The focus on Wednesday is supposed to be on National Signing Day but things might have changed in a hurry for one College Football Playoff team.
After a number of whispers around Norman about potential suspensions coming at Oklahoma ahead of their semifinal game against No. 1 LSU, SoonerScoop was among a number of outlets to report the names of three fairly key players on the two-deep who will not be playing in the Peach Bowl.
Multiple sources have confirmed to SoonerScoop that Rhamondre Stevenson, Ronnie Perkins and Trejan Bridges have been suspended for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
— SoonerScoop.com (@SoonerScoop) December 18, 2019
The biggest loss of the group is probably Ronnie Perkins, a starter at defensive end and one of the team’s best pass rushers this season as a sophomore with 13.5 tackles for loss. It’s never good to be down a starter in a semifinal game and doubly so when facing off against the Heisman Trophy winner like the Sooners will be doing. Freshman Marcus Stripling, a former top recruit himself, is listed as the next man up but for as good as he is already, he’s not been the kind of impact off the edge that Perkins has been in 2019.
Don’t mistake the loss of tailback Rhamondre Stevenson or wideout Trejan Bridges as anything minor either. While the team has enough depth to make up for the latter, the former has become a key contributor next to Kennedy Brooks, who’s own name was connected to the group of suspended players in earlier reports.
Head coach Lincoln Riley spoke to reporters during his signing day press conference just before SoonerScoop tweeted their report and confirmed that while Brooks would play in the Peach Bowl, he had no comment on the others — even doubling down saying that Brooks will play when specifically asked about Stevenson.
Read into that what you may but that’s as close as the coach will come to saying that the No. 2 tailback is among those sitting out the team’s biggest game of the season. Wednesday may have been a time to focus on Oklahoma’s future with the incoming wave of recruits but given this bit of news, the team’s present seems a lot more pressing at the moment.