- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
This week, SoonerNation introduces a way to rank Oklahoma’s top ten contributors. Each week we’ll update these rankings to reflect which OU players are raising their level of play. Feel free to give your opinion on our list in the comments section our on our forum.
During a 24-7 win over UTEP to open the season, several Sooners made a case to be considered the top contributor on the roster. While these ten players earned themselves a spot on the list after Week 1, their spots are far from secure.
Here are this week’s power rankings:
1. CB Aaron Colvin: Colvin is productive, consistent and humble. Three traits that tend to be mainstays within elite players. During his return to cornerback, Colvin wasn’t tested much, yet still ended up with six tackles and one pass breakup, which speaks to his playmaking skills. He’s also one of the better tacklers on the team and saved a UTEP touchdown on Nathan Jeffery’s long run.
2. DT David King: If it wasn’t for King, things could be looking pretty bleak for OU’s defense. His versatility and leadership are critical for the Sooners defensive line. He had three tackles including 0.5 tackles for loss -- he also should have been credited for a sack -- against UTEP.
3. WR Kenny Stills: The junior looked explosive in the slot and has the trust of Landry Jones. He had six receptions for 121 yards and one touchdown and appeared to be the most comfortable playmaker on OU’s offense. His stated goal is to be considered among the best in the nation at his position. He’s well on his way after Week 1.
4. C Gabe Ikard: Nobody cares if the snap is good until they aren’t. In his first game as the permanent replacement for Ben Habern, Ikard was solid in all aspects. Keeping the interior clear is critical to any passing game and Ikard helped down that for the majority of the game against UTEP.
5. S Tony Jefferson: Jefferson was all over the field for the Sooners helping OU hold UTEP to 49 passing yards and 255 total yards. The junior had a team-high 10 tackles (three solo) and one pass breakup during his debut as a free safety in Mike Stoops' defense. He provides a solid anchor in the Sooners secondary.
6. QB Landry Jones: Jones had a solid game, finishing 21-of-36 for 222 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He displayed his improved pocket awareness and mobility while protecting the football. At the same time, the senior knows he left some opportunities out there. Once he gets back in the rhythm of playing games and operating in OU’s offense, he’ll be fine.
7. DE Chuka Ndulue: Making his first start in the crimson and cream, the sophomore had a key fourth down stop in the second quarter, seven tackles, two quarterback pressures and a half-sack. His emergence has helped keep OU’s defensive tackle scenario from being a total disaster by allowing King to move inside without worry.
8. RB Damien Williams: The junior was one of the most explosive players on the field on Saturday. His acceleration and vision should earn him plenty of carries this season. Williams led OU with nine carries for 104 yards and one touchdown.
9. RB Dominique Whaley: The senior doesn’t quite look like the old Dom Whaley -- his explosiveness and tackle-breaking ability has not completely returned. He still averaged 4.9 yards per carry and finished with 54 rushing yards but had a uncharacteristic fumble. He could form a terrific 1-2 duo with Damien Williams.
10. WR Justin Brown: While Brown didn’t have any game-changing receptions, he showed a glimpse of his playmaking ability on a 26-yard punt return as he showed excellent patience and cutting ability in his first game at OU. He had four catches for 32 yards against the Miners but also had a fumble. Getting him involved will be important for Jones and the Sooners offense this fall.
1dBrandon Chatmon and Jake Trotter