Oklahoma football: Ranking the 11 Sooner 2019 offensive positions

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 20: CeeDee Lamb #2 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the TCU Horned Frogs in the first half at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 20, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 20: CeeDee Lamb #2 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the TCU Horned Frogs in the first half at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 20, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The four component parts that make up the Oklahoma football offense — quarterback, running backs, receivers and offensive line — are all ranked in the top 25 in their respective position groups nationally, according to college football expert Phil Steele.

In his eponymous 2019 college football preview publication, ranks the Sooners’ quarterback situation, with Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts as the starter, as the fifth best in college football. He also ranks the OU running backs No. 5 nationally, and the Sooners’ deep receivers group at No. 4.

Oklahoma was blessed with the best offensive line in college football last season, but after losing four of five starters (all of whom were taken in the first four rounds in this year’s NFL Draft) it is reasonable to believe that there will be some growing pains as the four new starters become more comfortable and better acclimated working as a unit.

A football offense is made up of 11 individual positions, each one tasked with specific responsibilities.  but the individual parts are not of equal value or importance. Generally speaking, players who touch the ball, often referred to as skill positions, carry more importance because of the potential impact they have on the outcome of the game. That’s not to say that the other  positions aren’t important, it’s just that they impact the game differently.

Head coach Lincoln Riley revealed the depth chart on Thursday for the season-opening game. This prompted us to wonder, how would you rank the 11 positions on the Oklahoma offense, based on their overall importance to the outcome of a game? We’ve taken the liberty to offer at least one fan’s view:

1/QB — Jalen Hurts

The Sooner Air Raid offense runs through the quarterback, and this season Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts is the player in the driver’s seat. Hurts is a dual threat who can hurt you with his legs or his arm, and he is surrounded with a bevy of offensive weapons and, importantly, he knows how to win having played in three consecutive College Football Playoff championship games.

2/WR — CeeDee Lamb

Lamb is Oklahoma’s leading returning receiver. He caught 65 passes for 1,158 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns in his sophomore season a year ago, and he is expected to be Hurts primary receiving target in the 2019 season.

3/RB– Kennedy Brooks

Redshirt sophomore Kennedy Brooks came on strong the second half of last season and led the team with 1,056 net rushing yards. He rushed for over 165 yards in four of the last six regular-season games and eclipsed the century mark five times last season. He ranked third nationally, averaging 8.9 yards per carry in the 2018 season. He and junior Trey Sermon will share the majority of the running back duties this season. Sermon rushed for 972 yards last season, including 13 rushing TDs. They will both see plenty of action in OU’s balanced run-pass offense.

4/TE — Grant Calcaterra

The tight end plays an important role in OU’s Air Raid attack, and Grant Calcaterra cemented his place in the offense with an outstanding season a year ago. The 6-foot, 4-inch junior from California caught 36 passes for 558 yards and nine touchdowns last season, including two huge touchdown catches in the Sooners’ win over Texas in the Big 12 Championship.

5/WR — Nick Basquine

Redshirt senior Nick Basquine’s college career has been spotty, plagued by injuries. He played well in the 2016 season, catching 20 passes for 265 yards and averaging 13 yards per catch. A training camp injury, however, kept him out of action all of 2017. Basquine played well down the stretch last season. He caught two passes for a season-high 44 yards in the Big 12 Championship win over Texas, and made a 34-yard reception in the College Football Playoff game with Alabama. A solid training camp performance this month earned him a starting spot at wide receiver.

6/C — Creed Humphrey

Sophomore Creed Humphrey is the lone returning starter from the Oklahoma offensive line that a year ago was awarded the Joe Moore Award as the best offensive line in college football.

7/LT — Erik Swenson

Redshirt junior Erik Swenson draws the difficult assignment of replacing All-Big 12 offensive lineman Bobby Evans at the left tackle spot, the position most responsible for protecting the right-handed-throwing quarterback Jalen Hurts’ back side. This is Swenson’s first year as a starter. He has seen action in 10 games over the past two seasons.

8/FB — Jeremiah Hall

Redshirt sophomore Jeremiah Hall will be the starting fullback in the season-opener with Houston. In recent seasons, the fullback position in the Air Raid offense has played an active role. Besides serving as a blocking back on run plays featuring the Sooner running backs, the fullback also has been utilized as a run option as well as a receiver out of the backfield. Hall saw action in all 14 games a year ago, but carried the ball just two times for 21 yards and caught two 18-yard passes.

9/RT — Adrian Early

At 6-foot, 6 inches and 326 pounds, Adrian Early draws the starting assignment at right tackle to start the 2019 season. Early’s experience is very limited, having seen action in a backup role at tackle in just five games a year ago. He was a four-star recruit, per Rivals, in OU’s 2017 class out of Louisiana.

10/LG — Marquis Hayes

Marquis Hayes won the starting job at left guard. His experience, like four of the other O-line starters, is also limited. He played in just three games a year ago as a backup at guard. His talent level is high, even if his experience has been limited. The 6-foot, 5-inch 332-pound offensive lineman was rated a four-star prospect by Rivals out of high school in Maryland Heights, Mo.

11/RG — Tyrese Robinson

Tyrese Robinson beat out redshirt freshman Brey Walker at starting right guard. His previous experience spans six games last season. The 6-foot, 3-inch, 328-pounder was another four-star recruit, out of McKinney, Texas. He redshirted his freshman season.