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Thursday, December 13, 2012
Freshman update: LB Eric Striker

By Brandon Chatmon

The road to playing time appears full of roadblocks for Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker. Redshirt freshman Frank Shannon has emerged as a playmaker, sophomore Aaron Franklin has been solid during his time on the field, and Tom Wort and Corey Nelson remain atop the depth chart.

Nonetheless, don’t be surprised if Striker carves out a role in the Sooners defense as a sophomore. The freshman from Florida has been a contributor on special teams for much of the season and has displayed playmaking ability during practices.

Running back Brennan Clay, who goes against Striker each week in practice, has seen signs that Striker could become an asset to the Sooners defense. When asked what it’s like to go against the freshman linebacker in practice, Clay’s words were intriguing.

“It’s so annoying,” Clay said. “He’s one of those elusive, linebacker/safety types. He’s so elusive, you can’t tell what he’s doing and he’s really fast. He’s quick with his hands, we do blitz protection and he’s always eating us up. He does a great job.”

Since Striker stepped on campus, he has impressed. The Sooners didn’t need him to play as a true freshman, but he earned a role on special teams in August.

“Eric has been pretty consistent,” Nelson said. “Ever since he came in he’s been a player. He’s getting better at reading his keys and stuff like that, but other than that, he’s been consistent. He’s just a natural-born athlete that can play at a high level.”

Much like Shannon, pass rushing appears to be one of Striker’s fortes. If he proves to be one of the Sooners' best blitzers, he could become a valuable piece of the defense in 2013.

“He’s getting better, he’s getting bigger and he’s getting more confident,” Clay said.