Oklahoma football’s 2018 signing class is filled with players capable of making immediate impacts.
Oklahoma’s defense was a liability at times last season, but reinforcements are on the way. The 2018 signees on offense will have a tough time breaking into the rotation, but there might be a few players who could see the field this fall.
Here are three 2018 recruits who should play immediately for Oklahoma:
CB Brendan Radley-Hiles
Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles was one of the jewels of coach Lincoln Riley’s recruiting class. The composite 4-star cornerback from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) was a late addition, but his elite talent will make him a name to remember.
The 5-foot-10, 183-pound Radley-Hiles has the skill set to compete for a starting job. He enrolled early at Oklahoma, and that time should serve him as well as he transitions to college. It should also help Oklahoma’s secondary, which struggled to find its footing at times last season, if he can step in and play right away.
“[Radley-Hiles is] everything that I thought he would be. He’s not polished right now, but he’s very instinctive and athletic,” Sooners defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks said last month. “The kid can play nickel, you can bounce him out to cornerback. The kid is just a football player. He has a high football IQ. You saw that, but you never know what you’re actually gonna get until you see it. It’s good that he’s everything we thought he would [be].”
DE/LB Jalen Redmond
One of the top players from Oklahoma, Jalen Redmond, has the potential to see early playing time. He’s listed at 6-4, 233 pounds and was a composite 4-star prospect out of Midwest City, Okla. The Sooners need depth up front, and the early enrollee should be a promising option for Mike Stoops’ defense in 2018.
“We’re gonna have to replace some of [former Oklahoma linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo’s] production. We think Jalen’s a guy who can help do that,” Riley said. “He’s a guy who just keeps getting bigger and bigger but he maintains his athleticism and is really fluid. We’ve got a lot of hopes for him. He’s one of those guys that’s gonna have an opportunity right away.”
RB T.J. Pledger
Riley is great at utilizing running backs in a variety of ways. IMG Academy product and early enrollee T.J. Pledger could see early playing time because of his versatility. Pledger is listed at 5-8, 190 pounds, but he’s one of the best 2018 running backs, as well as overall prospects, in the country.
While Rodney Anderson will get a bulk of the carries, Pledger could easily work his way into some carries next season.