February 6, 2008

Oklahoma's Best Junior

To anyone who has been paying attention the last two years there probably isn't much suspense about who will be this year's pick as SoonerScoop.com's Oklahoma Junior of the year.

For the class of 2009 it's Midwest City (Okla.) Carl Albert running back David Oku who rushed for 1,628 yards on just 182 carries (nine yards per carry) and 20 touchdowns. The 5-foot-8, 176-pound back from the East side of Oklahoma City has been talked about since rushing for nearly 1,000 yards as a freshman in just half of a season.

Oku has a reputation as one of the state's biggest talkers but the only people talking more than he is; his opponents.

"He is amazing, that guy does thing that you just can't hardly believe," said Greg Brown, another talented junior from Bixby, Okla. "He is stronger than you expect him to be and of course is tough to bring down in the open field.

"We beat his team (in the 5A state semi-finals) but it didn't have anything to do with him."

Brown's comments are just due to the friendship of the two players Oku averaged almost 11 yards a carry against one of Oklahoma's best defenses with 196 yards rushing in the Titans disappointing 37-31 loss.

Currently ranked as the nation's No. 18 prospect, Oku says the accolades and individual awards are nice but makes no denial that he'd have gladly traded roles with his tight end buddy from South Tulsa.

"Man, it's an honor to be awarded but my junior year was disappointing because we didn't win state," Oku said. "Individually I really don't think of it that way. It's always a team effort with me.

"I wish I could have done more, I thought I could help in our passing game. I know everyone in the world asks to be put out there, I just felt like I could accomplish it. I wouldn't say it if I didn't think I could help. Basically I wish I could have helped the team more in the receiving game."

Over the past few years the state of Oklahoma has produced any number of talented players but truly elite level backs have been somewhat absent in recent years. The class of 2009 should alleviate that as Oku heads a group of in-state backs that could see more than six backs sign division one scholarship offers.

Honorable Mention: Jeremy Smith of Tulsa Union, Gabe Lynn of Jenks, Timothy Flanders of Midwest City, and Booker T. Washington's Michael Doctor.

Sophomore of the Year: Dominique Jones, DT, Midwest City

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