ESPN includes Oklahoma as one of 10 teams that lost the most in the portal

·4 min read

In an ESPN+ story, Tom VanHaaren explored which college football teams lost the most in the transfer portal. Oklahoma was one of his 10 schools that lost the most in the portal and he explored how the Sooners replaced that talent with the portal.

Despite losing a handful of really talented football players to other programs, OU head football coach Brent Venables actually managed it well by adding players from the portal to offset those departures. In fact, just a few short weeks ago VanHaaren had Oklahoma at No. 5 on his list of college football teams that were most helped by the transfer portal.

Van Haaren wrote this about the players that OU saw depart through the transfer portal in his “who’s leaving” section of his breakdown.

The Sooners didn’t see the quantity of players leave as some of the others on the list, but there were plenty of contributors who left the program.

The biggest name was freshman quarterback Caleb Williams, who’d supplanted Spencer Rattler as starting quarterback. Williams joined Lincoln Riley at USC, as did receiver Mario Williams, who was also a freshman at Oklahoma this past season.

Rattler and tight end Austin Stogner both transferred to South Carolina, and receiver Jadon Haselwood left for Arkansas. Haselwood is a former five-star who led the Sooners in receiving touchdowns this past season with six. The staff also saw defensive back Latrell McCutchin follow Riley to USC. – VanHaaren, ESPN.

Now, to the part that should excite Oklahoma fans. VanHaaren was pretty positive about what the Sooners have added in his “who’s coming in” breakdown.

When the number of players transferring out was first reported, it looked almost insurmountable for the new staff to replace all the departures. But Brent Venables and the coaches have done an excellent job replacing key players.

Replacing Williams at quarterback would be difficult no matter whom the coaches brought in, but Venables and new offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby added UCF transfer Dillon Gabriel. Lebby and Gabriel were together at UCF and have a level of comfortability, which is a big piece of the puzzle under center.

In addition to Gabriel, the staff also brought in offensive linemen Tyler Guyton and McKade Mettauer, as well as tight end Daniel Parker Jr. On defense, the staff added defensive backs C.J. Coldon, Trey Morrison and Kani Walker, as well as linebacker T.D. Roof. Hawaii defensive lineman Jonah Laulu and Jeffery Johnson were also added in what ended up being a big haul for the Sooners. – VanHaaren, ESPN.

In addition to Oklahoma’s 2022 signing class which ranks No. 8 in the team rankings on 247Sports, On3 and Rivals, the Sooners brought in players to help them out in a lot of different areas both offensively and defensively through the transfer portal.

“Well, I mean, we wouldn’t have brought them in—I’ll be honest, all nine of them—we wouldn’t have brought them in had we not felt the need for immediate help at those positions. Offensive line the depth there. Tight end, Parker being a really a devastating blocker. Looking at defensively, starting on the defensive line. Both inside and outside, having the chance with Jonah and Jeffery both being able to contribute right away. Being physical guys, guys with some tremendous experience. McKade on his side was a three-year starter, Jeffery I believe was a four-year starter. Just tremendous experience with all of them. Tyler Guyton, just a freshman last year, but played as a freshman for TCU. Really showed his athletic ability, what he was able to do as both an H-back and an offensive lineman. Looking at defensively, second and the third level. T.D. Roof, he’s been a tremendous player at the couple of the schools he was at. Just a great leader, coach’s kid that really the game comes easy to him. Just looking at again the secondary, Kani, Trey Morrison, both those guys give you a lot of versatility, some immediate depth with both some guys that left and guys that graduated both at safety and at corner,” Oklahoma head football coach Brent Venables said of his transfer additions on national signing day.

Venables also made it clear that all of the transfers were players he and his staff felt could contribute.

“I would be surprised if all nine of them don’t contribute right away. So, that’s the thinking really is, you know, you’re not bringing them in from an emergency standpoint. You’re really bringing them in to help you where you’re just a little light in your numbers. And again, these are guys that we also believe that can fit. Philosophically who they are as people, as leaders, just have maturity, experience. To me, really important that these are guys that were good players where they were at and bright futures where they were at. Maybe the right stop, but they looked at the Oklahoma opportunity as a very unique opportunity to be able to play at a place like Oklahoma where again there might be a position of need,” Venables said.

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Oklahoma Sooners 2022 transfer portal tracker