State of the position: Defensive end

After grading the performance of Oklahoma’s defensive ends in 2012, it is the perfect time to take a closer look at the defensive ends on the roster or the commitment list as SoonerNation evaluates the future at the position for Oklahoma. Here’s a look at one player who could be next in line to make a major impact, one player to keep an eye on and one current commitment who could be the future at defensive end.

Next in line: Geneo Grissom. The sophomore’s raw athletic ability and physical gifts were never in question heading into the 2012 season. After injury-filled first two seasons in Norman, Grissom started the season at tight end before moving to defensive end in the middle of the year. He immediately began earning playing time and saw significant action in November. He appears poised to be a core member of OU’s defensive end rotation in 2013.

Keep an eye on: Charles Tapper. His combination of strength and athleticism has impressed teammates since he stepped on campus last summer. The former standout basketball player has just scratched the surface of his upside on the gridiron and will have plenty of opportunities to become a key part of OU’s defense as a sophomore. His development could be a key to the overall production and depth at the position.

On the trail: Matt Dimon. The Sooners defensive end commit has the tenacity, strength and motor to help the Sooners immediately. With R.J. Washington and David King playing their last game in the Cotton Bowl, Dimon could earn a spot in OU’s defensive end rotation in 2013. At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, Dimon is already similar in size to several defensive ends currently on the roster, so the mental transition to Division I football is the main obstacle.

Summary: Even though the Sooners struggled to get consistent pressure on the quarterback in 2012, OU should feel good about the talent at defensive end. Grissom and Chuka Ndulue continue to develop, Rashod Favors has been a pleasant surprise and the Sooners have several young players with high upside, such as Tapper, Dimon and Michael Onuoha, poised to compete for a spot on the defense. It’s mostly a matter of transforming upside into production for several defensive ends on the squad. If the Sooners can do that, the defensive end position will be one of the strongest on the roster.