Position Preview: Special Teams
NORMAN — Fourth-year OU special teams coordinator Jay Boulware gains assistance in 2018 with the addition of assistant head coach for offense and tight ends/H-backs coach Shane Beamer, who spent the last two seasons at Georgia as its special teams coordinator.
Senior Austin Seibert is poised to become OU's all-time leading scorer this season as he lacks 90 points to claim the top spot. He also needs 133 points to tie the all-time FBS scoring record among kickers (he scored 132 last year). The senior from Belleville, Ill., has been a constant on special teams since his arrival in 2015, handling punt and place-kicking duties his entire career, and kickoff duties for the last two seasons.
A second-team All-Big 12 selection as a kicker and an honorable mention All-Big 12 choice as a punter a year ago, Seibert also ranks first in OU history in career PATs made (223), third in career scoring (361) and PAT percentage (.982), fourth in career field goal percentage (.767) and fifth in career field goals made (46) and career punting average (41.8).
Hoping to assist Seibert in the kicking game, perhaps on kickoffs, are newcomers Gabe Brkic and Stephen Johnson. Brkic ranked as the No. 7 kicker and No. 22 punter nationally in the 2018 class by Kohl's Kicking, while Johnson, a sophomore walk-on, transferred to Oklahoma from Blinn College (Texas) and will have three seasons of eligibility with the Sooners. Also on the roster is redshirt freshman place-kicker Calum Sutherland.
Returning as the team's starting holder is redshirt junior Connor McGinnis. The reserve quarterback from Oklahoma City took home the Mortell Holder of the Year Award in 2017 and has served as holder in all 27 games the past two seasons.
Redshirt freshman Reeves Mundschau, rated as the nation's No. 2 punter in the 2017 recruiting class by 247Sports and No. 3 by Kohl's Kicking, will battle Brkic for the backup punting spot after a senior season at Canyon High School (Texas) when he averaged 38.0 yards on 51 punts.
The Sooners must find a replacement at long snapper for four-year starter Wesley Horky, a first-team All-Big 12 selection a season ago by Phil Steele Magazine. Competing for the spot are redshirt freshman Kasey Kelleher and true freshmen Zach Edwards and Jax Wilson.
Oklahoma attempts to make a bigger impact in the return game in 2018 as it recorded zero punt return or kick return touchdowns last season.
Sophomore wideout CeeDee Lamb was the Sooners' leading punt return man in 2017, registering 78 yards on 13 attempts, and is a strong candidate to handle the duty again. Junior speedster Marquise Brown and redshirt junior running back Rodney Anderson could also get looks.
Senior running back Marcelias Sutton served as the team's primary kickoff return man last year, averaging 21.1 yards on 19 returns. Sophomore cornerback Tre Brown, a burner who played in all 14 games in 2017, hopes to see time as another option in the kick return game. Freshmen Jaylon Robinson and Jaquayln Crawford had success in the return game in high school. Robinson, a four-star recruit by Rivals and three-star prospect by 247Sports and ESPN, recorded over 800 return yards during his All Saints Episcopal High School career in Fort Worth, Texas. Crawford, a consensus four-star recruit, tallied over 500 return yards during his high school days at Rockdale High School (Texas).