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Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Crimson Countdown: FB Aaron Ripkowski

By Brandon Chatmon

During the summer months, SoonerNation will take a closer look at each 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 impact. Starting with No. 1 Kendal Thompson, the series will follow the roster numerically through our final analysis of No. 99 Chaz Nelson.

No. 48 Aaron Ripkowski
Fullback, 6-foot-1, 260 pounds, junior

Impact thus far: Ripkowski has zero career carries. Yet, he’s made a major impact on the program as a vital part of the Sooners’ “Belldozer” short-yardage package. He’s played in 20 career games with one start and provides a physical presence in short yardage and on special teams.

Best-case scenario in 2013: Ripkowski continues to create running lanes for the Sooners’ skill position players and gets more playing time as the quarterback run game becomes a bigger part of the offense and starting fullback Trey Millard gets more touches.

Worst-case scenario in 2013: Ripkowski sees the same amount of action as he did during his freshman and sophomore seasons because that would mean Millard is likely spending more time in a traditional fullback role.

SoonerNation's evaluation grade for Ripkowski: D. The junior was originally a walk-on. If OU had evaluated him as this type of impact player, they would have given him a scholarship out of high school. But give OU credit for inviting him to walk on, playing him early and giving him a scholarship after his freshman season.

SoonerNation’s development grade for Ripkowski: A. He was a walk on but OU recognized he could help them immediately and, even though they already had one of the nation’s top fullbacks in Millard, used his physicality and toughness early and often in his Sooners' career.