Oklahoma Sooners No. 7 in ESPN’s future offense rankings
The Oklahoma Sooners are working to replace several starters off of an offense that was pretty good in 2022.
Marvin Mims, Eric Gray, Anton Harrison, Wanya Morris, Chris Murray, and Brayden Willis were each selected in the 2023 NFL draft. If you’re keeping track at home, that’s the top two receivers, leading rusher, and three starting offensive linemen.
Though there is a lot of turnover that they’re working through, they still have a group of talented players on offense to fill those holes. That’s why the Sooners were ranked No. 7 by Adam Rittenberg in ESPN’s future offense rankings
Scouting the Sooners: Despite Oklahoma’s first losing season since 1998, the offense produced at a decent clip, finishing 10th nationally in rushing (219.4 yards per game). The SEC transition looms for the Sooners, but the unit projects well with depth at quarterback, wide receiver and other positions. Quarterback play will remain a strength as Dillon Gabriel returns for a second season in coordinator Jeff Lebby’s offense, and incoming freshman Jackson Arnold, ESPN’s No. 3 overall recruit, should carry the unit through the 2025 season. Oklahoma loses top rusher Eric Gray, a fifth-round NFL draft pick who gained 1,366 yards last season, and will turn to sophomore Jovantae Barnes, redshirt freshman Gavin Sawchuk and others. Barnes averaged 4.5 yards per carry as Gray’s backup last fall. The Sooners regain tight end Austin Stogner, who played his first three seasons at OU before transferring to South Carolina for 2022. He leads a group that includes junior Blake Smith, second-year Kaden Helms and others. – Rittenberg, ESPN
Jovantae Barnes and Gavin Sawchuk are going to be dynamic players. Barnes ran for more than 500 yards last season. In Sawchuk’s first extended run with the Sooners, he ran for 100 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. With as much as Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby wants to run the ball, being able to hand it to a pair of dynamic runners 25-30 times a game will create big plays and set the tone for the Sooners offense.
OU lost top wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. to the NFL, and will lean on junior Jalil Farooq, senior Drake Stoops, freshman Gavin Freeman and others to fill the production void. The Sooners added Michigan transfer Andrel Anthony, and signed Jaquaize Pettaway, ESPN’s No. 45 overall recruit in the 2023 class. Younger receivers Jayden Gibson and Nic Anderson also will be part of the mix. The offensive line should remain a strength, especially at center with senior Andrew Raym and at guard with McKade Mettauer. Junior Tyler Guyton started five games at tackle in 2022, and Oklahoma did well in the portal with Walter Rouse (Stanford) and Caleb Shaffer (Miami Ohio), both multiyear starters. Depth appears solid with sophomores Jake Taylor and Savion Byrd, and others. OU added Cayden Green, ESPN’s No. 2 guard and No. 55 overall recruit for 2022. – Rittenberg, ESPN
If there are questions, it’s at wide receiver beyond Jalil Farooq and Drake Stoops and along the offensive line where they’re hoping transfer additions can help solidify the unit.
If Walter Rouse and his 38 starts can be the answer at left tackle, the Sooners have options at guard with Caleb Shaffer and Cayden Green. Green got a lot of opportunities during the spring with injury issues plaguing the Sooners offensive line.
Even with questions on offense, the future is bright with an experienced signal caller in Dillon Gabriel and impressive skill talent. If they can find more efficiency on third down and in the red zone, the Oklahoma Sooners will take their offense to another level in 2023.
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