It’s late June so that means preseason projections for the upcoming college football season are pouring in at a rapid rate.
Shortly after five Oklahoma players were named preseason All-Americans by Athlon Sports, five Sooners were also named to Pro Football Focus’ preseason All-America teams — with a couple of different names getting recognition.
Just as they were by Athlon Sports, quarterback Spencer Rattler and linebacker Nik Bonitto earned themselves first-team honors after stellar 2020 seasons and expected huge 2021 campaigns.
After a somewhat slow start to his first year as starting signal-caller, Rattler took off in the fourth game of the year against Texas to finish the year with ,3,031 yards with 28 touchdowns in just 11 games. His uptick in play was a large reason why Oklahoma ended the season on a eight-game winning streak to win another Big 12 title.
Bonitto, meanwhile, was one of the Sooners’ best defensive players all year. His eight sacks were second-most on the team and he was second only to Isaiah Thomas in tackles for loss. His breakout year has many very excited for what he could do in 2021.
Wide receiver Marvin Mims picked up a second-team nod by PFF after his record-setting freshman season. He led Oklahoma both in receiving yards (610) and touchdowns (9) and was an instrumental part of the offense throughout the year.
Running back Kennedy Brooks also received a second-team selection as he looks to remind everyone just how good he was in 2018 and 2019 before opting out from play a year ago. Brooks ran for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons in Norman and averaged well over seven yards per carry.
After being away from the sport for a season, Brooks has largely flown under the radar — but not by PFF. Brooks and Tennessee transfer Eric Gray will be the No. 1 and No. 2 options in the backfield, with both expecting to have big seasons. Who gets more carries will likely be determined simply who performs better early in the season.
The fifth and final All-American team selection by PFF is another player hoping to reintroduce himself to the college football world in defensive lineman Jalen Redmond. He also picked up a second-team honor.
Redmond was fantastic in 2019 with 23 total tackles and 6.5 sacks in 10 games. In a situation very similar to Brooks on the other side of the ball, his re-addition to the team after opting out a year ago will be fascinating to watch play out as he returns to the Sooners with high expectations.
Also worth noting is the honorable mention selection of kicker Gabe Brkic. Brkic was 17-for-17 on field goals in 2019 before going just 20 for 26 last season, but while still having never missed an extra point in his career. He’ll be looking for somewhat of a bounce back year as he hopes to return to the flawless form he had a couple years ago.