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Tuesday, January 1, 2013
State of the program: Cornerback

By Brandon Chatmon

After grading the performance of Oklahoma’s cornerbacks in 2012, it is the perfect time to take a closer look at the cornerbacks on the roster or the commitment list as SoonerNation evaluates the future at the position for Oklahoma. Here’s a look at one player who could be next in line to make a major impact, one player to keep an eye on and one current commitment who could be the future.

Cortez Johnson
Former Arizona defensive back Cortez Johnson started two games as a freshman for the Wildcats.
Next in line: Gary Simon. The Sooners spoke highly of Simon before the season and he’s spent the season preparing to step in to make a major contribution as a sophomore. With his long arms, athleticism and ball skills, Simon could become a key component of OU’s secondary in 2013.

Keep an eye on: Cortez Johnson. The Arizona transfer could step in and start after sitting out this season because of NCAA transfer rules. At 6-foot-2 and 196 pounds, Johnson brings excellent size to the position and he has experience, having played in eight games, starting two, for the Wildcats as a freshman.

On the trail: Stanvon Taylor (Tulsa, Okla./East Central) was recruited as a defensive back, although he has the skills to end up on the offensive side of the ball. If Taylor ends up playing cornerback at OU, he has the skills to develop into a quality defensive back with his combination of quickness, ball skills and competitiveness.

Summary: If Aaron Colvin decides to leave early, the Sooners could be looking at replacing both cornerbacks. Fortunately for OU fans, the Sooners have a good track record of producing quality cornerbacks and Mike Stoops has an excellent eye for talent. If Simon and Johnson are asked to start in 2013, there could be some early stumbles but the long-term upside is very high. Therefore, continuing to bring in quality cornerbacks is the main concern about the position at this point.