Oklahoma Sooners: Kyle Marrs

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.

Crimson Countdown: OL Kyle Marrs 

June, 26, 2013
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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. 78 Kyle Marrs
Guard, 6-foot-5, 300 pounds, redshirt freshman


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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Freshman update: OL Kyle Marrs 

January, 17, 2013
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Oklahoma could use some young depth along its offensive interior. Its 2013 interior offensive line looks strong but the situation at guard after the upcoming season is layered with question marks.

The Sooners are hoping redshirting freshman Kyle Marrs can develop into an anchor at guard. A high school tackle, Marrs has spent the past five months making the transition to the offensive interior.


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Three-star commit comfortable with OU 

January, 13, 2013
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There was a different feeling for three-star offensive tackle Christian Daimler (Houston/Stratford) walking around the Oklahoma campus this weekend.

It wasn’t his first time, but it was a much better time. Daimler made an unofficial visit with his father during the summer where Daimler admitted he fell in love with the Sooners.


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Oklahoma redshirt plan coming into focus 

September, 11, 2012
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NORMAN, Okla. -- Through two games, the Sooners have played nine true freshmen: wide receivers Trey Metoyer, Sterling Shepard and Durron Neal, tight end Taylor McNamara, center Ty Darlington, defensive ends Mike Onuoha and Charles Tapper, linebacker Eric Striker and cornerback Gary Simon. With the cupcake portion of the schedule over and one with, it appears the rest of the true freshmen will redshirt this season.

SoonerNation breaks down the rest of the freshman class, from those most likely to least likely to make an impact in 2013:

[+] EnlargeTrey Metoyer
Richard Rowe/US PresswireReceiver Trey Metoyer is one of nine true freshmen who have played this season for the Sooners.
1. Alex Ross, running back: The Sooners could have an opening in the backfield for Ross with Dominique Whaley due to graduate. Damien Williams figures to be projected starter, and then there’s Brennan Clay and Roy Finch. But Ross nearly avoided this redshirt this season with an even more crowded backfield. Ross’ future is bright.

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Chat wrap: Transfer receiver standing out

August, 14, 2012
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SoonerNation writer Jake Trotter chatted with readers on Monday about Oklahoma football and recruiting. Here's the full transcript. If you didn't get your question answered, send it to the SoonerNation mailbag.

Here are a few highlights from the chat:

Jay (Wichita): What is the word on Jalen Saunders? Why is he getting so many reps, do the coaches have information that he will be cleared to play?

Jake Trotter: Two pretty good sources told us on Sunday that Saunders had NOT yet heard back from the NCAA on his waiver request. The coaches obviously feel decent about his chances, else they wouldn't be playing him on the second team. But no official word yet. Could come any day now.

Billy Joe Bob (Enid): If called into action, will Ty Darlington, Derek Farniok, Nila Kasitati, Kyle Marrs, and Nathan Hughes be able to play at a high level?

Jake Trotter: The second team offensive line is a concern now. Nila Kasitati is practicing, but only a couple weeks from having a heart procedure. OU's other most experienced interior reserve, Austin Woods, is going through chemo. Darlington could emerge as Gabe Ikard's backup at center -- he's gotten some 2nd team reps there. Don't see Farniok, Marrs or Hughes being a factor this season.

Brett (RI): Any word on how the tight ends are looking this year and how they will factor into the offense?

Jake Trotter: They're going to really on Brannon Green to be this year's Brody Eldridge. He's not going to be a big factor in the passing game, but they'll ask him to run block a lot. I expect Trey Millard to get time at tight end in one-back sets. Taylor McNamara could add a catch here or there.

Dig (Doug): How big of a game is the Texas Tech game this year?

Jake Trotter: Big in the sense that's it a dangerous game. OU has never played well in Lubbock, and Tech has to feel confident coming of its win last season. It's also the week before Texas. I would like Tech's chances a lot more, though, if they hadn't beaten OU last season. Sooners should be focused for this one.

Oklahoma’s recruiting class is quickly rounding into shape as the Sooners continue to address critical needs for the class of 2013.

Offensive tackle Matt Beyer (San Antonio/Reagan) picked the Sooners over Oregon, Oklahoma State, Baylor and others on Monday. He becomes OU’s 12th commitment and second tackle of the class.

A former teammate of current Sooners Trevor and Connor Knight, Beyer has an 80 rating according to ESPN’s Scout’s Inc. and should bring the ability to block in space, toughness and a nasty streak when he signs with OU.


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The deepest position on Oklahoma’s team is not wide receiver, quarterback or linebacker. It’s the interior of the offensive line.

[+] EnlargeBen Habern
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesOklahoma center Ben Habern is sitting out the spring with a neck injury.
What Oklahoma has: The Sooners possess an embarrassment of riches at guard and center. Ben Habern is a three-year starter at center. Gabe Ikard, who can play guard or center, has started the last two seasons. Senior-to be Tyler Evans has been starting at right guard since his freshman year, and he’ll have to play well to fend off Adam Shead, who might be the best run blocker on the entire team.

Bronson Irwin and Nila Kasitati could start for a lot of teams in the Big 12, and make the position even deeper.

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Offensive line coach James Patton weighs in on Oklahoma’s offensive lineman signing class:

• G John Michael McGee: “John Michael McGee is a freak athletically. He’s not as big as Trent Williams, but in terms of a linemen who can move and bend and has quickness and agility – we saw him on tape and they threw a tackle screen to him and he walked in for a touchdown. He can probably play tight end. He’s just 6-3 and 265 pounds right now. He’s going to need to get his weight and strength up, but in terms of his athleticism, he can do a lot of different things for us.”

• C Ty Darlington: “He was number one in his class, he’s been coached by his dad at Opapka High School, he’ll be the Valedictorian of his class. He’s a great kid with toughness, he’s a leader and I can say enough about him. He’s a kid in the same mold as Ben Habern and Jon Cooper and those guys. He’s a quick-thinking guy. His mom was a cheerleader here and they were a Midwest City family and he grew up watching Sooner football for a long time.”

• OT/G Kyle Marrs: “Kyle’s a big, right tackle. He’s 6-6, 300 pounds and he looks great. I saw him last week. He’s a physical run-blocking guy. He probably is in the same mold of Bronson Irwin who played tackle in high school. He’ll probably be a good guard on the inside.”

• OT Will Latu: “Physically he’s a big, wide guy. He fills up half of this door here. He’s just a big-shouldered, wide, with a big back, arms, hands – he’s got a thick lower body.”

• On the offensive ine class as a whole: “We lost two with Stephen (Good) and Donald (Stephenson). We get two more (than that) coming in, and you know how it is with line play. We can be thin, but other guys can play other positions. If a guy gets hurt the next guys steps in. In next year’s class we’ll lose Habern, we’ll lose Tyler Evans, we’ll lose Lane Johnson. So these guys coming in that will probably redshirt – maybe Latu has the best chance to play early – those other three will get a chance to redshirt and develop.”
You can’t win them all, but Oklahoma is faring well here down the stretch to national signing day. The Sooners failed to land ESPNU 150 offensive tackle Zach Banner (Lakewood, Wash./Lakes) on Monday, but it’s not doom-and-gloom as OU was able to get junior college tackle Will Latu (St. Petersburg, Fla./College of the Canyons) on Sunday.

Banner chose USC over the Sooners and Washington on Monday afternoon at a ceremony at his high school. Banner had an official visit to OU in September that went as good as it possibly could have. However, an official visit to USC last weekend put the Trojans in the driver’s seat.

[+] EnlargeZach Banner
John Albright/Icon SMIOffensive tackle Zach Banner chose USC over Washington and Oklahoma on Monday.
Banner was so confident about things that he canceled in-home visits last week because he knew where he was going.

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Analysis: Secondary now a major need 

January, 23, 2012
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The loss of cornerback Kevin Peterson (Wagoner, Okla./Wagoner) on Monday night means one thing for Oklahoma’s 2012 cornerbacks: they’re going to be Mike Stoops’ kids.

In the last two weeks, the two high school cornerbacks that committed when former defensive backs coach Willie Martinez was at OU have left the program.

The other cornerback, junior college signee Kass Everett (Philadelphia/Pierce College), didn’t have a choice in the matter but said he is ready to see what Mike Stoops brings to the table.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Beaver
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comCornerback Brandon Beaver is one of five defensive backs the Sooners are looking at for the class of 2012.
Peterson and four-star cornerback De’Vante Harris (Mesquite, Texas/Horn) did have a choice and both decided to look elsewhere. Harris committed to Texas A&M last week, while Peterson switched to Oklahoma State on Monday night.

Harris had a tight bond with Martinez, and though at the time it was incredibly shocking, the move has started to make more sense in the last week.

The hope with Peterson, though, was that his familiarity with Mike Stoops was going to keep Peterson solid with the Sooners even though Brent Venables had left to become the defensive coordinator at Clemson.

Stoops had offered Peterson when Stoops was coaching at Arizona, but Peterson said the relationship wasn’t that tight.

“We had talked before, but I never really had that type of relationship with Coach [Mike] Stoops," Peterson said." I definitely didn’t have that relationship with Stoops that I had with Coach Martinez.”

Since taking over, Mike Stoops has hit the ground running in trying to find defensive backs. Cornerbacks were a need before Peterson leaving, and now they’re even a bigger priority.

OU is looking at five cornerbacks at the moment though that could change as the week progresses:

Colin Blake (San Antonio/Brandeis): Blake officially de-committed from Texas A&M on Saturday during his official visit to TCU.

Blake visited OU on Dec. 16 and also took a trip to Florida State on Jan. 13. For a while, it has appeared that it’s a three-team race between the Sooners, Horned Frogs and Seminoles.

One bonus for OU is the fact teammate Kyle Marrs was the first commit to OU in the 2012 class. Blake, 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, is a three-star prospect.

Brandon Beaver (Compton, Calif./Dominguez): Funny how things work out as it was Harris that got the ball rolling for Beaver to start getting looked at by the Sooners. Beaver was originally recruited by Venables but Mike Stoops has taken over.

A mis-communication between Beaver and OU didn’t allow Beaver to make an official visit to Norman, Okla., last weekend. Beaver intended to visit Arizona but said he is no longer going to do that. He hopes to visit OU this weekend.

Beaver got to know a lot of the OU commits at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and has been talking to them constantly on Twitter. At 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, he is a four-star prospect.

Kentrell Brice (Ruston, La./Ruston): Brice, an Oregon State commit, is a rather new name to be on the watch. OU thought enough of Brice for Bob Stoops to visit the school Monday although no official visit has been confirmed at this point.


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Blake de-commits from Texas A&M 

January, 21, 2012
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Three-star defensive back Colin Blake (San Antonio/Brandeis) has de-committed from Texas A&M, he announced on his Facebook page Saturday afternoon.

Blake, 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, committed to the Aggies in September but has been looking around ever since former coach Mike Sherman was fired in December.

“I will no longer be playing football at Texas A&M next year,” Blake said on his Facebook page. “I hope all the aggie fans and supporters out there can respect my decision and understand that it’s my life and I need to do what’s best for me. God bless.”

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Sooner Snapshot: OL Kyle Marrs

January, 18, 2012
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video As National Signing Day approaches on Feb. 1, Brandon Chatmon is breaking down every commitment and signee in the Sooners' 2012 recruiting class. View all of our profiles here.

Name: Kyle Marrs

Position: Offensive line

Height, Weight: 6-foot-6, 317 pounds

Hometown/School: San Antonio/Brandeis

Committed: Feb. 6, 2011

Scout grade: 79. Four-star prospect.

Scout rankings: No. 43 offensive tackle, No. 62 in the Midlands Region, No. 49 in Texas

Picked OU over: Stanford, Michigan, UCLA, Missouri, Notre Dame, SMU, Houston

(Read full post)

With less than a month until National Signing Day, Oklahoma’s prospects on offense look a lot better than on the defensive side of the ball. The Sooners have been able to nab several top targets and have one of the best offensive classes in the country.

But the search is still far from over as OU is still in play for a lot of top kids on their board.

Quarterback

Committed: Trevor Knight (San Antonio/Reagan). The Sooners cannot ask for a better signal-caller than Knight. Since switching his commitment from Texas A&M to OU in July, Knight has quickly and rightfully become a favorite among OU fans and fellow commits.


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