Oklahoma redshirt junior running back Rodney Anderson is out for the season with a knee injury, the Sooners announced Sunday.
That makes 2018 basically the third full season Anderson will have missed due to injury in his Oklahoma career, after he battled various other ailments. He played in two games in 2015 before a leg injury ended his season. The next year, a fall-camp neck injury held him out all year. But in his first healthy season as a starter, 2017, Anderson shined.
“We’re heartbroken for him,” Lincoln Riley said in a school release. “He’s overcome so much in his career, and if anybody can do it again it’s Rodney.”
Anderson left the Sooners’ game against UCLA on Saturday after a run at the very end of the first quarter. He’d just been gang-tackled by three Bruins defenders, with his body twisting a bit as he went to the ground. He didn’t return to the game.
Anderson flew somewhat under the radar in 2017, despite being the featured back for the country’s highest-flying offense. Baker Mayfield and OU’s passing game drew far more attention, even as Anderson eclipsed 1,400 scrimmage yards and scored 18 touchdowns. In a Week 1 2018 romp against FAU, he carried five times for 100 yards and two scores.
Heading into the year, Anderson was considered a fringe but legitimate Heisman candidate. (If anything worked against him in that race, it’s that he shares an offense with former five-star QB Kyler Murray, who’d be likely to take a lot of votes from him.) Anderson had 50/1 Heisman odds in August, according to offshore bookmaker Bovada.
His co-backups on the OU depth chart are sophomore Trey Sermon and senior Marcelias Sutton. Oklahoma has plenty of talent elsewhere on its offense, but the loss of Anderson makes the unit considerably weaker. More than that, it’s an awful shame for Anderson.