Bob Stoops announced Monday evening that quarterback Baker Mayfield, running back Samaje Perine, linebacker Jordan Evans and safety Ahmad Thomas will serve as 2016 team captains. The players were selected in a team vote this past weekend.
"These four guys have been excellent leaders for us on and off the field and represent our program in an extremely positive manner with the example they set every day," said Stoops, whose team is ranked No. 3 in the preseason AP and Amway Coaches polls. "They also have a great pulse of the team and will govern everyone in a positive way."
A redshirt junior, Mayfield, the 2015 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and Sporting News' national player of the year, threw for 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns last season against only seven interceptions. He added 405 rushing yards and seven scores on the ground while finishing fourth in Heisman Trophy voting.
Perine ran for 1,349 yards a year ago as a sophomore with 16 touchdowns. He was named to the All-Big 12 First Team and received All-America recognition from Phil Steele (third team) and Sports Illustrated (honorable mention). The Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree has 3,062 career rushing yards and needs 1,056 to tie Billy Sims as OU's all-time leader.
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The lone returning starting linebacker for OU, Evans will look to build on a productive junior season when he tallied 83 tackles (his 7.5 stops per game ranked sixth in the league), including 5.0 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack, four pass breakups, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. He was named All-Big 12 Second Team by Big 12 coaches and has finished second on the team in tackles each of the last two years.
An All-Big 12 Second Team pick last year and a first-team all-conference selection by Phil Steele, Thomas started all 13 games last year (eight at free safety and five at strong safety). Now a senior, he registered 75 tackles for the second year in a row to rank third on the squad. He also intercepted three passes and racked up 33 return yards last season.
OU opens the year by facing the 15th-ranked Houston Cougars on Sept. 3 at 11 a.m. CT at NRG Stadium, home of the NFL's Houston Texans. The home season, inside the newly-renovated Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, begins Sept. 10 versus ULM at 6 p.m. CT.
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