At the end of the regular season, the Big XII released the conference awards and doled out first-team all-conference selections. Noticeable absent from the list were several Oklahoma Sooners on the defensive side of the ball. However, none were more noticeable than that of Nik Bonitto.
Despite being left off the list, the hybrid linebacker earned a spot on Pro Football Focus’ All-American First Team and deservedly so. In nine games this season, the LB racked up ten tackles for loss including 7.5 sacks falling behind only Isaiah Thomas in the category. Additionally, Bonitto recorded ten quarterback hurries which paced the rest of the roster. With two pass breakups to round out the discussion, it’s clear that the sophomore remains an integral part of this defense.
Siting the reasoning for featuring Bonitto on the list, PFF says, “Bonitto was a true hybrid backer in 2019, playing almost as many coverage snaps (171) as pass-rush snaps (131). However, Bonitto saw more pass-rush opportunities in 2020, and the transition paid dividends. The Oklahoma edge rusher was a force in every single game this season, finishing first among qualifying FBS edge defenders in pass-rush grade, pass-rush win rate and pressure rate generated.
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