Oklahoma safety Delarrin Turner-Yell will set the tone on defense in 2021. With college football becoming more pass-heavy and more programs playing nickel packages frequently, added pressure is placed on the secondary in Alex Grinch’s hybrid 4-2-5. Whether it be doubling a receiver, moving up near the line of scrimmage to stack the box, or covering a slot receiver or tight end- safeties have an increased role.
Lincoln Riley’s offense is explosive and one of the key units for OU in 2021 to put the squad on pace for a national championship is the secondary. Oklahoma has been without Pat Fields during the spring and Brendan Radley-Hiles departed via the transfer portal, both prominent leaders for the Sooners. Turner-Yell’s role is locked up. He is relentless in his pursuit of ball carriers at the line of scrimmage and is productive against the pass, getting his hands between the receiver and the ball. No. 32 is consistent when healthy and will need to emerge in 2021 to elevate the last line of defense.
Last season, Turner-Yell ranked second on the team with 52 total tackles and compiled 2.0 tackles for loss and an interception. In big games, he showed up. In the Cotton Bowl win over Florida, Turner-Yell notched six stops and in the Big 12 Championship win vs Iowa State, he tied a team-high six tackles. He will be a player to watch come fall in Norman.
Being able to lock down Big 12 and SEC offenses on the backend will put Oklahoma on the grandest stage.