There was one thing the Oklahoma defensive coaches kept saying time and time again. That’s a layup. This is a layup.
Because when it comes to transfer defensive lineman Rondell Bothroyd and his ability, there are expectations for many layups in 2023.
Bothroyd, who was a star and captain at Wake Forest, is headed to Norman for one season and to make the most of it in every way possible.
When he met with head coach Brent Venables and defensive line coaches Todd Bates and Miguel Chavis, it’s what they kept emphasizing.
“They kept pointing out this is where you can make the plays,” Bothroyd said. “All the plays you made at Wake, and here are some more layups you can make.”
It’s going to be interesting to see how the defensive end position shakes out at OU. There’s the promise and potential of five-star mid-year enrollee P.J. Adebawore. Then there’s the increasing development of guys like Reggie Grimes and Ethan Downs, among others.
But OU went big into the portal in bringing in Bothroyd and former Oklahoma State defensive end Trace Ford. The more, the merrier. The better the competition, the better the group.
“You could see Coach Venables is a genius,” Bothroyd said. “Their track record is big, just the way they talk about football. Their track record is the most eye-opening.”
Interestingly enough, Bothroyd said the coaches showed a lot of film from Clemson. It’s another indicator that while 2022 was a starting point, it wasn’t the standard these coaches want in Norman going forward. It’s what he remembered playing vs. Clemson when he was at Wake.
“They dominated people,” Bothroyd said. “It felt like you get off the field and next thing you know you’re back on the field. It was cool to see the other side of that when I watched film with them. You just see the dominance, which I think is gonna be the best part of my game when I get here.”
Bothroyd had 30 tackles and six sacks last season with two forced fumbles, and he was in a position some portal guys will find themselves. Do you enter the NFL Draft, believing you’ve done enough work to get selected? Or do you test the portal waters and see what else is out there?
Bothroyd chose the latter. And in a quick, accelerated process, OU became the spot.
“I didn’t have to come back for this last year,” Bothroyd said. “But there is that trust, a mutual trust and honesty. I was close to jumping to the Draft, but I had a lot of people talking about this one year can help make your name go higher in the Draft.
“I didn’t have much time to make a decision. It was right away, reached out and texted and worked out a visit. It made the process a little tough, but it worked out.”
He said he was a little surprised at how beautiful the Norman campus is. After watching film and talking with the coaches, he knew. After talking with his mother and grandma, everybody was in agreement. Time to be a Sooner.
“They were very honest with us. My family liked that,” Bothroyd said.
Honesty is the best policy, and the honest truth might be to see what else Bothroyd can do. The perception is going to be about Bothroyd being a defensive end, but he knows if he can show the ability to play at tackle, it will help.
The more versatility, the better the chances at the next level.
Bothroyd checks the boxes for what Venables has been pursuing in the portal. A mix of high-character and production on the field. It’s not always easy for a transfer to walk into a locker room and try to command it, but it’s something Bothroyd is open toward if it’s needed.
“I think it’s expected,” Bothroyd said. “I was a captain at Wake. I have that in my bag. I think that’s another reason why we’re all getting closer. We’re all expecting to be great.”