Oklahoma Sooners: Christian Daimler

During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma's roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we 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 follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 70 Christian Daimler, tackle, 6-foot-7, 300 pounds, redshirt freshman

Impact thus far: Daimler redshirted during his first season on campus.

Impact in 2014: Daimler should play a backup role at tackle for the Sooners with veterans Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams manning the position.

Long-term upside: Daimler looks like a guy who can be a contributor for the Sooners but how much he can contribute in his four seasons remains unclear. He saw time at left tackle in the spring game with the Sooners' No. 2 offense, so he could be in line to compete to replace Tyrus Thompson in 2015.

Evaluation grade for Daimler: NA. It's too early to grade Daimler, who hasn't had the chance to play in a game yet. But he is showing early signs that he can be a contributor who develops into a starting-level tackle in the future if his development continues like it should.

Development grade for Daimler: F. Redshirting Daimler was the perfect move. Even though the injury bug hit the Sooners' tackle ranks, to the point they had to shift Bronson Irwin to tackle for the Allstate Sugar Bowl, it was still the right decision to place the redshirt on Daimler, who needed a season in the Sooners strength and conditioning program before he could be considered an option to play.
The injury bug has hit Norman, Okla. this spring.

Oklahoma will be without several players during its spring game on Saturday but none of the injuries are major.

Nickelback Julian Wilson, defensive lineman Rashod Favors, defensive tackle Quincy Russell, receiver Sterling Shepard, receiver Durron Neal, tight end Blake Bell, guard Adam Shead, tackle Tyrus Thompson, guard Nila Kasitati and guard Tyler Evans will miss the action due to various injuries but none of them require surgery and head coach Bob Stoops said he expects all of them to return after a short hiatus.

Those injuries have opened the door for several young players on the roster.

“They’re getting more snaps and having to step up,” Stoops said.

Here’s a closer look at how those injuries could open up spring game opportunities for several players on the roster.

[+] EnlargeEric Striker
Robin Alam/Icon SMIOLB Eric Striker has been taking some reps at nickelback this spring.
Wilson: The senior has missed the spring anyway, allowing Ahmad Thomas, Eric Striker and others to get the reps at nickelback. Thomas is showing great versatility and carving himself a role on the defense. Striker, a returning All-Big 12 second teamer, will be on the field regardless, it’s just a matter of where. Both guys get the chance to prove they can fill a variety of roles on Saturday.

Favors: Several young defensive ends including Mike Onuoha are showing good upside this spring and Favors' injury gives them more chances to impress in the spring game. Onuoha was right alongside returning Big 12 first teamer Charles Tapper as the future at the position before a shoulder injury forced him to miss his sophomore season while Tapper starred. He could be hungry to prove he could have made a similar impact. Matt Dimon and D.J. Ward are other young defensive ends who could end up providing quality depth this fall.

Russell: This injury hurts Russell in the race to earn playing time in 2014 and opens up additional opportunities for redshirt freshman Charles Walker to show he’s ready to make an impact in the fall. It also gives the opportunity for another redshirt freshman, Matt Romar, to show Walker isn’t the only youngster looking to force his way into the lineup along a veteran defensive line.

Bell: More than anything Bell’s injury robs us of the opportunity to see the Belldozer play tight end before the fall. And, quite frankly, that’s all anyone is going to think about when it comes to Bell’s absence on Saturday. The overriding question about Bell is not if he can win the starting tight end job, it's can he prove to be one of the best 11 players on offense? That answer will define his playing time and it won't come until the fall.

Shepard and Neal: Redshirt freshman Jordan Smallwood, K.J. Young and Dannon Cavil could have lost all right to complain about a lack of opportunities with these injuries. Don’t be surprised if Smallwood is one of the stars of the spring game, Young is silky smooth and Cavil brings a unique size and athleticism to the receiving corps. Sophomores Derrick Woods and Austin Bennett will also get the chance to shine after limited duty as freshmen in 2013.

Offensive line: Injuries have hammered the offensive line throughout the spring, so being thrown into duty in the spring game will be nothing new for guys like tackle Sam Grant, tackle Christian Daimler and guard Kyle Marrs. They’ll get the chance to get a bunch of reps against a deep defensive line and potentially secure a reputation for themselves before a talented group of offensive line signees arrive in the summer looking to rise past them on the Sooners' depth chart.
In the next few weeks leading into signing day it’s a great time to take a position-by-position glance at Oklahoma’s returning roster. This series, called "State of the position," will look at the playmakers, up-and-comers and current commitments or targets at each position for the Sooners as recruiting really heats up during these final weeks before signing day on Feb. 5. On Friday, we take a closer look at the offensive tackle position.

Starter/contributors: Tyrus Thompson (Sr.), Daryl Williams (Sr.), Derek Farniok (Jr.)

[+] EnlargeTyrus Thompson
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesTyrus Thompson returns to OU for 2014 and will team with Daryl Williams to give the Sooners what could be the Big 12's best tackle duo.
Williams earned All-Big 12 second-team honors and should be the veteran anchor for OU’s offensive line in 2014. He has been an impact player since his redshirt freshman year and could be poised to earn first-team All-Big 12 honors as a senior.

Thompson started the first 11 games of the season before an injury forced him to miss OU’s final two games. He joined Williams to give OU a pair of quality bookend tackles and help the Sooners allow just 14 sacks in 13 games.

Farniok started against Oklahoma State and played in four games for OU as a sophomore. He’s still developing but should be a quality No. 3 tackle for the Sooners as a junior.

On the cusp: Josiah St. John (Jr.), Christian Daimler (RFr.)

A junior college signee in 2013, St. John didn’t have an immediate impact for the Sooners. OU will really need him to step up and provide depth at the tackle spot in 2014.

Daimler redshirted during his freshman season and should jump into the mix to provide depth behind Thompson and Williams this spring.

On the recruiting trail: None

The Sooners have four offensive linemen committed but none of them is an offensive tackle. The Sooners are in hot pursuit of several tackles prospects, including Utah pledge Kenyon Frison (West Valley City, Utah/Granger), along with multiple junior college tackle prospects. OU will need to add one or two tackles to its commit list or shift some players around along its offensive line to set the position up for the future.

Overall Grade: A-

OU might have the best tackle duo in the Big 12 and could go four-deep at the position this fall. Yet the future doesn’t look as bright with Daimler as the lone underclassmen on the roster at tackle. Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh has some work to do but, at the same time, the future at the position could transform overnight with a position change or two.
Recruiting season is about to kick into high gear. As soon as Bedlam is over on Dec. 7, Oklahoma will hit the recruiting trails hard looking to secure the future.

[+] EnlargeDominique Alexander
William Purnell/Icon SMIOU didn't offer Dominique Alexander a scholarship until last October. Now he's a starting linebacker.
OU has been superb at finding late hidden gems in recent seasons, with cornerback Zack Sanchez, a redshirt freshman from the Class of 2012, and linebacker Dominique Alexander, a true freshman from the Class of 2013, already making an impact on the program after getting relatively late offers from the Sooners.

Here are some priority spots for the Sooners to address in their 2014 class during the final two months of this recruiting cycle. Keep in mind, this list has everything to do with the young players on campus at each position, not necessarily the guys who are playing at that position each Saturday in 2013.

Offensive tackle: Derek Farniok and Christian Daimler are the lone underclassmen at offensive tackle. OU badly needs depth at the position and should be aiming to land at least two offensive tackle prospects in this class. If redshirt freshman tight end Sam Grant ends up at tackle, that would help the cause and lessen the urgency, but its a high priority position in this year's class. Worse yet, there doesn't seem to be a lot of hope at the position with top prospects mentioning OU on their lists. Finding a hidden gem in December could be the top priority for offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.

Defensive tackle: This position looks a lot better right now than it did a year ago with the early play of Jordan Phillips, a sophomore, and the emergence of Jordan Wade, a redshirt freshman. Nevertheless, there is no such thing as too many quality defensive tackles. The Sooners have one commit in Irving (Texas) Ranchview's Brandon Glenn, but that's not enough. OU needs to secure at least one more defensive tackle prospect to join Glenn and redshirting freshmen Matthew Romar and Charles Walker as the future at the position.

Linebacker: OU rallied to bring in two quality linebackers late in last year’s recruiting cycle with Alexander and Jordan Evans. Each committed to OU late in the process and became impact freshmen this fall. The Sooners need to supplement that duo with a least one more playmaker to join Allen (Texas) linebacker Tay Evans and Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta linebacker Curtis Bolton on their commit list. Several linebackers could be in play and keep in mind the Sooners did secure Alexander and Evans late in the process.

Running back: You can never have too many running backs. And OU loses three quality ball carriers in Brennan Clay, Roy Finch and the recently dismissed Damien Williams. Redshirt freshman Alex Ross has a good size/speed ratio, true freshman Keith Ford has terrific upside, and commitment Samaje Perine (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) is a member of the ESPN 300. But the Sooners need to add another quality runner into the mix. Oakley (Calif.) Freedom running back Joe Mixon, No. 72 in the ESPN300, would be an outstanding addition to this class.

Receiver: Even though the Sooners seem to have some solid youngsters already on campus, they don't have a proven game-breaking receiver outside of Sterling Shepard returning in 2014. But, and this is critical, they can't just use a scholarship to bring in another guy. With Tulsa (Okla.) Union receiver Jeffery Mead and La Mirada (Calif.) receiver Dallis Todd already committed, receivers coach Jay Norvell should think elite receiver or bust. Norvell should join Mike Stoops in doing whatever it takes to land Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif/Central East), then fight for him to end up on the offensive side of the ball.
It was only revealed after his commitment just how much ESPN 300 quarterback Cody Thomas wanted to be Oklahoma’s quarterback.

Pretty quiet during his recruitment, Thomas came clean after he committed about how he made sure OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel didn’t forget about him.

Thomas is also an accomplished baseball player and was drafted in the 30th round of the MLB draft by the New York Yankees in June. But it’s not pro baseball that is his calling -- he wants to play football and baseball for the Sooners.

[+] EnlargeCody Thomas
Bob Przybylo/ESPN.comFour-star quarterback Cody Thomas will wear No. 14 with the Sooners, following in the footsteps of Sam Bradford and Josh Heupel.
Prior to his arrival on campus, Thomas talked to SoonerNation one more time to discuss his hectic schedule.

SoonerNation: Who is your roommate going to be?

Cody Thomas: Jordan Smallwood.

SN: How did that all come about? I know you thought you would be with Matt Dimon.

Thomas: Yeah, I was going to room with Dimon. He talked me and said he wanted to room with one of the other guys from Houston, Christian Daimler, that they had been working out together. It wasn’t a big deal to me. It was just a last-minute thing. It’s fine.

SN: What jersey are you looking to wear?

Thomas: I’m going to wear No. 14. It’s what I wore when I was a freshman in high school. I’m happy with it.

SN: Who is a player on the team right now that you’ve been talking to the most?

Thomas: Quarterback Trevor Knight is somebody I’ve really gotten to know a lot better here in recent months. We really clicked on my visit. His advice for me is to not be intimidated. It might look overwhelming, but just be who you are and things will take care of themselves.

SN: When did you know in your heart OU was the place for you?

Thomas: At that spring practice. That’s all it really took. When I went up there, I loved it so much. I didn’t need to see a game or anything like that. I was already hooked.

SN: When you leave OU, what do you want your legacy to be?

Thomas: Simple: The greatest that ever came through the program. That’s my goal -- to be the best quarterback the school has ever had.

SN: I know you had baseball during the spring, but were you able to work on anything in terms of football?

Thomas: I was. I concentrated a lot on my strength, and Coach [Josh] Heupel gave me a lot of things to look at in terms of learning more about my position.

SN: You were at the spring game. Did you get a chance to talk with ESPN 150 quarterback and OU commit Justice Hansen?

Thomas: I did. He looks good. Definitely happy to have him. My advice for him was he’s going into his senior season so he needs to enjoy it. It goes by quick, real quick.

SN: How tough has it been to juggle baseball and football for as long as you have?

Thomas: It hasn’t really been that overwhelming. It’s just something I’m used to doing. Baseball wasn’t that stressful because you never know what the Major League teams are thinking. OU isn’t stressful because I’ve had the full support of Coach Heupel and Coach [Bob] Stoops and Coach [Sunny] Golloway (Note: This interview was conducted before Golloway left OU for Auburn). If they didn’t have my back, it could have been tough. But they’ve been great the whole time.
NORMAN, Okla. -- When he signed with Oklahoma last February, offensive tackle Christian Daimler drew comparisons to departed Sooner Lane Johnson, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. A raw yet athletic offensive lineman, Daimler probably won’t make an immediate impact for the Sooners. But he could end up being one of the hidden gems of the Class of 2013.

Before he arrived on campus earlier this month, Daimler talked with SoonerNation about his potential role, what he wants to improve and being compared to Johnson.

SoonerNation: How have things been going since signing day?

[+] EnlargeChristian Daimler
Sam Khan Jr./ESPN.comOffensive tackle Christian Daimler has drawn comparisons to first-round pick Lane Johnson.
Christian Daimler: Everything has been going fine. I’m just spending a lot of time in the weight room to get where I need to be.

SN: Is there anything in particular you’ve been focusing on?

Daimler: I’ve worked a lot on my legs, a lot on my core. My overall body strength was something I really needed to work on. I’ve been hitting the weight room really hard to improve my body strength and be able to compete with everybody.

SN: Do you know who will be your roommate?

Daimler: I’ll be rooming with Matt Dimon.

SN: What have the coaches told you about your potential role this fall?

Daimler: I’m going to go into fall camp, compete with everyone else and see how things go. We’ll decide after fall camp whether I’m going to redshirt. It will be a good possibility that I do, though. If that’s the deal, I’ll work as hard as I can to do whatever I can to help the team and hopefully win a national championship.

SN: What’s it been like with the coaching changes and Coach [Bill] Bedenbaugh coming in?

Daimler: It hasn’t been too drastic. Obviously not having [former offensive line] Coach [James] Patton there has been a little weird since he recruited me but Coach Bedenbaugh has been awesome. I kind of like how it’s going to be just one offensive line coach. I’m really looking forward to being with the entire offensive line and one offensive line coach.

SN: Was it frustrating to have things change in the middle of the recruiting process?

Daimler: It wasn’t real frustrating. I’d built a relationship with Coach [Bruce] Kittle and Coach Patton, and it was real odd right after I signed for them to be gone. But I’d built such a good relationship with so many other coaches on the coaching staff it wasn’t too drastic. I still felt Oklahoma was the place I wanted to be.

SN: What are you most excited about?

Daimler: Getting together with a team, building that bond that a team has and getting to know the older guys, though I know some already.

SN: What have you been told about summer workouts?

Daimler: I’ve been told, whatever I’m expecting, don’t be shocked if it’s worse. It’s going to be really tough and push you until you can’t push anymore. But they’re just doing it so you can be as good as you can and because you have potential. I know whatever they do is going to be what’s best for me so I’m going to work as hard as I can to do what they want me to do.

SN: When the coaches talked about you, they tended to bring up Lane Johnson. What was that like to be compared to him?

Daimler: That was pretty cool. I never got to meet Lane but watching his film, I can definitely see my name comparing to him and that’s a guy I can mold myself after to try to get to where he is. He’s put in a lot of hard work, and I’m willing to do the same to get to where he is.

SN: When you leave OU, what do you want your legacy to be?

Daimler: I want to be one of those offensive linemen from OU that everybody remembers. They’ve had such an awesome tradition with offensive tackles. I want to leave my mark and hopefully, one day, be able to continue on to the NFL. That’s my goal, and I’m going to do whatever possible to get to that. I want people to look back and say, 'That was a really good offensive lineman.'
There weren’t many defensive players in Oklahoma incoming’s recruiting class more productive in high school than defensive end Matt Dimon. The Katy, Texas, native recorded 55 tackles, 12 sacks and forced six fumbles for Katy High, which captured the Class 5A Texas state championship.

Dimon, who was ranked No. 284 in the ESPN 300, checked in with SoonerNation recently as he prepared to arrive in Norman for summer workouts:

[+] EnlargeMatt Dimon
Max Olson/ESPN.comESPN 300 defensive end Matt Dimon said he knew OU was the place for him after the Red-White spring game in 2012.
SoonerNation: What jersey will you be wearing?

Matt Dimon: 90. That’s what was available.

SN: Who is your roommate going to be?

Dimon: Christian Daimler. He lives just down the road here in Houston. So that worked out real well.

SN: Have the coaches talked with you about your potential role this fall?

Dimon: No, they just said they expect me to work my hardest. If I do that, everything will work out. I could get an opportunity; if not, I’ll just learn from the guys in front of me.

SN: There were discussions before the spring about OU possibly going to a 3-4 defense. Did the coaches talk to you at all about that?

Dimon: We did talk about the 3-4 before spring ball. I went over the defense with one of the coaches. Once spring ball started, the talk just disappeared. I don’t know what happened, I guess it didn’t work out. I’m comfortable with running any defense. It’s not like we had a bad defense. We had a really good first half, then the second half was not so good, but we also played some really good offenses. The 4-3 will work if we can just tweak it a bit.

SN: What are you most excited about coming to OU?

Dimon: I don’t really have one thing. It’s going to be a whole experience, a whole new lifestyle. Get to meet new friends, get to work my butt off for a great program. Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to play in a great bowl or a national championship.

SN: What are you planning to get your degree in?

Dimon: Not sure yet. Maybe energy management or business or something.

SN: When did you know OU was the place for you?

Dimon: I went up there for the spring game (in 2012). I went to Baylor’s spring game before, and OU’s facilities were just -- this is personally my opinion, 20 times better than Baylor’s. Everything is just so prestigious at OU, I just really, really liked it. I told my dad I was going to commit soon after that spring game. And I did. I loved it up there.

SN: The game you’re most looking forward to playing in?

Dimon: Probably the Notre Dame game. My family is from Chicago, so I’ll get to see them and stuff. But the Texas game is always crazy. I’m really excited about every game.

SN: What OU player did you like watching most last season?

Dimon: I was a Landry Jones fan. I liked the way he threw the ball around. I thought he was a leader. Liked the way Tony Jefferson played. Thought his pursuit angles, his tackling ability were bar none.

SN: Were you surprised Jefferson didn’t get drafted?

Dimon: I was surprised. I felt for him. It’s a bummer to leave early and not get drafted. I’m sure he’s going to use that as motivation. I would. That should drive him.

SN: What goals do you have at OU?

Dimon: First and foremost want to get a degree. I want to go in there and win football games. I could really care less about personal stats or what happens to me. I just want to win. That’s why you play the game, to win. I hope that we can work hard as a unit, and accomplish what we set to accomplish.
Every Friday, SoonerNation releases the Sooner Intel, a sneak peek inside Oklahoma Sooners football recruiting with news and notes on the latest happenings around the program. Talk about it on our forum. A few things discussed in this week's update:

  • OU's top running back target is trying to make it to Norman soon
  • Texas running back has OU and Alabama on top
  • Have the Sooners contacted an in-state tailback?
  • Offensive line signees get acquainted with their new coach
  • There's no pressure on one legacy on being a Sooner
  • Elite Texas wideout wants to make it to OU junior day
  • In-state receiver is staying patient with the process

Read the Sooner Intel after the jump.

Roundtable: OU's priority in 2014 

February, 14, 2013
Every Thursday, the SoonerNation staff will answer a roundtable question about OU football. Leave a comment or talk about it in our "There's Only One" forum.

Which position should be the Sooners' priority for the Class of 2014?

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OU signee unfazed by coaching move 

February, 11, 2013
Oklahoma didn’t sign any interior offensive linemen for its 2013 recruiting class, so the departure of former line coach to James Patton to Indiana on Monday didn’t resonate in a huge way among incoming recruits.

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Four-star CB Moore salvages OU's day 

February, 6, 2013
Four-star cornerback L.J. Moore (Fresno, Calif./Central East) was never the No. 1 target on Oklahoma’s board. And he was never the No. 1 favorite among Sooners fans.

But a little after 5 p.m. CT, Moore saved the Sooners day by signing with OU.

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SoonerNation signing day live blog

February, 6, 2013
Dakota AustinDamon Sayles/ESPNCornerback Dakota Austin committed to the Sooners over the weekend and signed on Wednesday.
Welcome to SoonerNation's live coverage of national signing day for the Oklahoma Sooners. We'll be with you throughout the day providing up-to-the minute updates on OU's class of 2013.

Watch live coverage on ESPNU | Talk signing day on our SoonerNation forum Insider | OU class

Follow the live blog after the jump.

(Read full post)

Each week SoonerNation recruiting writers Bob Przybylo and Brandon Chatmon will face off on one issue regarding Oklahoma recruiting.

This week’s question: OU has some work to do to close out its 2013 class, and some of it might not have a fix with this year’s cycle. Where have the Sooners made the most mistakes in 2013 recruiting?

Bob Przybylo: Offensive tackles coach Bruce Kittle cannot catch a break. He has put the Sooners in great position for several top prospects only to see every single one of them commit to other schools here down the stretch. But his inability to seal the deal is worrisome because it was the exact same scenario for the 2012 class when looking at names like Zach Banner. Four-star offensive tackle Aaron Cochran (Atwater, Calif./Buhach) is the latest to have OU in the mix but ended up committing to California. Kittle has a unique life story that appeals to recruits and their families, but it has yet to really garner the positive results on the trail needed for the Sooners at the position.

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OU surviving poaching season ... for now 

January, 21, 2013
Oklahoma is making a living out of flipping commitments for its 2013 class. The Sooners have done it five times out of their 20 commits.

And while OU coach Bob Stoops has been busy trying to get others to reconsider where they stand, other schools are making hard charges at some of Stoops’ prized recruits.

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Sooner Intel: Recruiting news and notes 

January, 17, 2013
Every Thursday, SoonerNation releases the Sooner Intel, a sneak peek inside Oklahoma Sooners football recruiting with news and notes on the latest happenings around the program. Talk about it on our forum. A few things discussed in this week's update:

  • The Sooners are right back in the mix with a four-star cornerback
  • One target is headed to a junior college
  • New receiver commit gets to know his position coach on official visit
  • New defensive tackle commits talks official visit, how he and his host bonded
  • Breaking down Oklahoma's search for two more offensive tackles
  • The Sooners have offered a new defensive tackle

Read the Sooner Intel after the jump.

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Stoops, Players Want To Effect Change
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops sits down with Gene Wojciechowski to discuss his team's stand against racism.