OU head coach Lincoln Riley revealed in a Friday press conference that redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jalen Redmond, who opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, will return to play in 2021.
Redmond was set to be a crucial piece to the Sooners’ defensive line this season before he chose to sit out for the year. The former four-star prospect from Midwest City, Oklahoma, led OU with 6.5 sacks in 2019 while playing in 13 of 14 games.
Health has been the main problem for Redmond since he came to Norman. He played in only three games in 2018 due to a blood clot issue that also kept him out of one contest in 2019, and likely factored into his decision to forgo the 2020 season.
Oklahoma’s defensive line was arguably its strongest position group this season, but with the potential departure of junior defensive end Ronnie Perkins for the NFL, Redmond’s return is a welcome sight. Riley said Redmond even returned to practice in the days leading up to OU’s Cotton Bowl win over Florida.
“We didn't feel like it was the right thing to let him travel to the bowl game since he wasn't with the team the other part of the season, but he actually came back and jumped over there on the scout team, and got some work reps and got some work in,” Riley said. “It was great to see him, great to have him back, so that was a real positive.”