Pro Football Focus is releasing its position rankings for 2021 and, as usual, they are expecting Oklahoma’s offense to hum. In fact, there is strong potential for this to be Lincoln Riley’s best offensive machine since Baker Mayfield’s crew fell short in the Rose Bowl.
PFF has Spencer Rattler rated as the top returning quarterback for 2021. The redshirt sophomore suffered some growing pains early in the 2020 season but found his stride in October, helping the Sooners to a sixth consecutive conference and a Cotton Bowl win over Florida. Passing for 3,031 yards and 28 touchdowns, Rattler served noticed that Riley’s offense can be just as dangerous with a “home grown” product at quarterback as they were with the transfers he had been successful with.
Rattler went on to perform at an elite level throughout his first year starting and finished the season with a 92.5 passing grade. That tied for the third-best in the FBS.
Rattler is the real deal. He should be the overwhelming early favorite to take home the 2021 Heisman and just might be the guy to end the winless College Football Playoff record for the Sooners next year.Pro Football Focus
Rattler isn’t returning to an empty cupboard either. Riley’s young gun slinger had an unexpected surprise in 2021 with the performance of true freshman Marvin Mims. Expectations were high for Mims after being a 4-star prospect in the 2020 recruiting class. That said, no one expected the kid to lead the Sooners in receiving yards (610) and receiving touchdowns (9).
Rattler and Mims were named Freshman All Americans by Pro Football Focus but the publication went on to also list Mims as the #6 returning receiver for 2021.
Mims wasn’t the first, second or even third option in this Oklahoma offense this past year. The true freshman ranked fourth on his team in total routes run but was by far the most productive Sooner and one of the most productive receivers in the FBS. His 89.1 receiving grade and 4.07 yards per route run both ranked among the 10 best marks at the position in 2020.
The 5-foot-11, 177-pound receiver showed quality body adjustment and speed while routinely getting open downfield. Despite seeing only 49 targets, Mims was able to bring in 11 deep receptions in 2020 (tied for the fourth-most in the Power Five). His stock is on the rise for 2021.Pro Football Focus
Even with the loss of Rhamondre Stevenson to the NFL, Oklahoma is going to be stacked at running back next season. The Sooners benefitted from Tennessee transfer Eric Gray but they are also getting Kennedy Brooks back as well.
After rushing for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, Brooks chose to sit out 2020 over concerns for the Covid Pandemic. Even with sitting a year out PFF has Brooks as the #3 returning running back for 2021.
Brooks decided to opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, but he will be back for the 2021 campaign — very good news for the Sooners.
Brooks was the third-highest-graded ball carrier in the FBS from 2018 to 2019 and established himself as one of the top breakaway threats at the position. No FBS running back churned out 10 or more yards on a higher rate of their carries over that period than Brooks (23.4%). He doesn’t have electrifying speed, but he is elusive and fights through contact as well as anyone.Pro Football Focus
The ranking of Rattler, Mims, and Brooks in the Top 10 in each of their respective position ratings puts Oklahoma the distinguished position of being the only program with a player in each of the three PFF offensive skill position categories. Clemson, Ohio State, and Indiana each had two players but the Sooners stand alone with three.
Talent on paper doesn’t always equate to talent on the field but so there’s always reason for pause when you read something. However, what makes this group of rankings stand out is that we’re discussing talent that has already made its way to the field and produced. That means expectations should be high for each of the offenses mentioned in the rankings but perhaps none higher than the one in Norman, Oklahoma.
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