Newcomer Profile: Why DL Caiden Woullard is 'Living Well' in his New Surroundings at Oklahoma

The talented edge rusher made the move to Norman this offseason after terrorizing the MAC for three seasons with the Miami (OH) Redhawks.
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

NORMAN — Caiden Woullard never thought his college journey would lead him to Oklahoma. 

The Massillon, OH, native spent the first stage of his career living in the backfield for the Miami (OH) Redhawks, just a couple of hours from home. 

After shredding through the MAC, posting 41 total tackles including 12 tackles for loss and 9.5 quarterback sacks in 2023 to follow his 29 tackles and four sacks in 2022, Woullard made the tough decision to enter the transfer portal. 

“It was a long process to start,” Woullard said last month, “and I put a lot of that into it because I’ve never done anything like that before. It’s a big decision.”

He didn’t quite know what to expect, but Oklahoma defensive ends coach Miguel Chavis quickly made a lasting impression. 

“He had FaceTimed me when I gave him my number and from there on I knew this was my frontrunner,” Woullard said. “Oklahoma was my frontrunner just because of how he was talking. He knew everything about me: my skills, my stats, the way I played, all that. … The rest is history from there.”

Though he grew up in the Rust Belt, Woullard didn’t need a long lesson on Oklahoma football. 

“I knew Oklahoma’s history,” Woullard said. “Oklahoma is Oklahoma, the championships, the Heismans, all of that. And I knew we were also going into the SEC, so that played a big part of it.”

Pair OU’s history with Brent Venables’ track record of churning out defensive line talent as a defensive coordinator and it didn’t take long for Woullard to make his choice. 

“When I came on my visit, I committed on the spot,” Woullard said. “…  I couldn’t wait to get on my visit and they impressed me. They did everything they could to get me here and here we are.”

Breaking into the Sooners’ defensive line rotation will be no easy task. 

Ethan Downs returns to lead the group after his best season in an OU uniform, as does veteran presence Trace Ford and explosive pass rusher R Mason Thomas

Adepoju Adebawore made waves his freshman season as well last year, and only projects to get more consistent as he continues to add muscle to his frame and take more coaching from Chavis, Todd Bates and Venables. 

And while there’s plenty to grasp in Venables’ defense, Woullard hasn’t looked like a fish out of water. He certainly held his own in the spring game, with four solo tackles to his credit.

“You can tell he’s played a lot of football, knows how to play,” Venables said ahead of OU’s spring game. “He’s heavy-handed, plays quick. He’s long, he’s big.”

Venables said Woullard is primed to continue working throughout the summer and push for a starting position after the Red/White Game, a sign that Woullard has taken well to the competition. 

Off the field, Woullard said he’s quickly acclimated to the new environment. 

“This place is amazing,” he said. “… My teammates, they brought me in and they’ve treated me like I’ve been here for four years.”

Woullard pointed to Downs and the rest of the position group as all being happy to help him get adjusted to his new setting in Norman, though Woullard has probably seen the inside of Oklahoma’s football headquarters more than anywhere else in the city.

“I’m living well,” he said. “… I’m always at the facility. I don’t really do much. I come in and work so it’s been great so far.”

So far, he’s been able to make the most of his last college offseason, and Woullard is just ready to get things started in full this fall in the SEC. 

“I’m excited for my development and then also just I’m excited to see how we do this season,” Woullard said. “I think we’ll be a great team and I’m excited to play with my teammates.” 

Ryan Chapman


Ryan is deputy editor at AllSooners and covers a number of sports in and around Norman and Oklahoma City. Working both as a journalist and a sports talk radio host, Ryan has covered the Oklahoma Sooners, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the United States Men’s National Soccer Team, the Oklahoma City Energy and more. Since 2019, Ryan has simultaneously pursued a career as both a writer and a sports talk radio host, working for the Flagship for Oklahoma sports, 107.7 The Franchise, as well as Ryan serves as a contributor to The Franchise’s website,, which was recognized as having the “Best Website” in 2022 by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters. Ryan holds an associate’s degree in Journalism from Oklahoma City Community College in Oklahoma City, OK.