Who’s the most important newcomer for the Sooners, according to ESPN?

The Oklahoma Sooners landed another strong recruiting class in the 2024 cycle along with several big-time additions via the transfer portal.

No player received as much attention on the recruiting trail or in the portal than the addition of five-star defensive lineman David Stone. If there was a “must-have” player in this cycle, it was Stone, an Oklahoma native who finished his high school career at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Stone brings an impressive blend of size, speed, and strength to the Oklahoma Sooners defensive line. He can line up as a defensive end in three-man fronts or slide in to play three-technique defensive tackle (between the guard and the tackle) in four-man alignments.

The talent he brings to the field will pay huge dividends for the Oklahoma Sooners defense. And that could be as soon as this season. ESPN took a look at the most important newcomer (ESPN+) for each team in their top 25 power rankings, and Tom VanHaaren believes it’s David Stone.

The Sooners are joining the SEC and you can never have enough athletic, versatile defensive linemen in that league. Oklahoma is still trying to elevate its defense and Stone will help. He’s a 6-foot-4, 280 pound lineman who fits what coach Brent Venables wants up front and can help get after the quarterback or stop the run. He is the No. 1 defensive tackle in the class and was a huge recruiting win for the Sooners’ staff. – Tom VanHaaren, ESPN

There is certainly a case to be made for Stone, who is as important of an addition as the Sooners have made in the Brent Venables era. He could certainly be a day-one contributor for the Oklahoma Sooners defensive tackle. At the same time, the jump from high school to college can be a difficult transition, especially at a position like defensive tackle where they’re dealing with bigger players and a more physical game. Stone has the right mentality and work ethic to make the adjustment.

Whether he has his breakout season in 2024 or beyond, Stone will be a game changer for the Oklahoma Sooners defense.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire