Oklahoma is faced with the prospect of losing both of its starters at defensive end if junior Ronnell Lewis declares for the NFL draft. Senior Frank Alexander won’t return after a All-Big 12 caliber season.
Immediate help could be on the way.
Defensive end commitment Chaz Nelson (Garden City Community College) has the ability to step on campus and make an impact on the field for the Sooners in 2012. He is enrolling for the spring semester and will go through spring practices with OU.
Seniors-to-be David King and R.J. Washington return next season to give OU two experienced bookends on the perimeter. But the Sooners prefer to use multiple defensive ends during games to help keep their defensive linemen fresh.
Nelson, who has two years of eligibility remaining, will come in and battle sophomores-to-be Geneo Grissom and Chuka Ndulue for a spot in the defensive end rotation.
A 6-foot-2, 235 pounds, Nelson doesn’t have the size that Grissom (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) or Ndulue (6-foot-3, 251 pounds) possess, but he does have excellent quickness and acceleration. He could be used as a pass rush specialist in passing situations, particularly if the Sooners are able to continue to use their four defensive package which moves King inside to defensive tackle.
Don’t expect Nelson to come in and beat out King or Washington, but he has the talent to work himself up to be a key contributor on the Sooners defense in 2012.