Trio of freshmen to watch when Oklahoma takes on Kent State

·3 min read

Before their first game of the season, the Oklahoma Sooners released their week one depth chart of the UTEP Miners game. Fifteen true freshmen cracked the depth chart, and while not all played in the game, several freshmen made an impact on the game.

This week the Sooners take on the Kent State Golden Flashes, and much like last week, they’ll call on several freshmen to provide significant snaps. Nonconference games where Oklahoma is heavily favored allows the Sooners to see their true freshmen in competitive environments. It allows them to evaluate the depth of their roster.

There are several freshmen who got playing time last week that we’re excited to see take another step in week two.

Uo Next: Defender making a sudden impact

R Mason Thomas, DE

Oklahoma spent the months ahead of national signing day to pull R Mason Thomas from the clutches of Iowa State.

He’d been committed to the Cyclones since last July, but after the hiring of Venables and the staff around him, they circled in like sharks and got Thomas to flip.

Thomas surprised some when he was listed on the week one depth chart as the third DE on either side of the defense. He validated that placement by getting credited with half a sack in his first game.

He looks like an impact player in the making that is only going to get better. While he doesn’t have conventional defensive end size, he’s agile and fast, and that is an invaluable tool off the edge. We’re looking forward to seeing how he follows up his week one performance.

Up Next: A talented runner

Jovantae Barnes, RB

Jovantae Barnes had a decent first game for a true freshman making his appearance in a relief role. He didn’t have nearly the workload his teammates Marcus Major, and Eric Gray had.

Still, when given the opportunity, he ran hard. On his first collegiate carry he looked as if he were shot out of a cannon, unfortunately the play ended with a fumble. Barnes also had a touchdown called back due to a holding penalty.

He’ll lace them back up and get another opportunity against Kent State. Can he continue to show an extra gear and give his position coach DeMarco Murray something to think about as the Sooners inch closer and closer to conference play?

Up Next: A dynamic linebacker

Jaren Kanak, LB

Jaren Kanak looks like a comic book character with an origin story rivaling Captain America or The Hulk. The dude looks like he was built in a lab.

He doesn’t look like a true freshman with gifts too good to ignore. Kanak flashed in the first game against UTEP, backing up David Ugwoegbu, and will get more reps to solidify himself as a capable backup middle linebacker.

He’ll be thrust into a lot more pass coverage as Kent State wants to push the ball vertically, so how he handles his coverage responsibilities will help solidify his place moving forward.

List

Final thoughts as the No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners prepare to face Kent State

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire