Oklahoma No. 4 in On3’s post-spring Big 12 power rankings

The Oklahoma Sooners have worked to improve the roster after their 6-7 season. What Brent Venables and his staff have done to add talent on both sides of the ball has created a sense of optimism despite the results in 2022.

In On3’s post-spring rankings. Texas, Kansas State, and TCU are ahead of Oklahoma, who comes in at No. 4.

Jesse Simonton has the Sooners at No. 4 because of the question marks Oklahoma is dealing with heading into the summer.

Unlike the Longhorns though, Brent Venables’ team has a few more question marks entering the fall. They do bring back QB Dillon Gabriel, and have a great insurance option in 5-star freshman Jackson Arnold. But are a young group of receivers ready to step up?

Has Venables & Co., fixed a defense that was a sieve in 2022 is the biggest uncertainty. The Sooners did sign a Top 5 recruiting class, with several freshmen pieces like 5-star safety Peyton Bowen expected to contribute early. They also added multiple likely starters via the portal, headlined by Indiana Freshman All-American Dasan McCullough — a Swiss Army hybrid linebacker/safety. – Simonton, On3 Sports

Simonton isn’t as confident in what the Sooners can do to answer some of the questions they have coming into the season. Still, the talent that Oklahoma has brought in is intriguing.

Dillon Gabriel should be one of the best quarterbacks in the country next season, but there are some questions at wide receiver in addition to the offensive line, where health was a major issue this spring. A lot of the intrigue comes from what the Sooners can do on defense now, with more time for Brent Venables to get things right talent-wise and returning players becoming more acclimated in the system.

TCU coming in ahead of the Sooners makes sense from a certain point of view. After that miracle run last year, the team is undergoing a massive makeover with eight players headed to the NFL, including Max Duggan, Quentin Johnston, and Kendre Miller. Still, Sonny Dykes brings back a good amount from last year and brought in a big transfer portal class.

Kansas State ranked ahead of Oklahoma is a bit of a head-scratcher. They’re also a team with a few question marks. They had a strong transfer portal haul, especially on defense, and will have some good quarterback stability with Will Howard. But the losses of Deuce Vaughn and Felix Anudike-Uzomah will be felt in Manhattan.

Many are projecting Texas to take a giant leap forward this year. They’re loaded on the offensive line, at tight end, and at receiver and will get a healthy Quinn Ewers back at quarterback. The defense also brings back six starters and should be improved.

It will be interesting to see how these rankings shape out once the season starts because the top four teams should be set. A program like Texas Tech will have something to say along the way as one of the dark horses in the Big 12.

For Oklahoma, they need the defense to be significantly better than it was in 2022 in order to contend for the Big 12 in their final season. The Sooners have dominated the conference but haven’t won the Big 12 title since 2020. With everything that’s gone on since the Sooners beat Iowa State in the Big 12 title game and Florida in the Cotton Bowl, 2020 feels like forever ago.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire


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