Oklahoma Sooners: Kameel Jackson

Grading the class: 2011

February, 5, 2014
Oklahoma is poised to add several recruits into the fold on Wednesday with an eye on creating the foundation of a future championship squad. Yet, recruiting is an inexact science as some projected stars rise to meet those high expectations while others struggle to make a difference in the Big 12. Thus, it’s the perfect time to look back at OU’s past five recruiting classes. On Wednesday, we begin with a review of the Class of 2011 including recruits who exceeded expectations, recruits who were solid signees and ones who were complete busts.

There was a lot of hope for this class when these players signed in February 2011, but the class as a whole has let down the Sooners. The class was ranked No. 11 nationally by ESPN.com.

Transcendent figures

Linebacker Franklin Shannon: The No. 48 safety in the nation, Shannon made an immediate impact after a redshirt season. He forced his way onto the field as a redshirt freshman in 2012 and led OU in tackles as a sophomore in 2013. Shannon started in 15 games in his first two seasons and has 132 tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss, heading into his junior year.


[+] EnlargeOklahoma
Jackson Laizure/Getty ImagesDefensive tackle Jordan Phillips is one of the few players who has panned out from Oklahoma's 2011 recruiting class.
Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips: Phillips was emerging as a major force in the middle of the Sooners defense before a back injury this season. The No. 119 player in the ESPN 150 in 2011, Phillips has the talent to exceed expectations if he returns to full health.

Defensive tackle Jordan Wade: He replaced the other Jordan after a grayshirt season, and then redshirted in 2012. As a redshirt freshman in 2013, Wade was one of the heroes of OU’s 11-win season as he stepped in for Phillips and held his own in the middle of OU’s defense. The No. 103 player in the ESPN 150, Wade has a bright future ahead of him.

Completely missed the mark

Offensive lineman Nathan Hughes: The No. 101 player in the ESPN 150, Hughes played several positions before leaving the program before the 2013 season.

Running back Brandon Williams: The No. 35 player in the ESPN 150, Williams made an impact as a freshman but elected to transfer to Texas A&M after his first season.

Running back Danzel Williams: The No. 64 player in the ESPN 150, Williams redshirted in 2011, then left the program before the 2013 season. He never made an impact for the Sooners.

Overall grade: D-

More than half of this class is no longer in the program, including both Williams, Hughes, receiver Trey Metoyer, receiver Kameel Jackson, quarterback Kendal Thompson, linebacker Kellen Jones and defensive back Bennett Okotcha. Only Shannon and a pair of Jordans kept this class from being an F in one of the worst classes of the Bob Stoops era.
A glimpse at the attrition rate at the University of Oklahoma removes the fog hovering over some of the major question marks the Sooners face heading into 2013. OU has had some ill-timed departures, forcing the Sooners to rework their recruiting game plan with the hope of having a balanced roster heading into the upcoming season.

Triple Option: Stars of the scrimmage 

August, 13, 2012
Every weekday morning, a member of the SoonerNation gives his take on three things happening in the Sooner sports world.

1. In just a couple of weeks, things are looking up atthe receiver position. Like, way up. Despite the graduation of All-American Ryan Broyles, suspensions to veterans Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks and the dismissal of Kameel Jackson, the WR position has been one of the strongest through the first two weeks of camp. Penn State transfer Justin Brown is vying for a starting role, Trey Metoyer has carried over his strong spring into the fall and other freshmen such as slot receiver Sterling Shepard appear ready to contribute immediately. Should Fresno State transfer Jalen Saunders, who reeled in more than 1,000 yards receiving last season, get a waiver from the NCAA to play right away, look out. This could be OU's deepest WR corps since 2008.

2. Blake Bell is really beginning to assert himself as the team's No. 2 quarterback. He and Saunders were two of the stars in Saturday's scrimmage, connecting on a long touchdown. Bell and Saunders hooked up for another TD. The Belldozer has also been unstoppable so far in camp. The Sooners have yet to name a No. 2 QB. But if they do before the season starts, look for it to be Bell.

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Every weekday morning, a member of the SoonerNation gives his take on three things happening in the Sooner sports world.

1. Snagging Penn State wideout Justin Brown was a huge coup for the Sooners. Brown gives OU another big, fast wide receiver capable of stretching defenses. But don't automatically assume that Brown starts for the Sooners. Kenny Stills is a lock to start, and the way Trey Metoyer has performed so far in practice, it's going to be extremely difficult for Brown to beat him out either. Sterling Shepard is a better fit in the slot as a third receiver than Brown, who is an outside wideout. The Sooners could slide Stills to the slot on occasion, and swing Brown in on the outside. But at this point, it's very possible the Sooners start two freshmen -- Metoyer and Shepard -- in the opener against UTEP.

2. Even without Courtney Gardner or Kameel Jackson, the WR corps no longer looks like a thin group. And that's not even including Fresno State transfer Jalen Saunders, who is hoping for an NCAA waiver to play right away. The Sooners have four options at the wideout spot in Stills, Metoyer, Brown and LaColtan Bester, whom the coaching staff seems to be rather high on. In the slot, the Sooners have Shepard and could use Stills and scatbacks Roy Finch and Brennan Clay there as well. When (if) they return to the field, Jaz Reynolds will only deepen the wideout spot, and Trey Franks could help solidify the slot. And if Saunders is somehow granted a waiver? Look out.

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Oklahoma sophomore wide receiver Kameel Jackson has been dismissed from the team, head coach Bob Stoops announced Saturday.

Since the spring, Jackson had been suspended indefinitely due in part to issues in the classroom. Earlier in the week, Stoops said that he would review Jackson’s standing after Jackson completed the summer academic session.

Before his suspension became public, Jackson had even tweeted that he would be transferring to Texas A&M. But he returned to OU with a goal of working his way back onto the field.

Jackson caught 12 passes for 165 yards as a true freshman last season. He earned the start in the Insight Bowl after injuries to Ryan Broyles and Jaz Reynolds.

While Jackson kept his scholarship during his suspension, receivers Reynolds and Trey Franks were stripped of theirs. OU put Reynolds and Franks back on scholarship earlier in the week, but Stoops said they would be suspended “multiple” games.

Buried beneath the news that center Ben Habern’s football career is over was the announcement that coach Bob Stoops has reinstated receivers Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks as well as reserve safety Quentin Hayes.

All three players will be able to practice with the team, but remain suspended indefinitely from games. A third receiver, Kameel Jackson remains off the roster, but he could be reinstated after the summer academic session ends.

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Really sad, surprising news out of Oklahoma today. Here's our news story:
Oklahoma senior Ben Habern's career is over.

The Sooner center won't return to the team after offseason neck surgery that fused together two vertebrae, despite expectations that he would return at full strength this fall.


"Our coaching staff knows this was a difficult decision for Ben," [coach Bob] Stoops said in a statement. "Ben has been a consummate leader for our team, both on and off the field. We appreciate the toughness that Ben has displayed, and we wish him the very best as he completes his education at OU."

First things first: Absolutely hate to see this for Habern. I covered the Sooners for The Oklahoman during Habern's freshman year, and he's consistently been a great guy to cover from that point through just last week, when he was chosen as a representative for Oklahoma at Big 12 Media Days.

Here's the video he took time to shoot for us. (Stick around until the end).

It's truly shocking news. Habern must have been thinking about quitting, but didn't know until just recently. If Oklahoma knew Habern's status was in doubt, it's highly unlikely he would have represented the Sooners at media days.

Habern's dealt with neck and back issues throughout his career, which also featured a broken ankle in 2009 and a broken right arm last season that forced him out of five games.

His experience and leadership simply can't be replaced this season. Oklahoma's fantastic offensive line takes a huge hit with his loss.

As for his spot on the depth chart? Look for guard Gabe Ikard (one of the league's best overall linemen) to slide over to play center, and junior Adam Shead to move up and replace Ikard at guard. The Sooners can handle that. Don't be surprised if freshman Ty Darlington gets some time at center, too.

Still, Habern has been around for everything coming into this year, and been a stalwart at center for the past three seasons. He saw the 2009 collapse up close. He was integral in the rebound for a Big 12 title in 2010. He learned from the pressure of 2011.

He talked about his neck surgery at Big 12 media days last week, but gave zero indication he was even thinking about quitting.

Now, he has.

It's a sad story, no doubt, but Oklahoma has no choice but to move on.

As Habern moves on, here's hoping for the best for him. I'm confident he'll excel in his future endeavors.

Suspended players reinstated

In Wednesday's statement, Stoops also said that receiver Trey Franks, defensive back Quentin Hayes and receiver Jaz Reynolds were each reinstated from offseason suspensions, but only for preseason practice. Their availability for Oklahoma's season opener at UTEP on Sept. 1 was still undecided. Receiver Kameel Jackson was not reinstated, and his suspension will be re-evaluated "at the conclusion the current academic session."

Stoops also confirmed previous reports that wide receiver Courtney Gardner and offensive lineman Will Latu would not be available this season.

Roundtable: Sooners to watch in preseason

August, 1, 2012
With practice starting this week, give one Oklahoma player to watch during fall camp and why.

Overshadowed by the Ryan Broyles injury, the offense really missed Dominique Whaley the second half of the 2011 season. Whaley, who suffered a broken ankle at Kansas State, has been cleared to resume football activities. But even Bob Stoops has admitted the Sooners won't know how close Whaley is to his old self until he puts on the pads. Whaley gives OU the between-the-tackles back they sorely missed last November which had previously took pressure off the passing game. If he is the back he was last season, the Sooners will be that much tougher to stop.

- Jake Trotter

It's pretty simple for me. Trey Metoyer is the guy to watch because I love watching him play football. He's a special talent who can do special things, why wouldn't you want to watch him? Another reason to keep an eye on the true freshman is because I believe it is entirely possible he is considered one of the best players on the team as Big 12 play opens and emerges as an offensive threat who Big 12 defensive coordinators have to game plan against as November approaches. How Metoyer has handled his spring success and how he handles the demands of preseason camp could tell us how quickly his on-field production mirrors his overall potential and upside.

[+] EnlargeDominique Whaley
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiQuestions still remain about how healthy Dominique Whaley will be for the Sooners in 2012.
- Brandon Chatmon

Regardless of what happens with suspended wide receivers Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks and Kameel Jackson, the name to watch in August is freshman Sterling Shepard. From all reports, Shepard has come in and put in the work in the summer and done everything possible to develop a good relationship with Landry Jones. If any of the suspended receivers do return, the spotlight won’t be on Shepard as much. However, he is somebody who will embrace the spotlight. And as an OU legacy, Shepard is ready to add his name to the Shepard lore. His father and his two uncles both played for the Sooners. What set Shepard apart at the high school level was his competitiveness. And it was never on display more than whenever there was a jump ball. Shepard is not the biggest receiver at 5-foot-10, but with 40-inch vertical leap and timing, he gets balls that you just simply never thought he could. It will be tough task, no doubt, but don’t be surprised to see Shepard in the starting lineup Sept. 1 at UTEP. If he’s not there, it won’t be for lack of effort.

- Bob Przybylo

Middle linebacker Tom Wort, who fought through multiple injuries in 2011 and had an up-and-down season, could be the Sooners' most important defensive player in 2012. With Travis Lewis gone to graduation, Wort will step into the role of OU's primary defensive leader, a role that's desperately needed for the Sooners to improve. Wort, who lost a close companion and position coach in Brent Venables this spring, will need to take the reigns of new defensive coordinator Mike Stoops' revamped scheme, which will likely put the linebacker in a better position to succeed. If Wort buys in and excels, the defense will be much improved around him.

- Dane Beavers
[+] EnlargeTrey Metoyer
Mark D. Smith/US PresswireFreshman receiver Trey Metoyer has already been penciled in as a starter for the Sooners in 2012.
All eyes in Stillwater will be on Oklahoma State’s true freshman starting quarterback, Wes Lunt. Unrelated to Lunt, Bob Stoops was asked about how playing true freshman receivers this season compares to playing freshman quarterback Landry Jones in 2009.

“Inexperienced quarterback is a lot tougher,” Stoops said. “Remember, we were fumbling snaps. In the end, I think this has a better chance to be polished up quicker, all being that Landry has so much experience, the line has so much experience.”

Jones is entering his fourth season as the starter, and the offensive line returns four starters. But following suspensions to Trey Franks, Jaz Reynolds and Kameel Jackson, the Sooners will likely play as many as three true freshman wideouts: Sterling Shepard, Durron Neal and Trey Metoyer. Stoops said even with so much youth at wideout, the offense shouldn’t miss much of a beat.

“We get a couple of these younger receivers to come along,” Stoops said, “we can be doing what we’re used to doing.”
Bob Przybylo answers readers' questions about Oklahoma football and basketball recruiting in his mailbag every week. Got a question for Bob? Send it to his mailbag at bprzybyloespn@gmail.com.

SoonerNation member saptownsooner asks: Does anyone else feel that OU is bypassing some quality in-state recruits? It seems like Arkansas has done a great job in recent years of raiding Oklahoma talent. I trust our coaching staff and I would have to think they feel they can get better players, but the Razorbacks’ recent success speaks for itself. Obviously, UA's coaches feel these guys can play in the SEC. Am I missing something?

Bob Przybylo: I don’t think you’re missing anything, but I also don’t think there have been too many instances where OU completely dropped the ball with an in-state recruit.

[+] EnlargeJordan Smallwood
Bob Przybylo/ESPN.comJordan Smallwood is the state's top receiver for the class of 2013.
The Sooners have the commits of three of the top four Oklahoma high school recruits for the class and have already offered three 2014 prospects with the potential for several more.

It’s a tough tightrope to walk when you have a quality recruit whose dream has been to play for OU his entire life. You don’t question his “want to,” but you’re not always sure that he “can” play for the Sooners.

There are a few in the 2013 class who have expressed the ultimate desire to play for Bob Stoops. But not everybody who wants to play for OU is talented enough to play for OU.

But then there are times recruits slip through the cracks. You know I feel Jordan Smallwood (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) was one of those kids, but the Sooners coaching staff realized his potential and snatched him up.

And sometimes it’s not questioning the quality of the recruit, but how they fit into your system. However, what I do think is fair to say is the Oklahoma high school class for 2013 is a lot better and deeper than what was originally thought.

Dean in Oklahoma City asks: Where is the fire with Jay Norvell? I think he’s settling right now with these first two receivers.

Bob Przybylo: After what has happened with Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks and Kameel Jackson, would you blame Norvell for erring on the side of caution?

Austin Bennett (Manvel, Texas/Manvel) and Smallwood are both three-star recruits, but so far there hasn’t been any mention of a potential character issue with either. These are two receivers who definitely want to be Sooners and want to prove to others they shouldn’t be doubted.

The other thing, as pointed out by several on the forum, is that this might allow Norvell to go for the home run. OU is in the mix for ESPN 150 prospects Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee) and Alvin Bailey (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) and other four-star recruits.

With two firm commits already locked down, this could give Norvell the chance to target that No. 1 receiver he believes will benefit the program most.

Barry in Dallas asks: I’ve been pretty harsh on the staff for their approach this season. But if we get Hardreck Walker and Justin Manning, OK, I was wrong. How good are our chances to get both of them?

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Every weekday morning, a member of the SoonerNation gives his take on three things happening in the Sooner sports world.

1. The OU bats picked the worst time to completely disappear. Maybe the rain delay will give the Sooners time to refocus at the plate. The pitching, especially Jonathan Gray, has been terrific in Columbia. But with Gray, Dillon Overton and Jordan John having already thrown through 1 1/2 games, the Sooners will have to wake up at the plate to have a realistic chance of emerging out of South Carolina. The Sooners started slow offensively in the Charlottesville Regional last weekend, only to explode to carry OU through the loser's bracket. With sluggers like Matt Oberste, Max White and Cody Reine, the Sooners are capable of getting hot in a hurry, even against South Carolina. But they are running out of time.

2. During his caravan stops, Bob Stoops was noticeably forceful in answering questions about suspended receivers Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks. "(They) have been removed from scholarship and we aren't counting on any of them," Stoops said. Anything is possible, but it doesn't sound promising we'll see either Reynolds or Franks in a Sooners uniform this season -- and maybe again.

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Crimson Countdown: Kameel Jackson 

May, 25, 2012
Over the summer months, SoonerNation will take a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. We'll 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 Tony Jefferson, the series will go in numerical order until our final analysis of No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 18 Kameel Jackson
Receiver, 6-foot, 195 pounds

Impact so far: Jackson played his way out of a redshirt season and started two games as a true freshman, finishing with 12 receptions for 165 yards. He impressed the coaching staff immediately with his competitiveness and desire. The Sooners turned to him to step up after Ryan Broyles injury and he responded, starting two of OU’s final four games.

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Should OU fans be worried about receivers?

May, 21, 2012
Every Monday during the summer, the SoonerNation staff answers a roundtable question. Leave a comment or talk about it in our "There's Only One" forum.

Today's question: On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the most worried), how worried should fans be about Oklahoma's receiver position in 2012?

Five. I'm not worried about the talent. I am worried about the inexperience, the uncertainty and potentially the depth. Kenny Stills has the upside of a bona fide No. 1 receiver, but outside of him, nobody else that's unsuspended at the moment really has a firm grasp of the playbook. That's a scary proposition for an offense that leans heavily on the pass. The Sooners are banking on Stills returning to freshman form, and true freshman Trey Metoyer has otherworldly potential. But after that, it's a crapshoot. What will become of Jaz Reynolds or Trey Franks? Can Kameel Jackson be counted on? Will Courtney Gardner make it to campus? Will Durron Neal or Sterling Shepard be ready to play as incoming freshmen? Does LaColtan Bester really fit in anywhere? Among all of OU's receivers, the talent is there. After that, who knows?

- Jake Trotter

[+] EnlargeTrey Metoyer
Mark D. Smith/US PresswireReceiver Trey Metoyer is expected to step in and start for the Sooners as a true freshman.
Four. The Sooners should be worried strictly because of the injury bug. A couple of key injuries and the Sooners offense turns toward the Belldozer permanently. OK, that might be a bit over the top, but you get the point. OU is a balanced offense and you need receivers to throw the ball. The Sooners are looking at going into the season with limited numbers at the position. Yet I'm not going higher than four because I think the overall talent at the position has been upgraded and you can't assume someone will get injured -- OU could be injury-free at the position this fall. If the Sooners are, the position has been upgraded. There's no guarantee that the three suspended receivers would have finished among OU's top three receivers in 2012 even if they were in good standing within the program. The spring's developments have lessened the competition and depth among the receivers but not the talent.

- Brandon Chatmon

Eight, but it feels like it is going up with each passing week. The only reason it isn't higher is because of the experience of quarterback Landry Jones. It's going to be a weird transition for Jones after throwing to a familiar face like Ryan Broyles to now throwing it to guys who have never caught a pass in a college football game. You can't question the hunger of high school signees Shepard, Neal and Derrick Woods, but nobody can answer how they're going to respond when the lights come on. Communication will never be more important than it will be for OU's offense in 2012.

- Bob Przybylo

Six. If Gardner makes it to Oklahoma this summer (it's still up in the air Insider), the Sooners will have added seven scholarship receivers since January. Six of those (Metoyer, Gardner, Bester, Neal, Woods and Shepard) are eligible to play in 2012 with Jalen Saunders using a redshirt year after his transfer from Fresno State. That's a ridiculous amount of turnover for the receiving core and fans should be worried about the incoming wideouts' ability to mesh with Jones and learn the playbook. Though the talent is there, can the Sooners be conference title contenders with that many newcomers at a key position? If Gardner doesn't make it to OU, the number only rises.

- Dane Beavers
Oklahoma added the sixth receiver to its 2012 recruiting class with Saturday’s commitment of LaColtan Bester (De Kalb, Miss./East Mississippi CC).

If Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks and Kameel Jackson hadn’t received the message with their indefinite suspensions last week, Bester’s addition should make the message even clearer: The Sooners are moving forward without them.

Bester brings size (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) and good ball skills to the Sooners receiving corps. Most importantly, he brings depth to the position.

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Every weekday morning, a member of the SoonerNation gives his take on three things happening in the Sooner sports world.

1. OU picked up a huge commitment this week in 4-star QB Cody Thomas, who selected the Sooners over a host of other blue-chip programs. LikeLandry Jones, Sam Bradford and Blake Bell, Thomas (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) possesses the prototypical QB size the Sooners usually go after. The big question will be whether Thomas, also an outstanding outfielder, will get drafted high enough that he would choose baseball over football. But this isn't a bit different than the Archie Bradley situation a couple of years ago. Bradley was a legit top 10 baseball prospect. Thomas is not.

2. Earlier this week, wideout Kameel Jackson tweeted that he would be sticking it out in Norman. Jackson previously announced that he would be transferring, then Bob Stoops suspended him along with three others indefinitely. Still, in the last week, the word was that Jackson had a change of heart about remaining at OU. The reason Jackson was suspended originally was for skipping a couple of weeks of class. I don't expect his suspension to be substantial -- his infraction was the least serious of those who were recently suspended -- and if he can get back on the right track with his attendance, in workouts and in the classroom, Jackson could be on the field again for the Sooners sooner rather than later.

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Stoops, Players Want To Effect Change
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops sits down with Gene Wojciechowski to discuss his team's stand against racism.