True Or False: Oklahoma Quarterbacks Will Throw 25 TDs

    Campus Insiders' Ray Crawford plays true or false with Managing Editor Pete Fiutak about how many yards Samaje Perine will gain, how many tackles Erik Striker will record, and how many touchdowns the Sooner quarterbacks will throw in 2015.

    July 21, 2015

    Top Ten Oklahoma Players

    1. RB Samaje Perine, Soph.
    Perine was a nice recruit for the program, but he was hardly any sort of jaw-dropping, program-changing get who was going to make anyone forget about Adrian Peterson. But suspensions and injuries helped put him into the No. 1 role as a true freshman, and he showed just how fantastic he could be once he got his chance. At 5-11 and 237 pounds, he’s a very big, very tough workhorse back with great quickness, balance and vision, rolling for 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns averaging 6.5 yards per pop. He can catch the ball a little bit, making 15 grabs, but he was at his best when he got into a lather with the ground attack, blowing up on West Virginia for 242 yards and four scores on 34 carries in the win, and going on a 100-yard roll over the second half of the season, hitting the mark five times in the final six games highlighted by his NCAA record-setting day against Kansas with 427 yards and five touchdowns. Don’t expect the same sort of numbers with several other good backs in the rotation, along with a change in offensive styles, but he’s still going to be special whenever he gets the chance. 

    2. LB Eric Striker, Sr.
    One of the team’s most versatile defenders, and one of the Big 12’s best pass rushers, the 6-0, 223-pounder will work at linebacker, but he might see time in different packages like a really big, really active safety and will spend plenty of time like a hybrid pass rushing end. Great two years ago with 50 tackles with 6.5 sacks, he was even more active last season making 68 tackles with nine sacks and 17 tackles for loss. While he’s a bit undersized to be a true NFL pass rusher, he has first round potential because his versatility and explosive play. One of the only bright spots in the bowl loss to Clemson, he came up with 12 sacks with 1.5 sacks and three tackles for loss after coming up with three sacks in the Sugar Bowl win the year before against Alabama. He’s very smart, very quick, and very, very good as the star of a strong linebacking corps. 

    3. WR Sterling Shepard, Sr. 
    The key part of the receiving corps for the last three years, he made 96 grabs in his first two years before exploding last season. He made 51 catches in 2013 for 603 yards, but last year he made more and more big plays with 970 yards on the same 51 grabs with five touchdowns averaging 19 yards per catch. Even more impressively, he did all of that in just nine games, missing the back half of the season with a groin injury. At 5-10 and 191 pounds, he has decent enough size to go along with excellent speed and NFL potential, and now he should do even more as a deep threat with more help around him. Really, really quick, he can be used as a punt returner and can make plays in the open field, but he’s at his best as the No. 1 target. Steady throughout the year, he blew up against Kansas State with 15 catches for 197 yards and a touchdown and nailed TCU with 215 yards on seven carries. There’s a lot more where that came from. 

    4. CB Zack Sanchez, Jr. 
    One of the few bright spots in a bad year for the secondary, the 5-11, 175-pounder earned all-star honors making 43 tackles with six interceptions and eight broken up passes, following up a 46-tackle, two-pick, 13 breakup season. A starter in his first two years, he’s a big play defender who knows how to attack the ball and isn’t afraid to come up with big hits in the open field. He’s not huge and he’s not a blazer, but he has next-level skills, but first he’ll spend at least one more year as the corner everyone has to avoid. 

    5. DE Charles Tapper, Sr. 
    The 6-4, 283-pound end didn’t exactly regress, but he didn’t crank things up to a whole other level like he was expected to after a dominant performance in the 2014 Sugar Bowl to close out a great sophomore season. He was good last year with 37 tackles and three sacks with 7.5 tackles for loss, but his worth goes beyond the numbers. While he doesn’t necessarily have NFL pass rushing tools – he just doesn’t have the speed burst – he’s a big, tough lineman who knows how to hold his own while always fighting to get to the ball. He has prototype skills in several facets of his game, but he’s just not flashy in a world that’s looking for the big splash. 

    6. OG Nila Kasitati, Sr.
    At 6-4 and 315 pounds, he’s not a massive body for the interior by today’s next-level standards, but he’s a rock-solid guard at either spot earning all-star honors from the Big 12 coaches last season. More of a right guard with the ability to kick outside to tackle if needed, the former tight end can move and can maul for the ground game. Now he has to stay healthy, suffering a knee injury early in his career and missing spring ball banged up. He might not be the most sensational part of the line, but he’ll be steady. 

    7. C Ty Darlington, Sr. 
    Very smart and very steady as an underappreciated leader of the line, the 6-2, 299-pound veteran has been a rock. A good get for the program out of Florida four years ago, he’s quick off the ball and shows excellent power when he gets to blast away for the ground game. He doesn’t make mistakes, he’s technically sound, and if all goes according to plan, he should be considered among the nation’s top centers. 

    8. LB Frank Shannon, Sr. 
    Suspended from the team for a year following a Title IX sexual misconduct allegation, he’s expected to be back and part of the mix by the start of the season. Will he be guaranteed a starting spot again? Not necessarily considering how deep the linebacking corps is, but assuming he’s back, he could be the team’s best defensive player right away. The former safety prospect bulked up and turned his speed and athleticism into a killer of a linebacker coming up with a team-leading 92 tackles with a pick, two sacks and seven tackles for loss in 2013. The 6-1, 238-pounder has hit the weights hard since first arriving in Norman and handles himself well in the middle with great range and hitting ability. A guided missile, he’ll be a highlight reel star if and when he plays again. 

    9. RB Joe Mixon, RFr. 
    Back with the team after getting suspended following misdemeanor charges of hitting a female student, will he get to show off why he was such a superstar recruit? He was supposed to do what Samaje Perine came up with, and now he’ll be part of a rotation. However, when he gets his chances, watch out. The 6-2, 217-pounder was just about everyone’s No. 1 running back prospect with speed, power, and everything you’d want in a tailback, and now the California native should be a major factor. Perine might be the main man now, but Mixon has more talent. 

    10. WR Dede Westbrook, Jr. 
    Superstar JUCO transfer prospects don’t always translate into actual players, but Westbrook should be ready to produce right away. Built for the Air Raid offense the Sooners are going to run, he’s a rail thin 6-1 and 167 pounds, but he’s quick with the ball in his hands and he knows how to get open. The hot guy throughout spring ball, he’s too good not to be a devastating playmaker as both a runner and a receiver. 


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