- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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In the next few weeks leading into signing day it’s a great time to take a position-by-position glance at Oklahoma’s returning roster. This series, called State of the Position, will look at the playmakers, up-and-comers and current commitments or targets at each position for the Sooners as recruiting really heats up during these final weeks before signing day on Feb. 5. On Wednesday, we take a closer look at the nickelback position.
Starter/contributors: Julian Wilson (Sr.)
The most underrated playmaker on the defense, Wilson raised his game to another level as a junior while few people noticed. He started 11 games, finishing with 26 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss and three interceptions. His Bedlam pick went unnoticed but was a key play which set up Michael Hunnicutt's touchdown that tied the game in the third quarter. He didn’t dominate but he more than held his own as a valuable piece of the Big 12’s top pass defense.
On the cusp: L.J. Moore (So.)
Moore saw very little time as a true freshman, playing during the Sooners’ nonconference schedule and recording one tackle against Tulsa. He needed a year in the program to add strength and get comfortable with the demands of playing in the secondary but brings good size, versatility and competitiveness to the table in 2014.
On the recruiting trail: Marcus Green (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill)
Green’s size (6-foot-1, 176 pounds), athleticism and physicality make him a good fit for the nickelback spot, but he could play all three positions in OU’s secondary much like Gabe Lynn did during his time at OU. He’s not a shutdown corner but he’s a very versatile prospect.
Overall Grade: B
Wilson takes this grade higher than average with his experience and playmaking bringing a veteran presence to the position. Moore and Green bring two versatile, young prospects to the position, giving OU a veteran presence and hope for the future. Inexperience behind Wilson is the lone concern.
4dBrandon Chatmon and Jake Trotter