Oklahoma football: Ronnie Perkins declares for 2021 NFL Draft

Oklahoma Football defensive lineman Ronnie Perkins adds his name to the list of players leaving for the NFL.

Perkins announced his decision in a tweet on Saturday in a move most Oklahoma football fans expected, but many hoped he would stay for his senior year.

Perkins finishes his Oklahoma Football career with 16.5 total sacks over three years and had a huge impact in 2020 in just six games.  He was a leader and a game wrecker for the much-improved OU defense and filled the hole left by Kenneth Murray who left for the draft in 2019.

Perkins was recruited to the Oklahoma football program in 2018, when he committed to Oklahoma from Lutheran High School North in St. Louis, Missouri. From the jump at Oklahoma, he showed just how good he could be, finishing his freshman season with 5.5 sacks in seven starts.

In 2019 Perkins had another solid year, playing the entire regular season up until the College Football Playoff game in the Peach Bowl against LSU.

Perkins was suspended after failing a drug test in the 2019 Peach Bowl and this led to him missing five more games this past season. Despite this setback, Perkins still finished the season with 5.5 sacks and changed the tide for the Sooner defense.

Perkins’ decision follows the departures of offensive linemen Adrian Ealy, Creed Humphrey, running back Rhamondre Stevenson, and defensive backs Tre Norwood, and Tre Brown, all to the NFL Draft. The Sooners have also lost multiple players to the transfer portal before Perkins’ decision.

Among the OU players who are transferring are wide-receiver Charleston Rambo along with two backup quarterbacks in Chandler Morris and Tanner Mordecai. Oklahoma also is losing linebackers Jon-Michael Terry and Robert Barnes to the transfer portal, along with running back TJ Pledger. Oklahoma will need all hands on deck to address these departures and Perkins is a major loss heading into 2021.

Perkins may have decided to leave due to the sheer amount of transfers, especially with running back Rhamondre Stevenson leaving just a few days prior.

Dec 30, 2020; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Rhamondre Stevenson (29) celebrates with Oklahoma Sooners defensive end Ronnie Perkins (7) after scoring a touchdown during the second half against the Florida Gators at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Look for defensive linemen Perrion Winfrey and Isaiah Thomas to step up and fill the void in 2021 on the defensive line. Perkins was a known leader for the Oklahoma defense and Winfrey could be the next man up in terms of leadership.

Will Oklahoma survive after yet another big loss to the team? That would be a resounding yes. Despite the transfers and departures, this opens up the door for young defensive players to make a name for themselves, just as Perkins did when he got to OU.

Perkins, he will hear his name called at some point during the NFL Draft this spring. Look for him to be picked on day two 2 in the late 2nd or early 3rd round.

His ideal fit would be a team like the New York Jets that needs just one more edge rusher to really solidify their defensive line. If given the opportunity, Perkins should make a noticeable impact wherever he ends up.