Crimson Countdown: OL Nila Kasitati

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. 54 Nila Kasitati, guard/center, 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, junior

Impact thus far: Injuries have been the only thing that have really kept Kasitati off the field during his time in Norman, Oklahoma. After a redshirt season in 2011, he was beginning to force himself into the lineup until an early-October ACL injury against Texas Tech as a redshirt freshman forced him to miss the rest of the season. Last season he returned to play in all 13 games including seven starts at right guard.

Impact in 2014: His versatility makes it a near certainty he will be a key member of OU’s offensive line. Kasitati can play center and guard so don’t be surprised to see him line up at either position in 2014 as the Sooners strive to get their top five offensive linemen on the field.

Long term upside: He should be a core member of the offensive line during the next two seasons.

Evaluation grade for Kasitati: A. He wasn’t a five-star recruit but he’s had a significant impact since his redshirt freshman season. Kasitati brings a toughness and aggression to the lineup that helps set the tone for the entire offensive front.

Development grade for Kasitati: A. The Sooners have done a good job with the junior, particularly during his redshirt freshman season when they inserted him into the offensive line rotation before his injury. When he’s healthy, he tends to make an impact for OU.