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Insider

Players who could excel in bowl practices

12/9/2011

NORMAN, Okla. -- December is always a critical time for Oklahoma.

Not only is recruiting in high gear, but next year’s team starts to take shape during bowl practices as young players begin showing the coaching staff that they will be impact players in 2012.

Here is a look at several Sooners who have the opportunity to impress during bowl practices:

Quarterback Blake Bell

The redshirt freshman has made a name for himself with his feet, but December is a opportunity to make a name for himself with his arm. A dual-threat quarterback, Bell should use these two weeks to get back to learning the offense and getting comfortable as a every down quarterback in the Sooners offense.

Receiver Kameel Jackson

The coaching staff has been high on Jackson since he stepped on campus. He showed flashes of his ability and competitiveness in the final three games but also had a couple of drops. The next two weeks give the true freshman a chance to prove he has the makeup -- and consistency -- to emerge as a go-to receiver as a sophomore.

Cornerbacks Julian Wilson, James Haynes, Bennett Okotcha and Joe Powell

All four cornerbacks have the chance to step up and prove they can be starters on OU’s defense in 2012. With All-Big 12 cornerback Jamell Fleming leaving, Wilson, Haynes, Okotcha and Powell will be competing to replace him in the spring.

That competition starts this December as they go through bowl practices. The next two weeks is an opportunity for one or two of these players to prove they are ready to be counted on by the Sooners coaching staff.

Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips

The redshirt freshman got off to a slow start after joining the squad halfway through preseason camp. He has talent and bowl practices provide the perfect opportunity for him to show if a seasons worth of practices have paid off.

Oklahoma is searching for difference makers in its defensive interior so if he impresses, he could be in line for a spot in the rotation at defensive tackle.

Linebacker Kellen Jones

The true freshman showed enough to see spot duty this season and could become a core member of the defense if he improves heading into his sophomore season. With Travis Lewis leaving, Jones should get plenty of opportunities to see the field.

These two weeks of bowl practices could be key to Jones’ development.