NORMAN — Oklahoma must rebuild its secondary this spring after two losing safety Javon Harris and cornerback Demontre Hurst to graduation and safety Tony Jefferson opting to enter the NFL Draft after his junior season.
However, the construction project won’t be a complete overhaul. The Sooners have Aaron Colvin back at cornerback. Mike Stoops said having the All-Big 12 performer back for his senior season will soften the blow of losing three starters.
“Aaron is a very complete player,” Stoops said. “He as has the intensity, the focus and the drive. He’s here for a purpose — he wants to be a first-round draft pick. He sets the tone for our whole defense. It’s good.
“He’s a great leader and a great competitor, which I think is the most important thing when we all watch him play. I think we all took for granted his ability to make plays the way he does on the football field. If he stays healthy and continues to develop and keeps working, he’ll put himself in a very elite category of player.”
Stoops believes Colvin can shutter one side of the field by himself. If that’s the case, it should give the Sooners time to piece together the rest of the secondary.
The Sooners will hold their first practice today. Stoops said Gabe Lynn is the starting free safety with Julian Wilson shifting to the nickelback spot Lynn occupied last season. Quentin Hayes in the No. 1 strong safety heading into the first practice. Cortez Johnson and Zack Sanchez and Kass Everett are vying for the open corner spot.
“We’ll mess around with it this spring to see how we can adjust our defense accordingly,” Stoops said. “We might be able to help that corner more than we help … obviously Aaron at one corner gives you great … if you can shut down one side of the field with one guy, he gives you a lot more flexibility. We feel like we have a guy that we’ll lean on like that. We’ll see how it all plays out.”