Have the Oklahoma Sooners adequately addressed their needs in the transfer portal?

The Oklahoma Sooners went into the offseason with a number of needs to address via the transfer portal.

Bryant Crews highlighted five positions that the Sooners needed to address in the portal, namely offensive line, defensive line, tight end, secondary, and kicker.

But how well did the Sooners address those needs and where else have they added talent?

With the coaching carousel extending into January with the Alabama and Washington jobs opening up, the transfer portal has heated up again for the next 30 days. Could the Sooners add more talent? We’ll see if they take advantage of the opportunity to add talent from the Crimson Tide or the Huskies.

But until then, let’s take a look at what they’ve done in the portal thus far and if they’ve addressed their needs.

Offensive Line

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Additions: Spencer Brown, Febechi Nwaiwu, Michael Tarquin

Offensive line was easily the biggest need entering the offseason. Oklahoma lost the five guys who started the majority of the season. Jacob Sexton and Troy Everett return. Both started or played significant snaps along the Sooners offensive line in 2023. But their experience is still limited.

Oklahoma has made a concerted effort to address the situation with the additions of Brown, Nwaiwu, and Tarquin, who bring a lot of starting experience to the program.

The Sooners have a really good and really underrated offensive line class signed for 2024. However, their three additions give the Sooners an opportunity to have some experience along their offensive line heading into the SEC.

There could be another addition made, but if this is where it stops, Oklahoma’s done a good job fortifying its front.

Defensive Line

AP Photo/Michael Clubb
AP Photo/Michael Clubb

Additions: Caiden Woullard

The Sooners lost Isaiah Coe and Jordan Kelley to eligibility. They have Da’Jon Terry and Jacob Lacey returning, which helps to refortify the defensive tackle spot. However, Oklahoma hasn’t been able to add any game changers through the portal along the interior.

They did add Caiden Woullard from Miami (Ohio), a guy who had 9.5 sacks in 2023.

It would have been nice to add some more interior help, but the Sooners have quite the defensive line class coming in 2024 in David Stone and Jayden Jackson. A guy like Nigel Smith could play inside or out.

The Sooners are also still very high on Gracen Halton, Ashton Sanders, and Markus Strong, a trio of players they added in the 2022 and 2023 signing class.


Sep 17, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes running back Micah Bernard (2) runs the ball against San Diego State Aztecs cornerback Dezjhon Malone (32) in the second quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes running back Micah Bernard (2) runs the ball against San Diego State Aztecs cornerback Dezjhon Malone (32) in the second quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Additions: Dez’Jhon Malone

Cornerback was up and down in 2023. There were some games where they played really well, but others, like the Arizona game, where they got beat by some talented players. There’s growth that has to happen at the position for the Sooners defense to take the next step. Thankfully, they have their entire cornerback depth chart returning and they’re getting a boost in 2024 with the signing of four-star corner Jeremiah Newcombe, the Sooners first commitment in the 2024 class.

Starters Woodi Washington and Gentry Williams are returning. Kani Walker, who played a lot of snaps when Williams was out is also back. The 2023 signing class of Jacobe Johnson, Makari Vickers, and Jasiah Wagoner have yet to break out as well. Kendal Dolby is also back. He played a lot of cheetah snaps in 2023, but could be a factor at cornerback as well.

There’s good depth, but that didn’t stop Jay Valai and Brent Venables from targeting a player they felt could add competitive depth to the cornerback room.

Dez’Jhon Malone brings good size and experience to the Sooners and is someone who could play significant snaps in the cornerback rotation or contend for a starting spot.

Safety is a spot they’ve yet to add a player from the outside. However, they’ve got some fantastic talent at the position. All-Amercian Billy Bowman is back. Robert Spears-Jennings took a step in his development and played significant snaps for the Sooners down the stretch. He showed really good instincts and play speed around the line of scrimmage, but can continue to grow in coverage. Peyton Bowen will be relied upon even more in 2024 as the Sooners need to improve their coverage heading into the SEC.

2024 signees Michael Boganowski, Jaydan Hardy, Mykel Patterson-McDonald, or Reggie Powers could be in line for rotational snaps at safety. And then there’s the return of 2023 signee Erik McCarty, who was out all of last year after suffering an ACL injury his senior year of high school in the Oklahoma state playoffs.

Tight End

Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Additions: Bauer Sharp, Jake Roberts

In addition to the offensive line, the Sooners needed help at tight end. They have a young group with Kaden Helms, Kade McIntyre, and elite 2024 prospect Davon Mitchell, but they needed someone who has taken significant collegiate snaps.

The Sooners added Bauer Sharp, who played a lot for Southeastern Louisiana, but it always felt like they were going to add another veteran option. They added North Texas and Baylor tight end Jake Roberts to the mix.

With Roberts and Sharp, the Sooners have a pair of players that can help the offense in both the run and pass game while they continue to develop their young tight end room.


Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Additions: Tyler Keltner

Sooners kicker Zach Schmit improved field goal percentage from 2022 to 2023 and was effective on kickoffs. Though he finished the season strong, making 6 of 8 over his final five games, a missed kick against Oklahoma State in a three-point loss.

He also had a three-game stretch against Iowa State, Texas, and UCF where he was just 5 of 11.

Schmit was perfect on extra point attempts and had just 24 of his 93 kickoffs returned. His 50 touchbacks tied for 21st in college football in 2023.

In the portal they added former Florida State and East Tennessee State kicker Tyler Keltner. Keltner only attempted one kick with the Seminoles, but in his career has made 74.5% of his kicks. That number may not be great, but when you consider he was just 1 of 6 on attempts greater than 50 yards. So on kicks 49 yards or fewer, Keltner made 82% of his field goal attempts.

Oklahoma also added Kohl’s five-star kicker Liam Evans.

Schmit has improved each season he’s been at Oklahoma, but the Sooners also added competition to the kicker depth chart.

Wide Receiver

Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Addition: Deion Burks

Though the Oklahoma Sooners lost Drake Stoops, it never felt like wide receiver was a huge need with what they have returning in 2024. Still, they added arguably the best wide receiver in the transfer porta in Deion Burks.

Burks has the ability to take the ball to the end zone every time he touches it. He could step right into Stoops’ role in the slot or play on the outside.

It’s an abundance of riches for Emmett Jones and the wide receiver depth chart.


Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Additions: Casey Thompson

The Sooners quarterback room entering 2024 looks really good. Jackson Arnold, Michael Hawkins, Brendan Zurbrugg, and General Booty. It’s talented, but there isn’t a lot of experience at the collegiate level.

And that’s what Casey Thompson brings to the table. He’s thrown more than 600 passes at the collegiate level in the Big 12, Big Ten and for Florida Atlantic in the American Athletic Conference. He’s as experienced as a backup quarterback as you’ll ever find in college football.

If you need him to take snaps for you, Thompson won’t be rattled by the situation.

Running Back

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Additions: Sam Franklin

Like quarterback and wide receiver, the Sooners running back room looks really good heading into 2024. But like quarterback, it’s lacking experience. That’s something Sam Franklin brings to the running back room.

With the departures of Marcus Major and Tawee Walker via the portal, the Sooners lost their experience at running back.

Yes, starting running back Gavin Sawchuk will be back. As will Jovantae Barnes and Kalib Hicks. The Sooners will add Taylor Tatum and Xavier Robinson to the running back room in 2024. There’s talent, but aside from Sawchuk and Barnes, who battled injuries in 2023, there’s not a lot of carries at the collegiate level.

Franklin carried the ball more than 300 times during his three seasons at UT-Martin, including 221 carries for 1,367 yards, and 11 touchdowns. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry and had 22 runs of more than 15 yards or more.

Who knows how the running back carries will be divided up in 2024, but the Sooners added a dynamic and experienced back to help its young running back group.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire