- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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During the summer months, we will take a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we will analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series will follow the roster numerically through our final analysis of No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.
No. 4 Hatari Byrd, 6-foot-1, 201 pounds, safety, sophomore
Impact thus far: Byrd had limited playing time as a true freshman in 2013. He provided backup depth at safety, recording three tackles. He made all three tackles against Tulsa when starting safety Gabe Lynn left the game because of injury.
Impact in 2014: Byrd had a strong spring and looks like a contributor in the secondary for the Sooners. He was part of a three-man rotation at safety during the spring alongside Ahmad Thomas and Quentin Hayes, with Steven Parker and others sure to join the battle for playing time in August. Byrd should be part of the reason the Sooners have better depth at safety this fall.
Long-term upside: Byrd brings good size, good athleticism and a strong mental approach -- traits that could make him a critical part of a defense that could battle for a national championship during his time in Norman, Oklahoma. He has good leadership traits and could mature into a guy who is considered one of the faces of the Sooners’ defense.
Evaluation grade for Byrd: B. It’s really too early to grade Byrd, as he hasn't had an opportunity to prove himself as a college safety. But he does have good physical traits and, more importantly, the mental approach that generally leads to success.
Development grade for Byrd: C. The Sooners were handcuffed in a lot of ways when it comes to Byrd’s development. He had to be prepared to play in case injuries hit last season, so redshirting wasn’t really an option. But the Sooners coaches could have played him more often instead of just five games in 2013.
Quotable: “Hatari, he could be a big-time player. He can move pretty well, he’s got great footwork, he’s got a great attitude, physical. He’s got all the tools.” -- Sooners cornerback Cortez Johnson.
4dBrandon Chatmon and Jake Trotter