During the 2019 College Football Playoff, the Oklahoma Sooners yet again dropped out in the semifinals, marking the fourth time in the last five years they have failed to advance to the championship game.
Despite their playoff woes, the Sooners have been one of the best college football programs of the 21st century. Each year they seem to have a new crop of players come in and light up the gridiron, and it will be no different this upcoming season as Oklahoma looks to make another run at a national title. Sooners fans need to keep an eye out for these underclassmen.
3. Trejan Bridges
Since the 2018 season, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb became the premier pass-catching target for the Sooners. Throughout his three seasons in college, Lamb racked up an impressive 3,292 receiving yards and 32 touchdowns across 40 games. But now, with Lamb having been drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, there's a chance for sophomore wide receiver Trejan Bridges to make his mark. Bridges certainly has not proved himself fully at the college level, but coming out of high school he was a top wide receiver in his recruiting class, coming in as the 11th-ranked receiver, according to 247 Sports. Going into the 2020 season, the sophomore will have the opportunity to continue to develop and could see a lot more of the field.
2. Jaden Davis
Historically, Oklahoma has been known for its awful defensive play and normally has won games in offensive shootouts. That changed last season where the Sooners' defense, although not stellar, was solid and ranked 32nd overall in run defense. Despite better run defense, the Sooners still had problems in the secondary, especially late in the season where they gave up 493 passing yards against LSU in the College Football Playoff semifinal. With the team looking to improve in the secondary, Lincoln Riley and staff will have their eyes on sophomore cornerback Jaden Davis. Coming out of high school, Davis was a 4-star prospect and was able to see the field right away as a true freshman. Last season, he played in 14 games, recorded 26 total tackles, and intercepted a pass. Davis will have to compete with redshirt junior cornerback Tre Norwood. Although, with another year of development, Davis may be able to live up to his high school rating and nab a starting job.
1. Tanner Mordecai
Jalen Hurts is now in the NFL, and the Sooners are dealing with a fairly large question mark at the quarterback position. Sophomore quarterback Tanner Mordecai is expected to win the starting job this fall, but is still an unproven talent. Mordecai saw limited playing time behind Hurts, completing 16-of-26 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns. He was certainly productive when he saw the field, but it's not enough to make a true judgment about his potential as a college quarterback. Regardless of his college-level inexperience, Mordecai was a highly-touted recruit in high school. He was a 4-star prospect and was ranked the 11th-best dual-threat quarterback in his class, according to 247 Sports. It's impossible to predict the future of Mordecai in Norman, but if he replicates what he did in high school, as well as what he did under center with his limited snaps in the 2019 season, he could have the chance to get Oklahoma back to the CFP.