10 Oklahoma Sooners who could end up as All-Big 12 first-team selections after 2022

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It was noticeable that the only member of the Oklahoma Sooners to make the preseason All-Big 12 first team was punter Michael Turk. Nobody on offense or defense received consideration.

With all of the turnover the Oklahoma Sooners experienced on both sides of the ball this offseason, there is uncertainty regarding who will step up and take the place of those who left for the NFL draft or via the transfer portal.

But that shouldn’t be misconstrued as a lack of talent on the Sooners’ 2022 roster. The talent is there, it just hasn’t revealed itself on the field yet. By the end of the season, several Sooners will find their way onto the Big 12 all-conference first team. Here are 10 Oklahoma Sooners who could earn first-team honors in 2022.

Dillon Gabriel, QB

April 23, 2022; Norman; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) throws a pass during the spring game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Though Spencer Sanders was selected as the preseason first-team quarterback for the Big 12, he’s not the best quarterback in the conference. And by the end of 2022, that will play itself out. If Dillon Gabriel has the season many expect, the Sooners will win the Big 12 and earn a College Football Playoff berth.

Marvin Mims, WR

Dec. 29, 2021; San Antonio, Texas; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Marvin Mims (17) goes in for a touchdown against the Oregon Ducks during the first half of the 2021 Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome. Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t surprising Marvin Mims was left off the Big 12 media first team. The Big 12 has fantastic wide receivers. Xavier Worthy, Quentin Johnston and Xavier Hutchinson are great players who deserve their status on the preseason first team. However, Mims will be on that list alongside Worthy and Johnston by the end of the year.

Brayden Willis, TE

Sept. 4, 2021; Norman; Oklahoma Sooners tight end Brayden Willis (9) before the game against the Tulane Green Wave at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Mark it down. Brayden Willis will have a breakout season for the Oklahoma Sooners.

2022 represents a season when opportunity and talent create a perfect storm for the senior tight end. No longer in a rotation for snaps with Jeremiah Hall and Austin Stogner, Willis, a leader on the 2022 Sooners, has the opportunity to shine.

Anton Harrison, LT

Oct. 16, 2021; Norman; Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Anton Harrison (71) in action during the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Entering his third season with the Oklahoma Sooners, Anton Harrison is a key figure on the offensive line. With size, strength and athleticism, Harrison is getting some buzz as a top 50 selection for the 2022 NFL draft.

Jalen Redmond, DL

Nov. 27, 2021; Stillwater; Oklahoma Sooners defensive lineman Jalen Redmond (31) during the third quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State Cowboys won 37-33. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries held Jalen Redmond back in 2021 after he sat out 2020, but the talent is unmistakable. Redmond’s ability to penetrate and get after the quarterback will be huge for Oklahoma. If he can put together a full season, he should have a dominant year.

Ethan Downs, Edge

Oklahoma’s Ethan Downs (40) during the University of Oklahoma’s annual spring football game at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma, Saturday, April 23, 2022. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

After playing in a rotation in 2021, Ethan Downs is expected to make a leap in production and start for the Sooners in 2022. Against Oregon in the Alamo Bowl, Downs had 0.5 sacks and four total tackles. He followed that with a strong spring game performance and with his work in the offseason, earned an opportunity to represent the Oklahoma Sooners at Big 12 media days.

If Downs has the season many expect, he could be the next great Oklahoma Sooners pass rusher.

Marcus Stripling, Edge

Nov. 7, 2020; Norman; Oklahoma Sooners defensive end Marcus Stripling (33) reacts after a sack during the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

But if there’s going to be a breakout pass rusher for the Oklahoma Sooners this year, my pick is Marcus Stripling. In the Alamo Bowl, Stripling had four total tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss. Like Downs, Stripling had a fantastic spring game and should start at one of the defensive end spots in Brent Venables’ defense.

DaShaun White, LB

Oct. 10, 2020; Dallas, Texas; Oklahoma Sooners linebacker DaShaun White (23) looks over the line at Texas Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger (11) during the first quarter of the Red River Showdown at Cotton Bowl. Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

There’s something to be said for experience and DaShaun White has that in spades. He has played more than 1,600 snaps in his time in Norman and in 2021 racked up 28 stops, tied for second on the Sooners with Nik Bonitto. With Redmond back and the addition of defensive tackle Jeffery Johnson taking up space, White will have more opportunity to run free of interior offensive linemen trying to get to the second level.

Woodi Washington, CB

Oct. 10, 2020; Dallas, Texas; Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Woodi Washington (0) intercepts the ball while defending against Texas Longhorns wide receiver Joshua Moore (6) during the fourth quarter of the Red River Showdown at Cotton Bowl. Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries prevented Woodi Washington from having the breakout season many expected in 2021. When healthy, Washington is one of the best cornerbacks in the conference. With a new defensive philosophy that attacks opposing offenses, Washington will benefit greatly in coverage.

Key Lawrence, S

Oklahoma’s Key Lawrence (12) forces a fumble as he hits Iowa State’s Brock Purdy (15) during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Iowa State Cyclones at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

If there’s one player that national media types seem to be sleeping on, it’s safety Key Lawrence.

Lawrence was arguably one of the Sooners best defenders the last half of the season, bouncing back and forth from cornerback to safety. He’s a legitimate playmaker and plays with an edge that will fit right in with Brent Venables. His impact on the Oklahoma defense will put him in consideration for Big 12 defensive player of the year.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire