Oklahoma Sooners release first depth chart of 2022 ahead of season opener vs. UTEP

·11 min read

Wee one of the 2022 college football season has arrived, and the Oklahoma Sooners have released their first depth chart ahead of their opener against the UTEP Miners.

One of the goals of Brent Venables’ first offseasons with the Oklahoma Sooners was to create competition on the depth chart. Though several spots were solidified heading into fall camp, we still didn’t have an answer at right tackle, one of the wide receiver spots, defensive end, or at linebacker.

Now with the depth chart released, we get a glimpse at how the coaching staff sees the roster as they prepare for the first game of the Brent Venables era.

Several spots indicate an ongoing competition or those players will rotate at those positions with an “OR” designation. In Brent Venables’ defense, instead of deploying a “slot” or “nickel” cornerback, he utilizes the “Cheetah” position, a hybrid between a safety and a linebacker. Someone who can cover and provide support in the running game.

With that, let’s take a look at the first Oklahoma Sooners depth chart heading into week one vs. the UTEP Miners.

Quarterback

April 23, 2022; Norman; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) throws a pass during the spring game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Starter

QB2

QB3

8. Dillon Gabriel

11. Davis Beville

14. General Booty OR
7. Nick Evers

There was no mincing of words when the Sooners coaching staff was asked about the quarterback position early in the spring. Dillon Gabriel was brought in to be the starter for the Sooners.

Running Back

Dec 29, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Eric Gray (0) eludes Oregon Ducks safety Jordan Happle (32) to score a touchdown in the second half of the 2021 Alamo Bowl at Alamodome. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Starter

RB2

RB3

0. Eric Gray

24. Marcus Major

29. Tawee Walker OR
2. Jovantae Barnes

It’s time for the Eric Gray show. After a solid start to the 2021 season, Gray went underutilized in the second half of the season by the previous coaching staff. With Cale Gundy calling the plays for the Alamo Bowl, Gray got a shot to show the new coaching staff what he could do to the tune of eight carries for 82 yards and five receptions for 25 yards and a touchdown.

Marcus Major will get a ton of work too in Jeff Lebby’s high-octane offense. After a great offseason for Major, he’ll be called upon to punish teams in the second half as the Sooners look to close out games.

Wide Receiver

April 23, 2022; Norman; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Marvin Mims (17) celebrates quarterback Dillon Gabriel (8) after scoring a touchdown during the spring game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Starters

Backup

Backup 2

10. Theo Wease (Outside)

1. Jayden Gibson

81. Trevon West

17. Marvin Mims (Slot)

12. Drake Stoops

6. LV Bunkley-Shelton
82. Gavin Freeman

3. Jalil Farooq (Outside)

13. J.J. Hester OR
4. Nic Anderson

(None listed)

Perhaps a bit surprising is that the Oklahoma Sooners are leaving Marvin Mims in the slot again in 2022. He’s a dynamic player that can be effective anywhere, but his speed could be better utilized on the outside. Perhaps the Sooners really felt good about Jalil Farooq on the outside and wanted to make sure they got him on the field.

Tight End

Nov. 27, 2021; Stillwater; Oklahoma Sooners tight end Brayden Willis (9) catches a pass for a touchdown against Oklahoma State Cowboys cornerback Jarrick Bernard-Converse (24) during the first half at Boone Pickens Stadium. Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Starter

TE2

TE3

TE4

9. Brayden Willis

22. Daniel Parker Jr.

18. Kaden Helms

87. Jason Llewellyn

Brayden Willis is one of the players expected to have a breakout season in 2022. He’s earned the opportunity to play a ton for the Sooners with his ability to make a difference as both a blocker and a receiver.

Left Tackle

Oct. 16, 2021; Norman; Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Anton Harrison (71) in action during the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Starter

LT2

LT3

71. Anton Harrison

60. Tyler Guyton

55. Aaryn Parks

Big things are expected out of Anton Harrison entering year three. In what could be his final season with the Sooners, Harrison’s received some early top 50 buzz from draft analysts ahead of the 2023 NFL draft.

Left Guard

OU offensive lineman McKade Mettauer (72) and the rest of the Sooners break from a huddle during practice on March 24 in Norman. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Starter

LG2

72. McKade Mettauer

59. Savion Byrd OR
70. Brey Walker

Early in the offseason it was expected that Cal transfer McKade Mettauer would be a starter on the Oklahoma Sooners offensive line. His more than 1,700 snaps of college football provide a boost to an OU line replacing two starters from 2021.

Center

OU offensive lineman Andrew Raym (73) warms up before facing West Virginia on Sept. 25 in Norman. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Starter

C2

C3

73. Andrew Raym

66. Robert Congel

69. Nate Anderson

Despite missing part of spring ball with an injury, Andrew Raym earns the starting job once again. His experience and leadership will be key for Oklahoma’s offensive line.

Right Guard

Nov 27, 2021; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners offensive lineman Chris Murray (56) during the first quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State Cowboys won 37-33. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Starter

RG2

RG3

56. Chris Murray

79. Jake Taylor

74. Marcus Alexander

The only surprise here is that Jake Taylor is listed at guard for Oklahoma after coming to the Sooners as a tackle. As Chris Murray approaches his final year in Norman, Taylor has a chance to assert himself as the future at right guard.

RIght Tackle

BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN

Starter

Backup

64. Wanya Morris

76. Jacob Sexton

The lone position battle to start on the offensive line goes to Wanya Morris. It’s interesting, though, that Tyler Guyton was listed on the left side and that Jacob Sexton is the only backup listed at right tackle. Perhaps a sign of what’s to come in the future?

Defensive End

Oct. 16, 2021; Norman; Oklahoma Sooners defensive end Reggie Grimes (14) in action during the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Starters

Backups

14. Reggie Grimes

33. Marcus Stripling OR
32. R Mason Thomas

40. Ethan Downs

8. Jonah Laulu OR
32. R Mason Thomas

It was always going to be some combination of Reggie Grimes, Ethan Downs, and Marcus Stripling starting at defensive end for the Oklahoma Sooners. All three have the ability to approach double-digit sacks for the Sooners, but Ethan Downs and Reggie Grimes will get the first shot to start against UTEP.

Defensive Tackle

(Credit: OU Athletics)

Starters

DT3

DT4

88. Jordan Kelley OR
31. Jalen Redmond

90. Josh Ellison

56. Gracen Halton

It was assumed that Jalen Redmond would be the starter at defensive tackle, but Jordan Kelley’s said, “not so fast.” Kelley, a redshirt senior has had a fantastic offseason and has the strength to be disruptive on the inside. The defensive tackle spot will start as a rotation to keep each guy fresh, allowing them to be at max efficiency for each snap.

Nose Tackle

Oklahoma’s Isaiah Coe (94) celebrates after a play during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Western Carolina Catamounts at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Starters

NT3

NT4

77. Jeffery Johnson OR
94. Isaiah Coe

44. Kelvin Gilliam

56. Gracen Halton

Like defensive tackle, nose tackle will feature a rotation at the top of the depth chart between Isaiah Coe and Tulane transfer Jeffery Johnson. Both guys offer size, strength, and experience to be disruptive in the middle of the Sooners defense.

MIKE Linebacker

(AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Starter

MLB2

2. David Ugwoegbu

41. Jake McCoy OR
7. Jaren Kanak

Locked into a position battle all offseason, David Ugwoegbu reshaped his body to play linebacker and added speed. His length and athleticism will be a problem for teams attempting to go up the middle on the ground or through the air.

WILL Linebacker

Oklahoma’s Danny Stutsman (28), Isaiah Thomas (95) and Nik Bonitto (11) surround on Texas’ Casey Thompson (11) during the Red River Showdown college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Texas (UT) Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. Oklahoma won 55-48. Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Starter

WLB2

28. Danny Stutsman

13. Shane Whitter

Like fellow 2021 signee Ethan Downs, Danny Stutsman’s been a popular breakout candidate for the 2022 season.

CHEETAH

Oct 30, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners linebacker DaShaun White (23) and defensive back Key Lawrence (12) tackle Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Donovan Smith (7) during the first half at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Starter

Cheetah2

23. DaShaun White

37. Justin Harrington

What do you do when you have three talented linebackers, you find a way to get them all on the field at the same time. DaShaun White could play MIKE or WILL for Brent Venables, but his speed and athleticism will allow the Sooners to use him in a versatile defensive role.

Cornerback

Dec 5, 2020; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Baylor Bears wide receiver Tyquan Thornton (9) leaps for but cannot catch a pass as Oklahoma Sooners cornerback Jaden Davis (4) defends during the first half at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Starter

CB2

CB3

4. Jaden Davis

21. Kendall Dennis

1. Joshua Eaton OR
22. C.J. Coldon

0. Woodi Washington

9. D.J. Graham

26. Kani Walker

Jaden Davis found new life with Jay Valai, Ted Roof, and Brent Venables, earning another shot to start for Oklahoma after an up-and-down tenure under the previous defensive regime.

Strong Safety

Sep 11, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Billy Bowman (5) in action during the game against the Western Carolina Catamounts at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Starter

SS2

5. Billy Bowman

6. Trey Morrison OR
17. Damond Harmon

Billy Bowman earning the start isn’t a surprise. He’s had an excellent offseason by all accounts now that he’s locked into just one position. He’s an athletic player that will make plays on the football.

Free Safety

Nov 27, 2021; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Justin Broiles (25) during the third quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State Cowboys won 37-33. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Starter

Backups

12. Key Lawrence OR
25. Justin Broiles

3. Robert Spears-Jennings OR
17. Damond Harmon

Key Lawrence and Justin Broiles provide versatility for the Oklahoma Sooners that could allow either of them to play in the box or as the deep safety. Both guys could line up in the slot as well.

Returners

Dec 19, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Marvin Mims (17) scores a touchdown past Iowa State Cyclones defensive back Mason Chambers (33) during the first half at AT&T Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Starter

Kick Return

5. Billy Bowman OR
24. Marcus Major OR
3. Jalil Farooq

Punt Return

17. Marvin Mims OR
0. Eric Gray OR
6. LV Bunkley-Shelton

Looks like the Oklahoma Sooners are going to put their best skill talent in a position to make plays with the football. Nothing is defined here, and how they deploy each guy could be dependent on the situation.

Specialists

Sep 4, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners punter Michael Turk (37) before the game against the Tulane Green Wave at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Starter

Backup

Kicker

34. Zach Schmit

46. Gavin Marshall

Punter

37. Michael Turk

36. Josh Plaster

Long Snapper

51. Kasey Kelleher

50. Ben Anderson

Holder

37. Michael Turk

36. Josh Plaster

Zach Schmit gets the first opportunity to be the placekicker for the Oklahoma Sooners, replacing Gabe Brkic. In 2021, he was perfect on four point-after attempts and his lone field goal attempt as a freshman.

Michael Turk has become a weapon for the Oklahoma Sooners, averaging more than 50 yards per punt in 2021.

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