I love big words. I love debating philosophy and ideology. Politics, history, and religion. But I also love this game called football, and I would be remiss if I didn’t have some fun, dumb it down, and talk some ball from time to time as I reminisce on my quickly fading college football career.
That being said, what follows is a jumble of bests and worsts of my career at Oklahoma (2012-2015).
Best Players I Played Against
*I only included players I actually PLAYED against. Players that I watched from the sideline in 2013 and parts of 2012 are not included. Neither are skinny DBs.
- Vic Beasley-DE/OLB- Clemson- As the rest of the NFL found out this year, Beasley is a DAWG. He possesses the unique combination of speed and power that makes him incredibly dangerous as a pass rusher. He is an absolute physical specimen that jumps off the film.
- Andrew Billings- NG- Baylor– At a level of football where nearly every interior lineman can bench 400 pounds, it is not often that you encounter a brute whose strength is truly amazing. When you lock on with Billings, you immediately feel that he is much stronger than anyone else you have ever blocked. He started as a raw talent, but got better each year. I hope he gets healthy so he can excel in the NFL.
- Grady Jarrett- DT- Clemson- He’s that stubby defensive lineman that just took down Tom Brady three times in the Super Bowl. At 6 feet tall, he doesn’t look like much, but he has phenomenal hand usage, and he reads blocks exceptionally. The exact opposite of Billings, he beats you with technique, which I respect.
- AJ Johnson- LB- Tennessee- The predator. The guy looks the part, and he flies around to the ball. He was not the most technically or schematically sound, and he took a lot of chances to make plays, but he made up for it with freakish athletic ability. Once a projected first-round pick, his career was derailed after allegations of sexual assault.
- Jalen Reeves-Maybin- LB- Tennessee– He is not nearly as freakishly talented as Johnson, but he more than made up for it. Within the system, he was probably a more reliable and productive player. With a relentless motor and physical playing style, he made plays all over the field. In 2015, he recorded nearly 20 tackles against us, several of which prevented what would have been huge plays. He missed much of this year due to injury and is now preparing for the draft.
- Derek Barnett- DE- Tennessee- Just a great all-around football player. He started against us as a freshman, and he steadily progressed each year. If I would have played him this year (his last and best), he would be higher on the list).
- Ryan Mueller- DE- Kansas St– The poor man’s JJ Watt. This guy played harder than any other player I have ever witnessed. I distinctly remember watching him on tape in a play against Oklahoma St. JW Walsh ran a zone read. Mueller squeezed causing JW to pull the ball and run for about 15 yards. Mueller spun 360 degrees and pursued Walsh all the way down the field causing him to step out of bounds. Even though he had no chance of even touching JW, much less tackling him, he dove through the air and landed flat on his face. He gave everything he had on every play.
Honorable mention (guys I didn’t actually play in the games against)- Haha Clinton-Dix (Bama), CJ Mosley (Bama), Arthur Brown (K-State), Jason Verrett (TCU), Stephone Anthony (Clemson- was suspended for most of our game)
Most Overrated Players
- Shawn Oakman- DE- Baylor– I made this list with one man in mind. If it weren’t for Twitter memes, Oakman would’ve remained in relative obscurity where he belonged. He was very gifted, and the most physically imposing athlete that I have ever seen, but he was soft, incredibly lazy, and technically subpar. Even if he would not have gotten convicted, he would have never made it at the next level.
- Manti Te’o- LB- Notre Dame– Don’t get me wrong, Te’o was a very good player. But of all the players we played in my time in Norman, this is the one that was a Heisman finalist. He made a lot of tackles, but a lot of people didn’t realize that he made so many tackles because he was never blocked. Louie Nix, Stephon Tuitt, Sheldon Day, and Kapron Lewis-Moore were very good, and their occupation of double teams allowed Te’o to get recognition.
- Shaq Lawson- DE- Clemson– I remain adamant that Lawson was not nearly as impressive as he was made out to be. He might’ve been a better pass rusher, but Kevin Dodd (the other end) was a better all-around player. Lawson took a lot of plays off, and didn’t want to be physical unless he had to be.
4. Damontre Moore- DE- Texas A&M– When we played A&M in the Cotton Bowl, he was at the top of all the mock drafts. He had a lot of sacks, but statistics can be misleading. Most of his sacks came through protection errors, schematic mismatches, or sheer luck. His hips were incredibly tight, and we knew he wouldn’t live up to expectations as a pro.
The Best That Never Were
Sadly, there are a lot of teammates of mine that were insanely talented, yet they did not finish their careers as Sooners. They could have been household names. It’s crucial that the staff identifies potential at-risk athletes and invests in them early on to prevent these mistakes from being repeated year in and year out.
- Trey Metoyer- WR– The guy was incredible. 5XL gloves. His hands were disproportionate to his body. In a backyard football game, he was everyone’s first pick. But in an organized offense, he had trouble with the playbook, and then eventually was removed from the team after some trouble with the law (I’ll just leave it at that).
- Gary Simon- Corner– This guy was the next big thing. He walked into the Huff first week of freshman year and windmill dunked off a standing vertical…. IN FLIP FLOPS. He played some as a freshman, and everyone was convinced he would become a lockdown corner opposite Aaron Colvin as a sophomore. Then he went home after the bowl game and never came back.
- John Michael McGee- OG– A raw but gifted Army All-American that quit abruptly three days into fall camp.
- Mike Onuoha- DE– Longest. Arms. Ever. The former basketball player was just starting to tap into his potential as a football player when he was removed from the team.
- Michiah Quick- Corner– Highly rated recruit that played early on at wideout, then moved to corner this past year. He was just starting to takeoff when he suffered a knee injury versus Texas. A month later, he was removed from the team.
I’ll be back soon with more bests and worsts, including: games, bowl experiences, teammates, and opposing gameplans. Be sure to check ’em out!