No Corey Nelson? Oklahoma Is in Great Hands with LB Dominique Alexander

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No Corey Nelson? Oklahoma Is in Great Hands with LB Dominique Alexander
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Unless the NCAA has a change of heart, a fifth year of eligibility for Oklahoma linebacker Corey Nelson will not be granted. 

Nelson, who has been out for the season since tearing his pectoral muscle against TCU on Oct. 5, was denied an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA, according to Jake Trotter of ESPN.com. The Oklahoman adds that Nelson initially applied to the Big 12 for a medical redshirt and was denied. 

Oklahoma will reportedly apply for another review, a move Trotter calls "Nelson's final recourse."

In short, Nelson's days as a Sooner linebacker are likely over. He played in every game from 2010-12 and his injury occurred during the fifth game of this season. Athletes applying for a medical redshirt usually won't receive one if they played over 30 percent of the season. 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Corey Nelson

Filling in for Nelson has been freshman Dominique Alexander. If Alexander's 2013 season was any indication, Oklahoma will be in great hands. 

Alexander finished as the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year as voted by the Associated Press and the coaches. He played in all 12 regular-season games and started the final seven after the injury to Nelson. 

As good as Alexander was, he wasn't immune to freshman mistakes. Alexander misread a run by Notre Dame's George Atkinson III in late September, allowing the Irish running back to go 80 yards for a touchdown.

That didn't prevent head coach Bob Stoops from seeing what he had in Alexander.

“I'm really excited about him, and he's going to be a great football player, a really good football player," Stoops said in October via The Oklahoman

Alexander would go on to finish second on the team in total tackles with 75. His highlight of the year was sacking Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty in the end zone for a safety. You'd be hard-pressed to find many true freshmen who had a greater impact on their team than Alexander, who was listed as a 3-star safety by 247Sports. 

Going from one impact player to another in the same spot without a major transition is rare, but the Sooners may have found their next great linebacker. 

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