- Jake Trotter, ESPN Staff Writer
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NORMAN, Okla. -- Two years ago, Bob Stoops called weak-side linebacker Corey Nelson the defensive MVP of the spring. But this past spring, Nelson was anything but. He didn’t even start the spring game, despite the graduation of Travis Lewis.
But this fall apparently has been a different story for Nelson.
“In the spring, he was a little bit out of whack I thought, just lot of things going on with his life at that time,” said linebackers coach Tim Kish. “Now he seems to be settling down, I think he’s more focused this fall, which he needed to be. He’s providing us with some leadership out there, but he needs to keep improving like everybody else. We’re looking for him to be a leader out there.”
The Sooners have several promising prospects at linebacker. Frank Shannon and Aaron Franklin have turned a corner in the last year. Kish already has said that true freshman Eric Striker won’t redshirt and contribute on special teams. Compared to them, Nelson is experienced. But he has only 11 career starts.
“Him and (Tom) Wort and Joe (Ibiloye) are really the only ones with linebacker experience,” Kish said. “And Corey doesn’t have that much. When you look at it, you have really only one returning starter in Tom. Like I said, we just got to develop that position. Competition has been good in there. We have to raise our game every day.”