Who will step up in the secondary for Oklahoma?

Here's a look at a few players who weren't significant contributors a year ago who will figure heavily into the 2014 mix.

Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Ahmad Thomas.

Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports

Quentin Hayes will start at strong safety, Zack Sanchez will be at cornerback. Julian Wilson could be at nickelback. 

Past that? Good question.

When it comes to the secondary, the Sooners have a lot of talent, but where it goes and who plays, is still up for consideration. 

Lots of questions about lots of positions in the secondary heading into the season. Here's a look at a few players who weren't significant contributors a year ago who will figure heavily into the 2014 mix.

Hatari Byrd, So., S

Byrd was put into a number of spots last year, partly because he was athletic enough to try different positions  and partly because the Sooners didn't know where to put him. Safety seems to be the best fit.

Byrd got in five games last season and had three tackles -- not quite the showing coaches and others projected for the 6-1, 201-pounder. He was a four-star recruit out of high school, but never really did get settled. Remember, it was this time a season ago when Byrd said he was promised a starting spot by defensive coaches if he signed at OU. Byrd later rescinded that statement, but well see this season if Byrd can get some more time on the field.

Cortez Johnson, Jr., CB

Johnson was penciled in to be a starter a season ago but after a minor offseason mistake, the transfer from Arizona never really saw much action. He played in 10 games last season, starting two, and had 16 tackles. At Arizona two seasons ago, Johnson started two games and played eight as a freshman.

Johnson will get a new chance to prove himself this season and with the departure of Aaron Colvin to the NFL Johnson should be a front-runner for the starting corner spot, opposite Sanchez.

Ahmad Thomas, So., DB

Thomas didn't get too involved last season as a freshman, despite a lot of hype before getting to OU. He did play some special teams and got in on 12 games and made nine tackles.

This season, he could see some time at nickleback or at safety -- he played both in the spring game. Thomas did get in against Alabama on defense, so coaches clearly were impressed by his ability a season ago. 

Stanvon Taylor, So., CB

Taylor got in all 13 games a season ago, starting one. He had just four tackles, but has a chance to realize some of his potential this season.

Sanchez will likely be the backup behind Sanchez.

Dakota Austin, So, CB

The freshman played in five games last season, registering four tackles. Austin will, along with Taylor, be in the mix behind Sanchez at cornerback. 

Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK