OU v LSU Peach Bowl

OU’s Jalen Redmond forces LSU quarterback Joe Burrow to fumble during the 2019 Peach Bowl in Atlanta.

Just making it all the way through spring and summer practices has been a win for Jalen Redmond.

And no, it wasn’t a win just because he made it through the grueling workouts devised by Oklahoma’s new strength and conditioning coach Jerry Schmidt. Redmond, a redshirt junior, has battled through injuries every offseason since he arrived on campus.

In his four years at the program, the five-star recruit has played in 24 games with 11 starts and has played just one full season. This past spring, he was finally able to participate in his first spring game since arriving in Norman in 2018.

“I feel like it’s going to be a good year for me,” Redmond said at Oklahoma’s local media day on Tuesday. “As long as I keep staying healthy and keep taking care of my body, there’s no telling what I can do.”

Redmond missed all but three games of his freshman season due to blood clots. The next season, he appeared in 13 games and led the team in sacks with 5.5, despite starting four games.

In 2020, Redmond chose to opt-out of the season due to COVID-19. Injuries plagued him again last season when he went down with a knee injury against Nebraska, and was forced to miss five games in the middle of the season.

Last season, Redmond came away with eight tackles for loss and was fourth on the team 3.5 sacks while appearing in just eight games. During the offseason, Schmidt and his staff told Redmond they wanted him to put on more weight.

Now weighing 295 pounds, Redmond says his body is feeling as good as it ever has at this point in the year.

“I feel better than I did when I was 280,” Redmond said. “That’s thanks to the strength staff, they’re doing an amazing job. You can feel the difference and you can look in the mirror and tell the difference, it’s crazy.”

The defensive tackle, who has been playing at about 280-285 pounds for most of his collegiate career, said the decision to add weight surprised him initially. Redmond didn’t have prototypical defensive tackle size, but was able to make up for it with his long arms and quickness.

“I’ve always been a basketball player,” Redmond said. “I didn’t know how good I could move with this weight. It ended up happening quick, and without me even knowing I was 290 (pounds), and I was like ‘Dang, I’m a little heavy’ but it’s all fitting in.”

Redmond is officially listed at 298 pounds on the roster, but said he’s now back down to 295 pounds.

The extra weight should make Redmond more effective at clogging up the middle of the field. If he’s truly able to retain some of his athleticism, he could be a versatile weapon for defensive coordinator Ted Roof.

“I’m expecting big things out of him,” Roof said. “He’s really been working on his technique. He’s a fantastic pass-rusher and has improved his run technique as well. But he continues to work and just listen and take coaching. He’s very coachable and very talented so we’re just trying to continue work to get better and not stay the same.”

The Sooners begin fall practice on Friday.

Tarik Masri is a sports reporter for The Transcript covering OU athletics and area sports. You can reach him by emailing tarik@normantranscript.com

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