- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
Oklahoma’s hopes of fielding a strong defense in 2013 just received a boost.
Cornerback Aaron Colvin announced he would return to OU on Monday afternoon. The All-Big 12 first-team selection was considering making himself available for the 2013 NFL draft but elected to return for his senior season.
It’s a huge boost for defensive coordinator Mike Stoops’ defense. If Colvin had declared, OU would have had to replace four of five starters in its defensive backfield. With Colvin’s return, the Sooners secondary now has a cornerstone to build around.
Arguably OU’s best defensive player for the past two seasons, Colvin moved to cornerback in 2012 after spending 2011 at safety. He flourished at his preferred position, displaying the ability to lock down some of the best receivers in the Big 12.
The Sooners can now concentrate on the development of younger corners such as true freshman Gary Simon, Arizona transfer Cortez Johnson and redshirting freshman Zack Sanchez with the help of Colvin, who has taken on a mentor’s role. Simon and Johnson are likely to battle to replace Demontre Hurst opposite Colvin, but the Big 12’s explosive pass offenses makes the development of multiple quality cover men essential.
Colvin’s return should also help OU’s inexperienced safeties in 2013, allowing whoever ends up replacing Tony Jefferson and Javon Harris to play with the confidence of having one of the nation’s top cornerbacks alongside them in the secondary.
His mentorship role could be one of the most important factors of Colvin’s return. His competitiveness should rub off on the rest of the secondary, his superb play will set a standard and his overall experience will be unmatched by any player on entire defensive unit.
Colvin’s return could spark nightmares for Big 12 receivers, but his overall impact could be felt off the field as much as it’s felt on it.