Oklahoma Football: 5 Freshmen the Sooners Can Build Around
After the culmination off a solid Sooner recruiting class, Oklahoma football fans are eager to see the new talent hit the field.
With several key players from 2012 departing, some of these recruits should make immediate impacts in Norman.
But that may be an understatement for some of these freshmen. Perhaps "stars in the making" is a more appropriate term.
At the very least, future Sooner teams will be fueled by key players from this recruiting class. Here is a look at five freshmen the Sooners can build around in 2013 and beyond.
Dannon Cavil, who initially committed to Cal, has the potential to be nothing less than a star wideout at OU.
For someone with those tools and the opportunity to play in a pass-happy offense, the sky is the limit.
It may be a while before Cavil gets substantial playing time. With abundant talent in the Sooner receiving corps, redshirting is a possibility.
But as long as he remains patient and works hard, Cavil will get his opportunity. And when that time comes, expect him to establish himself quickly.
As is the case with Cavil, the biggest question mark with Keith Ford is how early he'll see the field.
Ford, a 5-star recruit according to Scout.com, is one of the gems of OU's recruiting class. The former Under Armour All-American picked Oklahoma over Alabama, Florida State and Texas, among other schools.
It's exciting to think about the possibilites for a player this talented at a program like OU.
Again, it's hard to say when Ford's time will come. Damien Williams and Brennan Clay headline a solid tailback corps heading into next season. It's certainly possible Ford will play, but it's definitely not certain.
When the fall of 2014 arrives, expect Ford to be right up at the top of the depth chart. He and current redshirt freshman Alex Ross figure to be the prime contributors after Williams and Clay depart.
Hatari Byrd is very fortunate. As a touted safety, he has a golden opportunity lined up for him in the Sooner secondary.
With 2012 starting safeties Tony Jefferson and Javon Harris gone, Byrd could start immediately. He'll have to earn the job, of course, but he seems very capable of doing so.
Byrd may find the job overwhelming at first. Starting immediately in a Big 12 secondary would be challenging for any athlete.
But the experience would be invaluable for Byrd. Playing immediately would accelerate his development and only brighten his potential.
At this point, Byrd can be described as a 6'1", 195-pound hard-hitting safety (via Scout.com). Imagine what he could become with potentially four seasons a starter?
Starting immediately is also possible for cornerback Stanvon Taylor.
Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, for one, is apparently really excited about the recruit. He compared Taylor to All-Big 12 OU cornerback Aaron Colvin and said Taylor has "all the qualities you want in a superstar" (via ESPN).
Considering the defensive backs Stoops has coached (Roy Williams, Derrick Strait and Antonio Perkins, for example), that is a powerful statement.
That doesn't necessarily mean Taylor will be an immediate star, but expect him to see the field early. And in 2014 and beyond, he could be be well on his way to becoming an elite cornerback.
The first priority for quarterback Cody Thomas is making sure he stays with football.
Luckily, Bob Stoops said he's confident the baseball star will indeed suit up for the football team despite his pro baseball prospects (via NewsOK.com).
If Thomas focuses on football, all signs point to him being a success. Thomas is 6'5" 220 pounds and reportedly runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash (via Soonerscoop.com).
The Colleyville, Texas, native also threw for 7,211 yards and 83 touchdowns combined in his last two seasons in high school, according to Soonersports.com.
Thomas faces plenty of competition at quarterback. Blake Bell figures to be the current leader for the starting job next season. He is joined by promising dual-threat athletes Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson.
This means we may have to wait until at least fall of 2014 for Thomas' debut. Even then, it's possible Thomas gets beat out by Knight or Thompson.
But considering his sheer athleticism, it's hard to imagine Cody Thomas remaining on the bench for long.