During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.
No. 15 Zack Sanchez, cornerback, 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, sophomore
Impact thus far: After redshirting in 2012, Sanchez was the surprise of the defense in 2013. He made a major jump from the spring to the fall and became a starter on OU’s defense after leaving the spring as an afterthought. He started all 13 games, finishing with 46 tackles, 13 pass breakups and two interceptions. He earned FWAA Freshman All-American honors.
Impact in 2014: Sanchez will have to step up his leadership as the lone veteran at cornerback with Aaron Colvin’s departure. The Sooners will count on him to be the most dependable and trustworthy cover man on the squad this fall.
Long term upside: If Sanchez continues to develop he should be an all-conference performer and four-year starter. His competitive nature and ability to forget previous miscues rank among his best traits.
Evaluation grade for Sanchez: A. The Sooners began their pursuit of Sanchez late in the recruiting process, thanks largely to the arrival of Mike Stoops, who liked Sanchez's ball skills and versatility. He has rewarded Stoops' belief in his ability by starting every college game he has played in.
Development grade for Sanchez: A. Redshirting Sanchez during his first season was the right move, particularly with Colvin and Demontre Hurst manning the cornerback spot in 2012. The season in the background allowed Sanchez to get comfortable at the cornerback position after playing receiver and safety in high school.
Quotable: “We have to get more consistent play out of him, even as good as he was at making big plays, he just has to be a more consistent player. He has to focus on what he looks at and training his eyes. His eyes get him in trouble a lot. He just has to continue to improve.” -- Stoops on how Sanchez can improve as a sophomore.