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Thursday, May 2, 2013
Crimson Countdown: WR Durron Neal

By Brandon Chatmon

Over the summer months, SoonerNation will take a closer look at each player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. We will analyze each player’s impact on the program since they arrived on campus, their potential impact this fall and their long-term impact in the daily series. Starting with No. 1 Kendal Thompson, the series will go in numerical order until our final analysis of No. 99 Chaz Nelson.

No. 5 Durron Neal
Sophomore receiver, 5-11, 201 pounds

Durron Neal
Sophomore Durron Neal could see much more time for the Sooners in 2013.
Impact thus far: Neal was the player most impacted by the late addition of Justin Brown and Jalen Saunders last summer. He went from a receiver the Sooners likely would have had to lean on to an afterthought through no fault of his own. He impressed in preseason camp with his playmaking ability but played spot duty in nine games, recording just four receptions for 62 yards.

Expectations for 2013: OU needs someone to emerge as a playmaker on the outside and Neal could be the guy. He showed signs of being a playmaker in the spring game with two receptions for 44 yards and one touchdown. Even if he doesn’t become a starter, he should be a rotation player at receiver.

Best-case scenario in 2013: Neal shows why he was highly regarded out of high school and emerges as a receiving threat on the outside. With Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard excelling in the middle of the field, Neal has the talent to take advantage of single coverage on the outside.

Worst-case scenario in 2013: He loses the competition for playing time and rarely sees the field as a sophomore while fellow young receivers such as Trey Metoyer and Derrick Woods excel.

Future impact: Neal should be a electric playmaker in crimson and cream at some point, even if it’s not this season. He’s shown signs that he can make a difference at this level but simply needs to hone his overall game to become a core contributor.

SoonerNation's evaluation grade for Neal: B-. He showed enough to play himself out of a redshirt season but never made a impact as a freshman. He seems to be on the path to being an impact player but he needs to show it on the field to earn a higher grade.

SoonerNation’s development grade for Neal: D. The Sooners missed out on opportunities to get Neal much needed experience in some blowout wins in 2012. That experience would have proved invaluable this fall. Only the fact you can see Neal's improvement from last September to this spring keeps this from being an F.