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Sooners with a top 5 spring transfer portal class per ESPN

Heading into the offseason, the Oklahoma Sooners had several needs. They did a nice job addressing the offensive line with the additions of Febechi Nwaiwu, Michael Tarquin, Geirean Hatchett, and Spencer Brown. But a spring ball injury to projected starting center Troy Everett created a need at center. Lack of experience along the defensive interior beyond Da’Jon Terry created another need at defensive tackle.

And the Oklahoma Sooners were able to address both issues with the addition of SMU transfer center Branson Hickman and TCU transfer defensive tackle Damonic Williams.

Jermayne Lole flipped to Texas after the Williams commitment, but Brent Venables and his staff made impact additions in the spring transfer window, earning ESPN’s No. 4 spring portal class (ESPN+).

The Sooners are arriving in the SEC with an upgraded defensive front. Landing five-star defensive tackle David Stone was huge considering he’s a young player with impact potential. OU also added experience through the portal. TCU transfer Damonic Williams, the No. 4 prospect in the spring portal, was the most notable addition. The 320-pounder is a big body with good quickness and performed well for the Horned Frogs after arriving as a four-star recruit in the 2022 class. He’s a strong candidate to seize a starting role. Adding those two players helps Oklahoma offset the loss of several contributors.

The Sooners also added an experienced, sound interior offensive lineman in SMU transfer Branson Hickman. He has more than 30 career starts and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him assume a starting role this fall.

Both players are likely to start for the Oklahoma Sooners and both bring a ton of experience to the roster. Williams started 26 games for TCU as a true freshman and sophomore, helping the Horned Frogs reach the national title game in 2022. Williams is a legit nose tackle that has strong production at a spot that doesn’t typically fill up the stat sheet. With improved talent around him and on the depth chart, he’ll have the opportunity to face fewer double teams, but even when he does, Williams has the power and quickness to beat the double. And just as important is Williams will keep Oklahoma’s fast and athletic linebacker group clean to run free and make plays in Brent Venables and Zac Alley’s downhill attacking defense.

Hickman has more than 2,400 snaps to his ledger as a three-year starter for the Mustangs. That experience will be huge for first-year starter Jackson Arnold, especially as the Sooners work for cohesion with five new starters along the offensive line. There’s a lot of talent there, but building chemistry is key for the offensive line to function at its highest capabilities. Hickman’s experience will help bring that together.

As Brent Venables and his coaching staff continue to recruit at a high level like they’ve done in the three years since arriving in Norman, they’ll be less reliant on the transfer portal. However, as they’ve done this spring, the Sooners will continue to make splashes when the opportunity arises.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire