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College Sports: Oklahoma recruiting report card: Sooners’ 2017 class balances stars with depth

With the early signing period upon us, here is the third in a four-part series examining Oklahoma’s last four draft classes. This is a look at Oklahoma’s 2017 class.

Best player in the class

Marquise Brown: Speedster Marquise Brown beats out fellow receiver CeeDee Lamb for this honor, but it’s close. This duo has proven to be among the most successful in Oklahoma history. But Brown gets the edge because of his breathtaking speed and how that changes the game week in and week out. Lamb will get his chance to shine in 2019 and could climb further up Oklahoma’s all-time receiving yardage leaders. Brown, meanwhile, is likely headed to the NFL.

Most surprising player in the class

Kenneth Murray: Linebacker Kenneth Murray has started every game of his Oklahoma career. He was thrust into action at MIKE linebacker — a position he had never played before — as a true freshman and survived. He took steps toward thriving in that role in 2018, and he could prove even more next season. All of this despite his three-star rating per 247Sports’ Composite rankings. Murray had other plenty of other offers, but Michigan and Texas were the only other blue bloods to give him a serious look.

Most disappointing player in the class

Levi Draper: Levi Draper entered the program at a time when Oklahoma was desperate for talent and depth at middle linebacker, and he still hasn’t been able to get on the field. He’s not even on the two-deep as the Sooners prepare to face Alabama in the Orange Bowl. If starter Curtis Bolton has to come off, expect walk-on Bryan Mead to play in relief — not Draper, a former four-star from Collinsville, Okla.

Player who hasn’t broken out who still could

Adrian Ealy: Oklahoma could lose four of its five offensive linemen after the season, which would pave the way for former four-star tackle Adrian Ealy. He’s sat patiently behind the likes of Orlando Brown, Cody Ford and Bobby Evans, but 2019 could be Ealy’s time to shine. If Ford and Evans bolt as expected, he could compete for either starting tackle job alongside Brey Walker, Darrell Simpson, David Swaby, Erik Swenson and whoever else OL coach Bill Bedenbaugh deems worthy of consideration.

My grade for the class: A-

This class has a lot of depth. There are plenty of guys who could have All-Big 12 seasons in front of them. In addition to those previously mentioned: Cornerback Tre Brown, running back Kennedy Brooks, running back Trey Sermon, tight end Grant Calcaterra, receiver Charleston Rambo, safety Robert Barnes, center Creed Humphrey and fullback Jeremiah Hall could all be future stars for the Sooners. This class also has produced a few important rotation pieces on the last two playoff rosters: Cornerback Tre Norwood, running back Marcelias Sutton, defensive tackle Dillon Faamatau and defensive back Justin Broiles all come to mind. This class has a nice balance of stars and depth with minimal attrition so far.

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