Oklahoma Sooners’ Top 10 Returning Players in 2024 Include Danny Stutsman, Nic Anderson

    Brent Venables leads the Oklahoma Sooners from the Big 12 into the SEC, and the top 10 returning players look to navigate new territory in 2024.

    Brent Venables and the Oklahoma Sooners head into the SEC in what will be an interesting year. Are they ready for the challenge? We’ll find out soon enough, and the Sooners’ top 10 returning players this year give Oklahoma fans some excitement heading into an uncertain situation.

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    Oklahoma Sooners’ Top 10 Returners in 2024

    Analyzing the returning players at every school is a difficult task in the transfer portal area. As such, we’ve included transfer-portal athletes on each team’s roster page to open spring camp in addition to the rostered players from last year.

    10) Jalil Farooq, WR

    Most of the pressure for the offense falls on the quarterback, but there will be plenty of weapons at the other skill position. Wide receiver should be especially deep as they return five of their top seven pass catchers from 2023.

    Jalil Farooq now has two years of experience under his belt, and last year was a good one with 694 yards and two touchdowns. While Seth Littrell takes over as offensive coordinator with Jeff Lebby headed to Mississippi State, the offense shouldn’t have trouble transitioning. The passing attack should still be explosive under a new play caller.

    9) Billy Bowman Jr., S

    One thing that must do better if the Sooners want to thrive in the SEC is defending the pass. Venables’ unit finished 112th in pass defense last year, which will spell trouble for this team in a more challenging conference. Fortunately, they have experience returning.

    Billy Bowman Jr. enters his third year as a starter for the Sooners’ secondary, and last year was his best yet. He led the team with six interceptions, increasing his career total to nine, and also posted a career-high 63 tackles and three tackles for loss.

    8) Gavin Sawchuk, RB

    Even with the talent returning in the passing attack, the Sooners still want to run the football efficiently. Gavin Sawchuk led the team in multiple statistical categories last year in his first season with the program, and his efficiency needs to return for the Sooners to succeed.

    He averaged 6.2 yards per carry last year but must do the same thing against better defenses in 2024. Now that he’s the undisputed back for the offense, we get to see a full year of carries for him. If he improves upon last year, the Sooners will be competitive.

    7) Jackson Arnold, QB

    What should we expect from the passing attack this year? We know there are weapons out wide, but can the quarterback distribute the ball to them efficiently? Littrell must get his group on the same page, starting with Jackson Arnold.

    There was plenty of buzz surrounding Arnold last year as a backup, but some of that died down after the Alamo Bowl. Turnovers plagued his performance against Arizona, though he did manage to throw for 361 yards in the loss. If he can take care of the ball better, the passing attack will be just fine.

    6) Jaren Kanak, LB

    With most of the attention on Danny Stutsman, the Sooners needed other linebackers to step up around him. They’ve found multiple options and have good depth as they head into the SEC.

    MORE: 2024 SEC Power Rankings 

    Jaren Kanak enters his fourth season with the Sooners, and he already has 26 games of experience, posting 86 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and two sacks. Teams will try to take Stutsman out of the play as much as possible, leaving guys like Kanak on an island at times to make the play.

    5) Andrel Anthony, WR

    Let’s not forget that Andrel Anthony was the Sooners’ top receiver before he got hurt six games into the season. The former Michigan transfer caught 27 passes for 429 yards and one touchdown before he went down, and it will be interesting to see how he bounces back from injury.

    Anthony’s speed jumps out on film, which we saw during his time with the Wolverines. He was just starting a special season with the Sooners, and now he’s hoping to return to that form in 2024. Again, QB Arnold has weapons, so he just needs to get the ball to his guys and let them go to work.

    4) Ethan Downs, DE

    The Sooners did a good job disrupting opposing offenses on the ground, but one area of improvement will be getting to the quarterback. They finished 11th in tackles for loss last year but only 82nd in sacks. It starts with the defensive line, but guys like Ethan Downs can help this group take a step forward in that department.

    Downs has made strides in his development during his time in Norman, and fans hope he can become even more disruptive this year. He has 23 tackles for loss in his three seasons with the Sooners but has produced just 9.5 sacks. If he finds another gear in 2024, the Oklahoma defense should flourish.

    3) Deion Burks, WR

    One of the most explosive players in the transfer portal, Sooners fans should be excited about what Deion Burks brings to their offense. Even with a deep group, Burks should find his way into the starting lineup thanks to his eye-popping skill set.

    While he didn’t show it consistently last year, Burks was a dangerous weapon for Purdue. In Littrell’s system, he should find that he can make even more of an impact with his new team. While he didn’t return kicks last year, he averaged 19.9 per kick return in 2022, so keep an eye on that as well.

    2) Nic Anderson, WR

    It shouldn’t be a surprise to see Nic Anderson thrive after what we witnessed his brother, Rodney, do at Oklahoma. The Sooners receiver finished second on the team with 798 yards but did so on just 38 catches for an astounding 21 yards per catch. He also added 10 touchdowns.

    At 6’4″ and 213 pounds, Anderson is a problem out wide. His size stresses smaller defensive backs, but he also has the speed and quickness to beat his man. He should expect another big season in Littrell’s fast-paced offense. If he can keep the efficiency up, it will be one for the record books.

    1) Danny Stutsman, LB

    Brent Venables coached plenty of talented defenders in his days, so it’s tough to stand out on that list. His defenses at Clemson produced a ton of NFL talent, and he’s already doing the same with the Sooners. Danny Stutsman surprised the fanbase by returning this year, and he’ll be a steadying force for a defense entering new territory.

    KEEP READING: 2024 Oklahoma Sooners Football Roster

    All Stutsman’s done since arriving on campus is tackle. He’s produced 266 tackles and 28 tackles for loss, and he’s looking to record his third consecutive 100-tackle season in 2024.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!


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