3 biggest gets/losses for Oklahoma in the transfer portal

There was plenty of roster turnover in Norman as the Sooners transition to Jackson Arnold at QB. According to FanSided college football writer Josh Yourish, these three additions will help the former five-star succeed, but the two biggest losses could stunt the program's growth.

Baylor Bears tight end Jake Roberts (86)
Baylor Bears tight end Jake Roberts (86) / Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
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Brent Venables hasn’t delivered a playoff contender in Norman yet and fans are going to start to get antsy with their head coach. An upset over Texas in the Red River Rivalry takes a bit of the string out of a 10-3 season and a five-star sophomore quarterback taking over provides some hope for 2024. Still, expectations are high and Venables needs to deliver quickly. 

The best way to add talent quickly and go from 10 wins to 12 or from 80th in total defense to at least top 50 in the country is the transfer portal. Venables has a class of 11 incoming transfers to not only improve upon 2023 but offset the big losses in the portal. The Sooners watched 18 players exit Norman through the portal, including the quarterback who authored that upset of Texas. 

Oklahoma had needs on both sides of the ball, so let’s dig into how Venables addressed those with the most important additions that the Sooners made in the portal. Then, we’ll take a look at the losses that could stunt the program’s growth with a jump to the SEC next year. 

Biggest gets

Junior. Eligibility: 2 years. WR. player. . Deion Burks. Deion Burks. Deion Burks. 492.

I’m not sure the plan for Oklahoma was to have Drake Stoops lead the team in receiving in 2023. The former walk-on nepo-baby turned into a quality player, but we aren’t too far removed from Hollywood Brown and Ceedee Lamb leading the OU offense, so this was a huge downgrade. Now, Burks can be the lead guy after a redshirt sophomore season with 47 grabs for 629 yards and seven touchdowns for Purdue. 

Though a bit undersized, Burks primarily ran his routes from the outside and the average depth of his targets was 13.7 yards downfield. He only came down with six of his 25 contest catch opportunities, but he was excellent after the catch and averaged 5.7 yards after the catch on his 25 receptions within nine yards of the line of scrimmage. 

Eligibility: 1 year. TE. player. Jake Roberts. . Jake Roberts. . Jake Roberts. 460. Senior

Oklahoma doesn’t just need an upgrade on the outside, the Sooners need an over-the-middle target for Jackson Arnold in his first year as the starter. Arnold is young and will need Roberts to develop into his security blanket. 

Last year at Baylor, Roberts caught 23 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown, but he was even better in 2022 with 28 grabs for 384 yards and three scores. With a quality quarterback, he’s capable of being a reliable and at times dynamic threat from the tight end position. 

At 6-foot-5 250 pounds, Roberts lined up as an in-line tight end for just over 60% of his snaps but was also athletic enough to play in the slot. Roberts's average target came just five yards downfield and yet he averaged 10.0 yards per reception because of his ability after the catch. 

Like Burks, Roberts will be able to make plays for Arnold to keep the chains moving while the young QB develops, of his 23 catches, 13 went for first downs. 

486. . OT. Senior. Eligibility: 1 year. Spencer Brown. Spencer Brown. . Spencer Brown. player

Walter Rouse and Tyler Guyton are both heading for the NFL, so Oklahoma had to replace two offensive tackles. Jacob Sexton was a candidate to take over one of the starting spots, but he struggled in his limited reps last year. 

So, Venables had to either ride with an inexperienced tackle like Sexton or bring in two offensive tackles from the transfer portal, he chose the latter. Oklahoma added both Brown and Michael Tarquin from USC, presumably to take over both starting tackle positions. 

Coming from Michigan State, Brown chose OU over Ole Miss and USC, which was crucial for the Sooners. Brown allowed 18 pressures last year for the Spartans which would have been the most on the Oklahoma line, but four of those came in a blowout loss to Penn State at the end of the year when the Spartans had already packed it in. 

With an extra year of development, the 6-foot-6 315-pound tackle, who has experience at both tackle positions, will be one of the better tackles in the SEC and will prove to be a massive get for Oklahoma.