The college football season is moving quickly as, amazingly, the Oklahoma Sooners have already played a quarter of their regular season schedule.
Through three games, OU has picked up three blowout wins against three teams that are not very good. That being said, they’ve done what they are supposed to do when playing an inferior opponent: dominate.
Today we take all 22 positions for the Oklahoma Sooners on offense and defense (sorry special teams) and give them a grade for their first three times out.
Why don’t we go ahead and start at the top with the offense:
Quarterback: A+ (Jalen Hurts, Tanner Mordecai, Spencer Rattler)
Not sure what else you could want from Jalen Hurts in the first three games of the season, the man has more touchdowns (13) than incompletions (12).
He is currently the front runner for the Heisman or at the very least second behind Tua Tagovailoa, he’s been tremendous in nearly every aspect.
Pair that with the good things we’ve seen from Tanner Mordecai and Spencer Rattler’s touchdown drive in the South Dakota game, this is an obvious A+.
Running Back: B+ (Trey Sermon, Kennedy Brooks, Rhamondre Stevenson)
The running backs so far have been pretty good, but not amazing.
Jalen Hurts is the team’s leading rusher with 373 yards on the ground, the next closest is Trey Sermon at 198. That probably isn’t how Lincoln Riley and company would prefer it to be for too much longer.
Sermon has made good plays, Kennedy Brooks has as well, but the highlight of the running backs has been Rhamondre Stevenson, who has had some sparkling runs and could be a bigger contributor as the season goes on.
Wide Receiver #1: A- (CeeDee Lamb)
Limiting the grading to just the top 2 receivers, CeeDee Lamb has had a nice start to the season. So far in 2019, Lamb has nine catches for 229 yards and three touchdowns.
The three scores are what bumps him up from a B+ to an A-, for while Lamb has made some great plays, he feels like he probably should be averaging more than three catches per game so far considering the competition Oklahoma has faced.
He’s been good, and surely will continue to improve as his and Hurts’ chemistry grows.
Wide Receiver #2: A+ (Charleston Rambo)
Charleston Rambo has been a revelation. He leads the team in catches (11), receiving yards (251), and receiving touchdowns (4).
He has shown to be a legit #2 receiver behind CeeDee Lamb and a perfect compliment to Lamb with his big play ability.
Sooner fans have to be very happy with how Rambo has stepped up after a lot was expected of him coming into the season with this young receiving corp.
Fullback/H-Back: A- (Jeremiah Hall)
Pretty much anything you get offensively from Jeremiah Hall is gravy, and he’s given Oklahoma two touchdowns early in the season in his five catches.
Any game where Hall makes a meaningful offensive play, like a touchdown, that is a huge win for the offense.
He’s done that twice so far, so he gets an A-.
Tight End: C (Grant Calcaterra)
Grant Calcaterra is a talented player, but his 2019 has been extremely disappointing so far.
Just four catches for 60 yards and no touchdowns is not what anyone expected out of the big man from California and Oklahoma is probably going to need him to step up as they move into Big 12 play.
Left Tackle: B+ (Erik Swenson, RJ Proctor)
It’s a little difficult to grade each offensive lineman position individually but here we go.
Swenson has done a nice job so far, as has everyone on the offensive line, but he has picked up a handful of holding penalites in the early going that keep him from getting up to an A. Proctor started the season as the man at Left Tackle but slid over after Marquis Hayes’ injury problems.
Left Guard: A- (Marquis Hayes, RJ Proctor)
As mentioned, Hayes started the season out as the starting man but injuries have allowed Proctor to slide into the role more in the South Dakota and UCLA games.
Proctor has been the name you haven’t heard as much, because has hasn’t been picking up penalties. When the offensive line has mostly dominated and only allowed two sacks, staying away from holding penalties is the really the only thing they need to worry about and Proctor has done that thus far.
Center: A+ (Creed Humphrey)
Creed Humphrey is a monster and everyone knows that.
He is a bonafide NFL talent and has pretty much dominated the first three games of the season and likely will continue to all season long.
Right Guard: B+ (Tyrese Robinson)
Tyrese Robinson has been pretty good but has picked up a couple holding calls, namely in the UCLA game.
He’s been strong overall and probably would have gotten an A after the first two games, but a few bad penalties in Pasadena knock him down just a touch.
Right Tackle: B+ (Adrian Ealy)
Again, the offensive line has been really good, so it’s nitpicking to focus on the few penalites there has been.
That being said, staying away from holding calls and other yellow hankies is important, even when the offense is as good as it is. Ealy has picked up some flags similar to Robinson and Swenson, and that is why he is dipped down just a tiny bit.
Also, for what it’s worth, if the entire line was to be graded as one unit, it would undoubtedly get an A or an A+.
Now to the Defense:
Defensive End: A- (Ronnie Perkins)
Ronnie Perkins has been good, and is going to be a very special football player before his time at Oklahoma is done.
Perkins has picked up nine total tackles including a sack and has just generally been a force out there getting pressure on the quarterback and helping the defensive line that is off to a pretty good start all around.
Nose Guard: B (Neville Gallimore, Marquise Overton)
Neville Gallimore has been solid as the starting nose guard, picking up a couple tackles for loss this season including one sack.
Marquise Overton is an interesting player who has made some very nice plays this season, most notably catching running backs from behind before a play gets into the secondary. That “Speed D” that Alex Grinch has preached about shows up in a big way when Overton makes plays like that.
Defensive Tackle: A- (Jalen Redmond, LaRon Stokes)
Stokes and Redmond were given the “Or” treatment at the initial depth chart release ahead of the Houston season opener, as Lincoln Riley wasn’t ready to name a full blown starter.
Stokes has done some nice things, but Jalen Redmond has been one of the biggest pleasant surprises on maybe the entire team. Redmond has picked up eight tackles, which is solid, but what stands is out is 4.5 tackles for loss AND two sacks.
Mike Linebacker: A+ (Kenneth Murray)
Kenneth Murray looks like a man possessed out there. He is flying around everywhere.
Murray has a truly ridiculous 22 total tackles which leads the team by a wide margin. It only took a couple series into the Houston game to see that Murray is a changed player and much improved, which isn’t to say that he even had a poor year in 2018 because he certainly didn’t being one of the lone bright spots on the defense a year ago. Murray has shown everyone why he was named Preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and his name should receive some NFL buzz.
Will Linebacker: B+ (DaShaun White, Ryan Jones)
DaShaun White and Ryan Jones have both pretty solid with White being the slighlty bigger standout of the two so far.
White has seven total tackles including a sack with Jones providing five tackles while also adding an interception. Like Redmond and Stokes, a starter was not named between these two at the beginning of the season, but it appears that White probably should be the guy getting the bulk of the reps for the time being with Jones hot on his trail.
Rush Linebacker: B+ (Nik Bonitto, Jon-Michael Terry)
Nik Bonitto has been a breakout player for Alex Grinch’s defense. He is seventh on the team in tackles with nine picked up in the first three games, also adding a sack.
Terry has done some nice things as well, posting six total tackles of his own with one of them being for a loss of yards.
Cornerback #1: C+ (Tre Brown, Jordan Parker)
Sooner fans expected a little more out of Tre Brown. He hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been especially good either.
He hasn’t made many big plays yet, although he does have an interception under his belt, and he has had some really rough missed tackles in open space. Grinch is going to need him to play a little better down the stretch.
Parker hasn’t made too much of an impact in the limited time he has played but he does have just one less tackle than Brown despite playing far fewer snaps, which may be an indictment on Brown more than anything.
Strong Safety: B (Delarrin Turner-Yell, Robert Barnes)
The Oklahoma secondary on the whole has been okay, sitting currently 53rd in the nation in pass yards allowed per game at just a hair over 200 yards.
Turner-Yell has made some nice plays, having made 11 tackles which is third most on the team, but has just one pass deflection and nothing in the way of turnovers.
Robert Barnes has had limited time but been solid in his reps as well. Alex Grinch preaches the importance of turnovers, if Turner-Yell or Barnes can force some the grade for this position will rise.
Free Safety: B- (Pat Fields, Justin Broiles)
Pat Fields is an enigma. On one hand, he has 13 tackles which is the most on the team behind the beast that is Kenneth Murray.
On the other hand, he has some really bad personal fouls called against him and has done absolutely nothing in the way of pass defense: no deflections, no interceptions, no anything. He is hard to figure out what he is going to be and is going to be one of the more interesting Sooners to watch going forward.
Justin Broiles has done a decent job making an impact in his playing time, adding six tackles and a pass deflection to his resume.
Cornerback #2: A (Parnell Motley, Jaden Davis)
Say what you want about Parnell Motley, but the man has been pretty good in 2019.
He leads the team in pass deflections (4) and according to Pro Football Focus, going into Week 4 (so the numbers may have changed) no cornerback in all of college football had allowed fewer yards per cover snap. He has had a nice start to his year.
But what really puts this position grade over the top to an A is the play of freshman Jaden Davis. Lincoln Riley and Grinch may have a serious ballplayer on their hands here. Davis has 10 (!) tackles and an interception this season. He also had another interception that he took back for six get called back because of an offside penalty. He has basically been what Riley had hoped Tre Brown would be, and it has to be very encouraging to see a young defensive player making plays like he has.
Nickelback: A- (Brendan Radley-Hiles)
It has been a bounce back year thus far for Bookie.
He has ten total tackles, one of which being for a loss, and a pick six he picked up in the South Dakota game. He has had a very encouraging start to his season, which is so huge for Grinch and the defense. They need Bookie to be a great player, and he is off to a good start in 2019.
We’ll see if the Sooners can make these grades go up as they have their Big 12 opener this weekend in Norman as they host the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Gaylord Family- Oklahoma Memorial Stadium at 11:00 on FOX.