Skip to main content

Don't Be Surprised if Freshman Gavin Sawchuk Emerges for Oklahoma – and Fast

Elite speed is his ticket to early playing time, but Sawchuk's power, work ethic and ability to pick up the playbook have been impressive as well.

NORMAN — Speed can’t be taught.

That’s why Oklahoma freshman Gavin Sawchuk might be in line for some significant playing time in 2022.

“Elite speed,” said OU running backs coach DeMarco Murray. “So, you know, we’re gonna have some fun with him.”

It’s no surprise that Sawchuk has stood out in the early stages of practice this preseason as a true freshman who only recently arrived on campus.

Not with the elite speed he has.

“Gavin is incredibly talented,” said offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby. “We were talking about foot speed earlier, and he’s got it.”

Unlike fellow freshman Jovantae Barnes, Sawchuk didn’t enroll early and participate in spring practice. Instead, he opted to run track and finish his senior year at Valor Christian High School in Littleton, CO.

That paid off, as he ran a 10.62-second 100 meters and ran 21.81 in the 200. Last fall, he rushed for 2,004 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior and was a two-time Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year — the state’s first since Christian McCaffrey.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

As a high school sophomore in 2020, Sawchuk ran an indoor 60-meter race at 6.78 seconds in Colorado Springs — the 13th fastest time in the world that year in the under-18 age group. He was the youngest runner ranked in the top 20.

His arrival in Norman this summer, then, has been heralded.

“Very fast,” Murray said. “I think he’s the fastest guy on the team. Him or (Jayden) Rowe.”

But there’s more to Sawchuck than just straight-line speed. He’s been impressive with how fast he’s adjusted to campus life, the college game and, of course, Lebby’s playbook.

“Gavin has done a good job, man,” Murray said. “You talk about a kid who comes in every single day and works his tail off.”

Sawchuk didn’t get to Norman until June, but he immediately dove into Jerry Schmidt’s offseason training regimen, experiencing noticeable gains in his body weight (now a thick, chiseled 200 pounds) and strength (evident as he has consistently run through tackles in the now-famous “W Drill”).

And of course, Sawchuk maintained his elite speed.

Eric Gray is as close to returning starter as Murray has. This will be Marcus Major’s fourth season on campus. But the dynamic freshman tandem of Sawchuk and Barnes can’t be overlooked.

“Excited about that room,” Lebby said. “Maybe not a ton of production or experience from a depth standpoint, but guys that are capable and willing for sure. So, excited about all those guys.”