What will ‘make or break’ the Oklahoma Sooners’ 2022 season?

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Oklahoma was ranked No. 12 in 247Sports reporter Brad Crawford’s “way-too-early” preseason top 25. That was the second-highest ranking for any Big 12 team, trailing only No. 10 Baylor.

Crawford also ranked fellow Big 12 members Oklahoma State No. 15 and Texas No. 19 in his first preseason top 25.

Using Crawford’s “way-too-early” top 25 rankings, 247Sports’ Sam Marsdale broke down what will make or break each top 25 team’s 2022 season.

Marsdale said that “being able to build an identity under Brent Venables” was the Sooners’ biggest key for 2022. Here’s what Marsdale wrote about Oklahoma.

There’s not a preseason top-15 team that will look more different than the Sooners roster-wise next season under first-year coach Brent Venables. He has watched several top-end playmakers enter the transfer portal since arriving last month, including a couple play-making wide receivers and Heisman candidate Caleb Williams at quarterback. Establishing an early identity on both sides of the football is priority No. 1 for Venables as a first-time head coach at a program expected to win big annually. – Marsdale, 247Sports.

It’s hard to argue with any of that. Whether or not USC transfer Jaxson Dart winds up picking Oklahoma or not, the Sooners appear set to have a new signal-caller in 2022 in the form of UCF transfer quarterback Dillon Gabriel or Dart if he does choose OU.

The Sooners also saw wide receivers Jadon Haselwood and Mario Williams enter the transfer portal. Also, wide receiver Mike Woods announced that he is declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Running back Kennedy Brooks, tight end Jeremiah Hall and offensive linemen Marquis Hayes and Tyrese Robinson also declared for the 2022 NFL Draft.

On the defensive side of the football, OU will be replacing six starters. That list includes linebacker Brian Asamoah, outside linebacker Nik Bonitto, defensive linemen Isaiah Thomas and Perrion Winfrey and safety Delarrin Turner-Yell who all declared for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Safety Pat Fields left for Stanford on a full academic scholarship to continue his academic career where he will have one year of eligibility remaining.

Of course, Oklahoma has been active adding talent out of the transfer portal to help replace those losses. Plus, the Sooners are bringing in a talented 2022 signing class.

So, despite all of the attrition on both sides of the football, it’s not as if Oklahoma will suddenly be devoid of talent in 2022. While expectations are always high within Sooner Nation, it’s hard to disagree with Marsdale that how Venables and his staff build their identity in year one will be the most important factor during the 2022 season and beyond.

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Oklahoma Sooners 2022 transfer portal tracker