Mims is dynamite with the ball in his hands and had 162 punt return yards in 2020.