Oklahoma football: National championship run In 2021

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The 2020 season for Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma football started off like no one expected. Going 1-2 in the first three games, many expected it to be the year that a new champion would finally be crowned in the Big 12. After that second loss to Iowa State in Ames, Oklahoma decided it was time to start playing Sooner football again and would go on to win out the rest of the Big 12 schedule including the championship redemption game against the Cyclones and the Cotton Bowl blowout against the highly talented Florida Gators.

Toward the end of the season, Oklahoma showed what it could do with everyone healthy and available to play. Now after losing some key players, the Sooners are seeming to make up for these players in the transfer portal. Defensive lineman Ronnie Perkins, running back Rhamondre Stevenson, center Creed Humphrey and star cornerback Tre Brown have all declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. Players in key positions that Riley and Oklahoma will miss dearly. After these guys began to make their decisions, Riley and his staff headed straight to the transfer portal.

The transfer portal began to boom not too long after the national championship game. Many players were ready to find the right team while others just wanted to be able to play. Riley and his staff took no time into taking advantage of the portal. The Sooners were able to snag three big players from Tennessee and its meltdown that had begun with running back Eric Gray, defensive back Key Lawrence and offensive tackle Wanya Morris. Morris is a 6-foot-6, 300-pound tackle who will help this offensive line immensely from the start. Gray had over 700 yards rushing on 157 carries with 30 receptions for another 254 yards and four touchdowns. Lawrence saw action in all 10 of the Volunteers games last season but not a whole lot. Lawrence is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound defensive back who is looking at making an immediate effect on this new and improved Alex Grinch defense.

Beyond those changes, Oklahoma has nearly every key player on offense and defense returning. Grinch’s defense has almost his entire defensive line coming back as well as many young defensive backs with more experience. Also, Spencer Rattler is the Heisman favorite for the 2021 season, and he improved greatly during the back half stretch of last season. Rattler found composure and showed his deadly skills outside the pocket. With all his weapons returning as well as a more experienced offensive line, this Oklahoma offense could be even more dangerous in 2021 than last year.

Oklahoma has not fared well in the playoffs, but this is the year everyone is expecting for that to change. Oklahoma, Clemson and Georgia should be your top three teams by the end of the season and not in that order. The Sooners seem to be going all in this year with the portal pickups. Could this be the season for Oklahoma? After 20 years, could this be the season that finally ends the championship drought? It is really looking like it.