Oklahoma’s tremendous season came to a disappointing end Monday night in double-overtime, but there’s still plenty to look forward to in 2018. The Sooners have put together back-to-back elite recruiting classes in 2017 and 2018, so while they’ll lose some critical pieces, the cupboard is far from bare.
Here are a few to look forward to in 2018.
QB Kyler Murray – He’s got the unenviable job of following in Baker Mayfield’s sizable footsteps, but Murray looks ready to run the show. He completed 18-of-21 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 142 yards on 14 carries this season, backing up Mayfield.
RB Rodney Anderson/Trey Sermon – There’s a chance Anderson declares for the NFL Draft and for that reason we’ll include Sermon as well. Anderson accounted for a whopping 1,079 rushing yards, 254 yards receiving and 16 total touchdowns in his final eight games. He’ll be busy again in 2018, should he stay in school. Sermon proved he belongs with 778 rushing yards and five touchdowns. If Anderson goes, Sermon has the edge on the starting spot and will post big numbers.
WR CeeDee Lamb – Lamb was ready for a starting role on Day 1 and he only progressed as the season went on. He finished third on the team with 46 catches for 807 yards and his seven receiving touchdowns were tied for second with Marquise Brown. Lamb also proved to be a capable blocker downfield and should be starting at outside receiver for years to come.
WR Marquise Brown – Brown went over the 1,000 yard mark for the season with 114 yards against Georgia and the speedy sophomore had a massive 265-yard, two-touchdown game in Bedlam. Both he and Lamb will have to adapt to Murray after feasting on Mayfield’s throws this season.
TE Grant Calcaterra – With Mark Andrews expected to go pro after his Mackey Award-winning season, it’s Calcaterra’s turn to step into the spotlight at tight end. The freshman caught 10 passes for 162 yards and three went for touchdowns. He’s not quite Andrews’ size but the athleticism is there.
OL Creed Humphrey – Here’s an unconventional player to watch: Shawnee offensive line product Creed Humphrey turned heads as an early enrollee last spring. After redshirting this year, he should be in line for the starting center spot.
S Robert Barnes – Barnes was the second-highest-rated recruit in the 2017 class and he played in 10 games his freshman season. Barnes logged an interception in Bedlam and got four tackles in the regular season meeting with TCU. He’ll lock down one of the safety spots for the next few years.
LB Caleb Kelly – The former five-star recruit will be a junior this fall and after playing as a freshman and starting as a sophomore, Kelly will look to break out in 2018. He notched 56 tackles, 3.5 for loss, a sack and an interception this year.
LB Kenneth Murray – Although he didn’t have the best game in the Rose Bowl, Murray soaked up valuable experience and finished second on the team in tackles (78) as a true freshman. He was named Co-Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year by the league’s coaches after starting every game at middle linebacker.