Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Oklahoma Sooners [Print without images]

Monday, July 1, 2013
Placing the Sooners' roster in tiers

By Jake Trotter

You’ve seen them while prepping your fantasy football team. Or reading ESPN Insider Chad Ford while getting ready for the NBA Draft. The “tier system” is an effective way of making sense, differentiating and analyzing a cluster of players. Everyone from pro sport general managers to college coaches out on the trail recruiting employ this method.

With this is mind, SoonerNation has parsed out Oklahoma’s roster into 10 separate tiers. Here they are:

Tier 1: The Elite (Guys who could play for almost anyone)

FB Trey Millard: The best all-around fullback in college football

Aaron Colvin
Aaron Colvin gives Oklahoma one of the top cornerbacks in the Big 12 conference.
CB Aaron Colvin: One of the few true lock-down corners

WR Jalen Saunders: In for a huge year

RB Damien Williams: Could rush for 1,400 yards

C Gabe Ikard: Captain of an experienced offensive line

Tier 2: On the cusp (On the verge of jumping into Tier 1)

WR Sterling Shepard: Would be go-to guy if not for Saunders

Tier 3: The solids (Not quite stars, but still quality players)

OT Daryl Williams: Underrated, can really protect

LB Corey Nelson: Finally getting the chance to play full time

OG Bronson Irwin: “War Daddy” can play through pain

DT Chuka Ndulue: Could miss opener after weekend DUI arrest

RB Brennan Clay: Solid, sturdy wingman to Damien Williams

NB Julian Wilson: Has found a home in the nickel

K Michael Hunnicutt: Has stabilized the place-kicking position

Tier 4: Potential elite (Capable of sliding into Tier 1 or 2 within a year)

DE Geneo Grissom: Back on defense for good

QB Blake Bell: The “Belldozer” finally gets his shot to pass, too

LB Frank Shannon: As a full-time starter, sky is the limit

DT Jordan Phillips: Major athleticism, showed up big in spring game

Tier 5: The Roy Finch tier (Guys that could be Tier 1 if they ever played)

RB Roy Finch: Makes big plays when he plays, which is not often

Tier 6: Role players (Below Tier 3, but still fill a necessary role)

OT Tyrus Thompson: Takes over at LT after filling in nicely late last year at RT

CB Cortez Johnson: Huge spring, but most carry over into the fall

OG Adam Shead: If he could only stay healthy

LB Aaron Franklin: Very intriguing third linebacker; an athletic freak

WR Lacoltan Bester: Looking like a starter, at least to begin the year

FB Aaron Ripkowski: Instrumental in power packages

DB Gabe Lynn: Might have to fend off Hatari Byrd to keep his job

Tier 7: Promising players (Potential to be Tier 1 by the end of their careers)

QB Kendal Thompson: Has Bell looking over his shoulder

WR Trey Metoyer: Talent still there

C Ty Darlington: Ikard’s heir apparent

FS Hatari Byrd: Turning heads this summer

CB Stanvon Taylor: Also turning heads this summer

DE Charles Tapper: Looks like a tackle, but moves like an end

SS Ahmad Thomas: Turned heads in the spring

DE Mike Onuoha: Would have been starting OLB had OU stuck with the 3-4

RB Alex Ross: Almost avoided redshirt despite stacked backfield

RB Keith Ford: Could avoid redshirt despite stacked backfield

DE Matt Dimon: Ultra-productive in high school

DE D.J. Ward: Hasn’t played in awhile, but still a blue-chipper

WR Durron Neal: Threat to go deep, as the spring game showed

QB Trevor Knight: Still learning, but when the switch flips, look out

WR Dannon Cavil: At 6-foot-5, biggest receiver on the team

LB Eric Striker: Still raw, but has the physical tools to work with

Tier 8: Destined to contribute (Budding role players)

DT Torrea Peterson: Seems to have turned a corner in mindset

OG Nila Kasitati: Should be in the rotation

DT Jordan Wade: Coming along, but quickly enough?

WR Derrick Woods: Has savvy, but competition for time at WR is fierce

P Jed Barnett: Expected to replace Tress Way

OG: Dionte Savage: Could start, if Shead's back flares up

OT Derek Farniok: No worse than the third or fourth tackle

TE Sam Grant: Potential to be a devastating blocker, a la Brody Eldridge

TE Taylor McNamara: OU’s only hope of a pass-catcher at tight end

RB David Smith: Think Chris Brown light

Tier 9: Elder statesmen (Seldom used before, but could still help)

DT Rashod Favors: Held his own after position switch in the spring

TE Brannon Green: Might still be OU’s best all-around tight end

DB Kass Everett: New life as the dimeback

Tier 10: The enigmas (Could be key if they show up or stay out of trouble)

OT Josiah St. John: Should have been in Norman already

WR Jaz Reynolds: The jury is still out

FS Trey Franks: Began to surge late in spring

SS Quentin Hayes: Penciled in as a starter, but we’ll see

DT Quincy Russell: Don’t ask