With the bowl game approaching and many players entering the transfer portal or declaring for the NFL Draft, I will present to you 5 players who I think will see larger roles in the bowl game. In this list are 4 True Freshmen and 1 Sophomore. Many of these players will have a good shot at starting or being contributors for Team 129. Here are some players that I think could shine in the sunshine state.
1. Tyler Guyton
There possibly isn’t anyone on the offensive line with more potential than Tyler Guyton. Guyton has the potential to be a first-rounder in the NFL Draft. Guyton will likely start next year and with no Anton Harrison in the bowl game, you can pencil him in as a starter. Guyton started the Sooners first 3 games with Wanya Morris suspended. Out of all the teams that the Sooners have faced this season, Florida State ranks higher than any of them when it comes to sacks. The Seminoles average 2.83 sacks per game and have 34 sacks on the season which ranks in the top 30 of all division 1 teams. Tyler Guyton will get his toughest test as of yet in the Cheez-It bowl. Anton Harrison performed great this season and now it turns over to Tyler Guyton. Look for an impressive performance from Tyler Guyton.
2. Jovantae Barnes
Eric Gray had an amazing season for the Sooners and will be heading to the NFL Draft as expected. With Gray, gone Jovantae Barnes is the new RB1 for this bowl game and the foreseeable future. Barnes has shown great potential in his true freshman season. After Marcus Major got hurt, Jovantae Barnes has just never relinquished the backup role. Now, his role increases even more. Barnes has rushed for 411 yards on 89 attempts this season; he also has 4 touchdowns, 2 of which occurred in the TCU game and the other 2 occurred against Kansas. Jovantae Barnes has the potential to be the Sooners best back since Joe Mixon, and he will get a chance to show that potential against Florida State. Jeff Lebby does use the running backs in the passing game so it will be interesting to see how Barnes does in that aspect. Look for a big game from Barnes in his first game as the bell cow back.
3. Jacob Sexton
With Wanya Morris and Anton Harrison opting out of the bowl game, it’s safe to say that it is sexy time. True freshman Jacob Sexton will likely make the first start of his career in the bowl game. Sexton, the consensus four-star recruit who has played in 9 games, will have a great shot at starting next season as well. As mentioned above, he will not exactly have a warm welcome as he will face the Florida State defense that ranks in the top 30 when it comes to sacks. It will be interesting to see how Sexton does against the Seminoles especially if he will be one of the guys at tackle for the foreseeable future. Keep an eye on how Sexton performs in this Cheez-It Bowl.
4. Jayden Gibson
With Theo Wease entering the transfer portal, I do think Jayden Gibson will be the 4th receiver behind Mims, Farooq, and Stoops. Jayden Gibson has just 1 catch for 12 yards on the season but should likely see some targets come his way when he returns to his home state. Gibson has elite potential at 6-5 and possesses good speed, he has the potential to lead this team in touchdowns next season. Gibson should see a solid role in this matchup against Florida State. The Seminoles rank 3rd in passing yards allowed per game. It will be a solid test for true freshmen Jayden Gibson. Look for Jayden Gibson to flash some of his potential in this bowl game.
5. Gracen Halton
Sooners will be thin at defensive tackle after Jalen Redmond declared for the draft and Josh Ellison entered the portal. Coe, Kelley, and Johnson will lead the way but expect to see a good amount of Gracen Halton. The true freshman Halton has 10 tackles and a tackle for loss on the season. This should be his largest role as of yet. With the Sooners not having much future defensive line depth on the roster, it will be good to see how Halton plays against the Seminoles. Halton will be a really good piece for the Sooners, especially after more time with Schmitty.
Here are some players I wanted to include on this list: Gavin Sawchuck, I believe he will get some run in this game. Robert Spears-Jennings has looked good when he has played and I would expect more reps from him. Will we see DJ Graham? Damond Harmon, started to see more reps before the injury will he see more in this bowl game? Don’t forget about the bowl game GOAT in Marcus Major. Will this be David Ugwoegbu’s last game in a Sooners uniform? Who else might possibly be playing their last game in a Sooners uniform?
Photo credits go to Soonersports.com