Billy Bowman: The Oklahoma Sooners shark in the water – 2023’s defensive Captain

Cue the Jaws Music…

Safeties are like sharks. They quietly patrol the deep, waiting on their prey to lose sight of them, then they eat. Receivers who dare to cross the open middle risk ‘their safety’ as they take their focus off of ‘the safety’ and train in on the quarterback. Meanwhile, the safety builds steam and plays downhill, waiting to catch a receiver slipping. Good safeties play with their momentum, focus, and force aimed downhill, waiting on a receiver to extend when they deliver a devastating (legal) blow, breaking a receiver’s hands off a catch, and their will off of crossing the deep again. The Oklahoma Sooners have one of those sharks and he’s at the top of the food chain.

Since safeties are sharks… Billy Bowman is a great white. The 2022 honorable mention All-Big 12 safety is entering his third and possibly final season in Norman. Speaking of 2022, Billy ended the campaign with an outstanding 82 total tackles, a forced fumble, 5 pass breakups, and 3 interceptions. Billy was a bright spot on a defense that struggled to keep teams out of the end zone. He also serves a more prominent role than simply a starting safety. Billy is the captain of the Sooner defense and a vital piece of the Sooner’s 2023 success.

Following the 2022 Cheez-It Bowl loss, you could tell that Billy was hurt. He had a demeanor of defeat, but I could tell he wasn’t defeated. He was angry, and he looked like he was ready to take control. Judging by his performance and appearance during the 2023 Spring practice session, he’s done just that. Billy has clearly added mass and retained his already impressive speed. He played with extreme physicality all Spring, which for Billy, is no surprise. You can tell things are amped up for the junior safety, and he’s bringing the entire defense with him.

In 2023 Billy will command a secondary that has been revamped and reloaded. Alongside Billy in the deep defensive backfield is Texas Tech transfer Reggie Grimes and potentially incoming 5-star safety and fellow Denton, Texas native Peyton Bowen. I expect these three to be the starters/primary playing time earners at the two safety positions this upcoming Fall. The Sooner’s cornerback situation also looks to be improved this Spring, as Woodi Washington and Gentry Williams are the expected game-one starters. With backers Danny Stutsman, Jaren Kanak, and super-hyped cheetah Dasan McCullough rounding out the starting stand-up defenders, it’s an excellent time to be a Sooner fan. Billy, however, is the alpha amongst them all.

Sep 10, 2022; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Billy Bowman (5) in action during the game against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

I fully expect Billy Bowman to be an All-Big 12 first-team safety this Fall. I also expect him to turn enough heads to be named as a Thorpe Award finalist and possibly even its recipient. He has that look about him. That recognizable “that’s never happening to us again” look. The kind of look and presence that immediately commands attention and respect. Coach Brent Venables is a big fan of player leadership and has his leader on the defense in Billy.

Loyalty is becoming rarer than ever in today’s college football world of constant transfer portal attention. When guys stay with programs for over two years, you wonder why. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Billy is a Sooner and always will be until his name is called in the NFL Draft. This is Billy’s defense; like the shark Billy is, they’re out for blood. They may have been injured, and their pride may have taken a hit, but the sleeping giant is awake.

Next season, when a game is close, and you’re tense sitting in your Oklahoma Memorial Stadium seat, just remember, we have Billy Bowman, and he’s hungry. Happy hunting, Billy; we can’t wait to watch you and your defense feast in 2023.