What Marcus Major’s ineligibility means for OU’s backfield

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Sooner Scoop reported Tuesday afternoon that redshirt sophomore Marcus Major had been ruled academically ineligible for the 2021 season.

The running back’s sudden removal from the offense comes as a shock to many. Major has been practicing in front of the media throughout fall camp and received high praise from running backs coach DeMarco Murray as recently as last week.

He made huge leaps individually last year just throughout practice. You could probably see it the last six or seven weeks of the season. Was probably practicing better than anyone. He’s a young guy. Obviously, he didn’t get a ton of reps last year, but he’s a guy that’s been around awhile, knows the system. His development… since I’ve been here has only been increasing. So, he’s done a good job for us.

With the season opener versus Tulane 10 days away, an unexpected opportunity has appeared for LSU transfer Tre Bradford.

Both Murray and Lincoln Riley love the versatility Bradford brings to Norman. While he has only been a Sooner since the middle of June, he possesses the speed and work ethic needed to bulldoze his way into the regular-season rotation.

Major’s ineligibility could also lead the Sooners to use Jeremiah Hall as more of a halfback (or at least pretend to). Hall had one rushing attempt in 2020 and has never had more than four in a single season. Though he may not have carried the ball much, his receiving prowess makes him a weapon in the passing game. The suddenly-depleted backfield could allow Hall to showcase his versatility in 2021 with increased work as a running back.

While starting running backs Eric Gray and Kennedy Brooks were going to receive a ton of snaps regardless of Major’s eligibility, Hall and Bradford could suddenly be looking at a much different 2021 season.

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