With the early signing period upon us, here is the final part in a four-part series examining Oklahoma’s last four draft classes. Here is a look back at Oklahoma’s 2018 class.
Best player in the class
Ronnie Perkins: It’s too early to tell almost anything about the 2018 class, but one thing already appears certain: Ronnie Perkins will go down as the best Sooner in this group. He’s already arguably Oklahoma’s best defensive lineman, and that’s without a full 12 months in its strength and conditioning program. He doesn’t play a high percentage of snaps but still produces at an elite level — Perkins has a team-high five sacks and eight tackles for loss this season.
Most surprising player in the class
Delarrin Turner-Yell: There could still be another diamond in the rough to emerge over the next couple years, but for now it’s Delarrin Turner-Yell. He hasn’t necessarily flashed potential for superstardom in Oklahoma’s maligned secondary, but the mere fact that he’s receiving playing time is likely a good sign for his future. The former 3-star easily could have been buried on the depth chart, but instead is being asked to play a key role on a College Football Playoff squad as a true freshman. The only other players in this class who can say that are Perkins and Brendan Radley-Hiles.
Most disappointing player in the class
Brendan Radley-Hiles: Speaking of Radley-Hiles, he finds himself in a tough spot. The former IMG Academy product was asked to play safety for the Sooners this season after staring at cornerback in high school. That transition proved to be more difficult than Oklahoma anticipated. His season-long struggles were exposed in Morgantown, which landed him on the bench for the Big 12 Championship Game. The former 5-star didn’t intercept a pass this season and broke up just five attempts. He also made only 39 total tackles despite playing the vast majority of defensive snaps for 12 games. It’s too soon to write him off, but Radley-Hiles’ freshman season was a big step backwards.
Player who hasn’t broken out who still could
Jalen Redmond: Oklahoma’s defense was missing a lot of key elements in 2018, but none bigger than a reliable pass rush. That’s what linebacker Jalen Redmond could provide if he’s able to return from some serious medical concerns that forced him to miss almost all of his true freshman season. If he’s able to overcome those issues, Redmond looks like he could be a special player.
My grade for the class: B+
Much still hinges on the outcomes for some high-variance players like Radley-Hiles, Redmond and T.J. Pledger. There’s plenty of potential for star power in this class, but not enough of it has seen the field yet. Defensive tackle Michael Thompson is another name to watch out for in the future. It’s a B+ for the moment, but there’s not a lot of certainty in this group as it stands right now.
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