The Oklahoma Sooners won another Big 12 title in 2016, while finishing at No. 5 in the final AP Poll. And based on the volume of elite talent returning to Norman in 2017, another run at the College Football Playoff should be expected next season.
Here’s a look at some of our stats on the Sooners’ top returning talent:
QB Baker Mayfield
For the second straight year, Mayfield was one of the most efficient passing quarterbacks when facing pressure. He completed 57.9 percent of his passes under pressure, with an average of 11.5 yards per attempt. Mayfield loses his go-to weapon (Dede Westbrook) for the second straight year, but his ability to create plays should continue to work with the remaining receivers on the Sooners’ depth chart.
LT Orlando Brown
After a shaky sophomore year in which he allowed eight sacks, Brown bounced back with a dominant performance. In 390 snaps in pass protection, Brown allowed just seven QB pressures and zero sacks. He’s poised to enter 2017 as one of the nation’s elite offensive linemen.
DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
Oklahoma didn’t have dominant pass-rush this past season, ranking 71st in the nation with just 25 sacks. But Okoronkwo certainly did his part. Okoronkwo generated 50 quarterback pressures, including 10 sacks. He was essentially a one-man wrecking crew on the Sooners defensive line.
CB Jordan Thomas
After entering the season with high expectations, Thomas’ 2016 season was a disaster. He allowed 831 yards and seven touchdowns, and was routinely dominated by the top receivers he went up against. But there’s still plenty of reason to be hopeful for Thomas’ development in 2017. LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White had a similarly disappointing junior year, but bounced back with a dominant season in 2016 and reestablished himself as a top draft prospect. Sooners fans should hope for a similar bounce-back campaign from Thomas.