ESPN tabs Peyton Bowen as a ‘freshman worth following’ in 2023

When Brent Venables and his staff pulled off the flip-flip of Peyton Bowen, it helped the Sooners secure their highest-rated recruiting class in the modern era. Beyond everything that transpired during the early signing period, Oklahoma earned a signature of a difference maker.

Peyton Bowen is one of the best players in the class and the No. 2 safety in the nation. It’s that talent that has ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg believing Bowen is a freshman to watch in 2023.

The Peyton Bowen drama was one of the biggest stories around signing day, but we now know he will be an Oklahoma Sooner. Bowen, ESPN’s No. 2 safety and No. 14 overall player in the 2023 class, should be an immediate factor on a defense looking for production and playmakers in the back end. His adjustment to Brent Venables’ defense will be interesting, but Bowen is the type of elite-level recruit that OU needs. He will make the trip to Norman with his former high school teammate in Texas, quarterback Jackson Arnold, who is set to play behind Dillon Gabriel but also could see the field. Arnold is ESPN’s top dual-threat quarterback and No. 8 overall player in the class. – Rittenberg, ESPN

The Oklahoma Sooners were 119th in passing yards allowed in 2022 at 273.5 per game. They didn’t fair much better in run defense, allowing 187.5 yards per game on the ground. The Oklahoma Sooners coaching staff has a mandate to make significant changes on the defensive side of the ball. That could lead to opportunities for Bowen to have a role for Oklahoma in year one.

The Sooners return Billy Bowman and Key Lawrence. Robert Spears-Jennings should see a jump in playing time in his second year in Norman and Oklahoma added Texas Tech transfer Reggie Pearson. The Sooners also brought in fellow 2023 signees Daeh McCullough and Makari Vickers, who could factor into the safety rotation as well.

It’s not impossible for Bowen to crack the two-deep at safety, but there will be a lot of competition at a position that’s much deeper in 2023 than it was this time a year ago.


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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire