What has been a sore subject for Oklahoma has now become a welcome topic. The Sooners now belong in the conversation with the elite defenses in the country after a top 20 finish in 2020. A big part of that has been the improvement on the defensive line getting pressure on the quarterback. Today, we’ll look at the nose and the defensive tackles in our fifth positional preview in our Oklahoma Sooners spring preview.
Oklahoma Sooners Spring Preview: Defensive Tackles
One of the big reasons that the Sooners believe they are better positioned for a National Championship run in 2021 is what they have returning. Oklahoma hasn’t lost a single player from that defensive tackle room from the 2020 team. In fact, some returning players allow Oklahoma to be a little more flexible than they have in the past. In the next segment, we’ll walk through some of that flexibility that will allow the Oklahoma defensive tackles to be more dangerous this season.
The return of Jalen Redmond could be huge for this team on defense. After struggling with blood clots in 2018, Redmond was a force with 6.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss in 2019. Redmond sat out in 2020 for obvious reasons but seems primed to get back in the rotation. His addition will help the loss of Ronnie Perkins. Marcus Hicks also returns after an injury sidelined him all of 2020. He will have some making up to do with Joshua Ellison and Kori Roberson in the fold. However, the depth is tremendous at the true defensive tackle position.
At the nose, Perrion Winfrey elected to return to Oklahoma solidifying the middle of the Sooner defense. His improvement was clear as he was nearly unblockable even against double teams late in the season. His ability to finish plays to get sacks as opposed to hurries will be pivotal. In an effort to continue the success seen with Winfrey and Ellison, Oklahoma received a commitment from Junior College nose tackle Isaiah Coe. Coe has the measurables at 6’3, 305 pounds, and was the fifth-ranked defensive tackle in the JUCO ranks. Coe will battle LaRon Stokes and Jordan Kelley among the depth chart
The Sooners could go two or three deep at both of these positions and not see a tremendous amount of drop-off. Stokes had an injury-riddled 2020, but if he can return to the 2019 form in which he had 4.5 sacks that would be an added bonus. The starters appear to be clear right now with Redmond and Winfrey, but the battle for positioning will be one of the most interesting battles to watch.
Projected Depth Chart
- Jalen Redmond
- Joshua Ellison
- Marcus Hicks
- Kori Roberson
- Perrion Winfrey
- LaRon Stokes
- Isaiah Coe
- Jordan Kelley
In case you missed it
We will be previewing each and every positional unit on offense and defense over the coming weeks. If you missed anything, we will reference it here.