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. 27 Dakota Austin, cornerback, 5-foot-11, 164 pounds, sophomore
Impact thus far: Most would have expected Austin to sit out his first season to get bigger and stronger. Instead, he worked his way onto the field on special teams and then began to see action on defense in the final stretch of his true freshman campaign. Austin enters his sophomore season with four tackles and one interception in five career games.
Impact in 2014: After leaving the spring as the starting cornerback opposite Zack Sanchez, Austin should play a significant role in 2014. Even though he is undersized, he is very solid in coverage, competitive and plays bigger than his size. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, which gives you the impression he will never back down and loves the challenge of stopping receivers in one-on-one situations.
Long term upside: Austin is so good in coverage he should cement himself a role in the defense for the next three seasons, even if he doesn’t lock down a starting spot.
Evaluation grade for Austin: A. One of several relatively late offers in the class of 2013, Austin has already made the coaching staff look good for finally pulling the trigger. Nevada, New Mexico and UTEP were the other schools that offered the undervalued prospect. He’s performing like a four-star recruit, not an overlooked late addition.
Development grade for Austin: A. It would have been easy to just slot Austin into a redshirt season, particularly since he didn’t step on campus with a college-ready physique. Instead, the Sooners gave him the chance to show what he can do and when he showed he could contribute, they put him on the field and increased his role as he improved during the season.
Quotable: “He’s competitive and smart in the way he plays. He understands what we’re doing and has a great feel for it.” -- OU coach Bob Stoops