Oklahoma Sooners: Trey Franks

State of the program: Receiver

January, 15, 2014
In the next few weeks leading into signing day it’s a great time to take a position-by-position glance at Oklahoma’s returning roster. This series, called State of the Position, will look at the playmakers, up-and-comers and current commitments or targets at each position for the Sooners as recruiting really heats up before signing day on Feb. 5. On Wednesday, we take a closer look at the receiver position.

Starter/contributors: Sterling Shepard (Jr.)

The lone major contributor returning at receiver, Shepard has the skills to be one of the Big 12’s bests in 2014. He finished with 51 receptions for 603 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore. His toughness, quickness and competitive nature will make him part of the foundation of OU’s offense next season. But he’ll need a teammate or two to emerge or risk seeing double coverage for the majority of his junior season. He’s a special player who takes his game to another level in big games.

On the cusp: Durron Neal (Jr.), K.J. Young (redshirt freshman), Derrick Woods (So.), Jordan Smallwood (redshirt freshman), Trey Franks (Sr.)

The Sooners will need a few of these young, talented receivers to transform into productive, skilled playmakers. Neal has yet to emerge as the player he was expected to become when he signed in 2012 but has had moments that displayed his potential.

Woods is one of the better athletes on the squad and contributed on special teams. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him emerge as a receiving option.

Young was one of the stars of the scout team last fall. His hands and quickness have likened comparisons to Sooners’ legend Ryan Broyles, so if Young can continue to develop during the spring and summer he could make an immediate impact.

Smallwood might have played himself out of a redshirt season in 2013 if he hadn’t broken his foot. He’ll bring much needed size and ball skills to the receiver spot.

Dannon Cavil (redshirt freshman) and Austin Bennett (So.) join that foursome as potential impact players. Bennett gives OU another quick slot receiver and Cavil has unmatched size (6-foot-5, 214 pounds) .

Franks brings a veteran presence to the receiving spot but saw limited time at receiver in 2013 after a stint at safety.

On the recruiting trail: Dallis Todd (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada), Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain), Jeffery Mead (Tulsa, Okla./Union)

Todd, the No. 265 player in the ESPN 300, is another big receiver (6-5, 210) who could create mismatches with his size and athleticism. He has terrific feet and surprising speed which could earn him a spot in the rotation, particularly with so many spots to fill.

Much like Todd, Andrews has unusual feet and ball skills for a player his size (6-6, 220). The No. 295 player in the ESPN 300, Andrews could provide another big target in the passing game.

Mead (6-5, 179) is very similar to Todd but more of a raw talent. A three-sport star in high school, Mead’s ball skills could help him become a nightmare matchup on third downs and in the red zone. He has the talent to play immediately but it could be a tough transition into a full-time football player.

Overall Grade: B-

Shepard is the only reason this grade is not much lower. The junior should become one of the Big 12’s top receivers during his third year on campus, so that’s a terrific foundation to build upon. Yet Jay Norvell’s meeting room will be full of inexperienced players who haven’t proven they can excel in Big 12 stadiums. But there are several unique talents on the roster and if two or three of those players develop into playmakers the combination of size, quickness and ball skills among this group could challenge defenses in ways no other Big 12 squad can match.

Sooners' report card: Special teams

December, 18, 2013
Jay Boulware had a solid first season as Oklahoma's special teams coach. The special teams helped win multiple games during OU's march to the Allstate Sugar Bowl yet they weren't a dominant unit that did everything well.

Here is a unit-by-unit report card for the Sooners' special teams:

Placekicking: A. Remember the days when each OU field goal attempt was an adventure? Michael Hunnicutt has put those days in the past. He hit 23 of 26 attempts, including 21 of 22 from inside 40 yards. He also hit 41 of 42 extra point attempts. Hunnicutt’s average attempt came from 33.2 yards, so his long-distance ability wasn’t tested much but his accuracy and ability to be automatic on closer kicks cannot be overlooked. His 23 field goals led the FBS and his 26 field goal attempts was second among FBS kickers.

Punting: C+. Jed Barnett had games where he played a key role in the Sooners winning the field position battle but he didn’t finish among the Big 12 leaders in several of the main punting categories. Barnett averaged 41.64 yards per punt, sixth in the Big 12, and was last in the conference in net punting at 35.17 yards per punt. The junior college transfer did rank No. 3 in the Big 12 in punts inside the 10 yard line (13.6 percent). Barnett wasn’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination but he wasn’t a game-changing weapon either.

Kickoffs: A. Easily the most overlooked contributor on the squad, Nick Hodgson was very good. He led FBS and the Big 12 in yards per kickoff (64.3) while his kickoff touchback percentage (65.6 percent), ranked first in the Big 12 and No. 7 among FBS kickoff specialists. OU decided to focus on simply getting touchbacks and taking opportunities out of the hands of kick returners and Hodgson executed that plan with precision.

Kickoff coverage: C-. The Sooners were bad on kickoff coverage, allowing 23.68 yards per kick return, ranking No. 8 in the Big 12 and No. 106 among FBS teams. Opponents’ average starting position was 26.7 yard line, meaning they had to go, on average, 73.3 yards to score against OU’s defense. Because its kick coverage was subpar, OU was better off going for touchbacks than allowing the opportunity to return a kickoff while trying to pin opponents inside the 25-yard line.

Kickoff return: B. The Sooners averaged 22.76 yards per kickoff return, ranking fourth in the Big 12. Running back Roy Finch was the biggest threat, averaging 27.5 yards per return on 14 returns. The senior returned 28.6 percent of his returns for 30 yards or more. It wasn't a unit that put fear into the heart of opponents but Finch, Trey Franks and Brennan Clay consistently put OU in pretty good position to begin drives.

Punt coverage: F. OU allowed 16.33 yards per punt return, ranking ninth in the Big 12 and No. 117 among FBS teams. Yikes. The Sooners are lucky their horrible punt coverage didn’t cost them a game. It’s an area that must improve in 2014.

Punt return: A+. As bad as OU’s punt coverage was, the punt return game was better. That unit actually turned the momentum of games around, particularly with Jalen Saunders' punt returns for touchdowns against Iowa State and Oklahoma State. Saunders averaged 16.78 yards per punt return, second in the Big 12 and No. 7 in the FBS.

Overall: B. Hodgson, Saunders and Hunnicutt are stars but OU’s coverage units were average or below average. Nonetheless, the Sooners won some games thanks to their special teams.
You’ve seen them while prepping your fantasy football team. Or reading ESPN Insider Chad Ford while getting ready for the NBA Draft. The “tier system” is an effective way of making sense, differentiating and analyzing a cluster of players. Everyone from pro sport general managers to college coaches out on the trail recruiting employ this method.

With this is mind, SoonerNation has parsed out Oklahoma’s roster into 10 separate tiers. Here they are:

Tier 1: The Elite (Guys who could play for almost anyone)

Crimson Countdown: S Trey Franks 

May, 30, 2013
During the summer months, SoonerNation will take a closer look at each player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we will analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall and his long-term impact. Starting with No. 1 Kendal Thompson, the series will follow the roster numerically through our final analysis of No. 99 Chaz Nelson.

No. 24 Trey Franks
Safety, 5-foot-10, 184 pounds, redshirt junior

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Big 12 spring game review: Oklahoma

April, 15, 2013
For most of these games, we'll do a "What happened" section in addition to "What we learned," but we had SoonerNation on the case, so you can see more about the raw facts here and here.

A few of my observations on what we learned:
  • Unseating Blake Bell looks mighty, mighty difficult. Given how he'd looked as a passer in limited opportunities thus far in his career, there was plenty of reason to doubt how well Bell would handle running the Sooners' entire offense. Still, when you consider how he played and threw in high school, there was equal reason to believe he'd handle it fine. Belief in the latter looks to have paid off. Oklahoma will want his completion percentage to be a lot higher, but he made a whole bunch of plays down the field and over the middle that show plenty of potential. He completed 14 of 23 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns, but most importantly, he didn't have a turnover. If that means a lower completion percentage, Oklahoma's staff will take that trade all day. On Saturday, though, Bell was what he needed to be: A step ahead of competition Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson. There's no guarantees yet, and Bob Stoops has never placed a high premium on naming a starter in the spring as opposed to fall camp, but by now, I'd be shocked if Bell doesn't mature into "The Guy" for the Sooners over the summer and leave little doubt in fall camp about whose team it is.
  • The defense has a few interesting new faces. Trey Franks was suspended all last season, but turned a few heads by making seven tackles and breaking up two passes. The former receiver looked solid on the other side of the ball. We'll see how he fits into the rotation at safety for the Sooners. That's a huge position of need, and you'd have a hard time convincing me he couldn't challenge for a starting job in fall camp. D.J. Ward, a hyped, home-grown defensive end recruit, finally got on the field after being cleared by the NCAA, but he didn't record any stats and Saturday was his first practice in pads.
  • Bob Stoops clarified his pay-for-play comments. I wrote about Stoops' controversial comments here, but he added another clarification after Saturday's game, according to The Oklahoman. "I was just asked about paying players to play football, and of course I went off on what they already are paid,” Stoops said. “And I probably was a little -- I didn't mean to be insensitive when I talked about when the dining halls close and we've all been in that situation. We've all been a little bit hungry on a Sunday here and there. … That doesn't mean I'm not concerned about my players and want to best for them." I don't disagree with Stoops there, but what he said doesn't change my point about the possible repercussion on the recruiting trail. It won't be hard for folks to make the case that other coaches are more sympathetic to their players' current situation, whether it's true or not. I agree with Stoops in that introducing how much he makes is irrelevant to the discussion (he argued that in Saturday's clarification), but I'm betting if Stoops had it to do over again, he'd take a pass at the question. No one's asking Stoops to change his answer or his belief. He's entitled to his opinion, and suggesting it's not a valid opinion is silly, but I fail to see the positives for him in speaking out on the issue.
  • Start up the Trey Metoyer hype train one more time. Every now and then, guys make big noise during the spring and don't show up in the fall. That happened to Metoyer last season, but he sounds like a more mature player this spring, and showed up in a big way again on Saturday. Six catches for 122 yards will definitely get people fired up for him to break out in the fall. He's got everything you could ask for physically, he's just got to turn it into production. I sense we'll be hearing "Bell to Metoyer" quite a few times this fall, but only a few less times than "Bell to Shepard." Sterling Shepard had a quiet day with just two grabs for 22 yards, but I loved what he showed last season. The Ryan Broyles comparisons are premature, but he's definitely got flashes of the FBS all-time leader in receptions.

Position breakdown: Safety 

March, 4, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. -- No position on the Oklahoma roster is more up in the air heading into spring than safety. The Sooners lost their top three back safeties off last year’s team, including starters Tony Jefferson and Javon Harris, who have been fixtures in the OU secondary. How Mike Stoops retools the safety position will go a long way in determining whether the Sooners win the Big 12 championship in 2013.

It will be interesting to see what Stoops does with Gabe Lynn and Julian Wilson. The nickel and dime backs last year seem more suited playing close to the line of scrimmage and covering man-to-man than operating as the last line of defense.

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Here’s a closer look at the individual progression of the receivers at Oklahoma over the past three months since Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks were suspended on May 20.

Kenny Stills, junior

[+] EnlargeKenny Stills
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesKeny Stills has 122 catches and 13 touchdowns in two years as a Sooner.
Then: Stills looked like he would have to carry a large portion of the playmaking burden as the only receiver in good standing who had made a reception in an OU uniform.

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Trey Franks came to Oklahoma as a slot receiver, was temporarily removed from scholarship, and has since returned as a safety as he continues to serve out his indefinite suspension.

Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops explained the position change for Franks this week.

“We’re in experiment mode right now,” he said. “He’s a very athletic player. He’s very physical. He runs and is a very explosive player. There are possibilities. Is it natural? If you’ve got to coach him all the way around the field, it’s going to be a struggle. I don’t have a feel right now of how instinctive he is, and how much I’m going to have to coach. You coach every play, but there are certain things players have to be able to react to.”

Stoops, however, likes the potential of Franks’ athleticism in the defensive backfield. And with the Sooners expected to use six defensive backs often, Stoops is in need of more bodies.

“Athletically, he can do whatever he wants,” Stoops said. “There are possibilities there.”
NORMAN, Okla. -- The big news of the day was Bob Stoops revealing that Stacy McGee has been suspended indefinitely for violating university policy. McGee was starting at the three-technique alongside Casey Walker and Jamarkus McFarland, who were manning the nose-guard spot. Redshirt freshman Jordan Phillips was backing up McGee at the three-technique.

[+] EnlargeDemontre Hurst and David King
AP Photo/Brandon WadeSenior David King (right) will move inside to defensive tackle while Stacy McGee is suspended.
Walker continually stressed the need for him to stay healthy this season. With the news of McGee’s suspension, Walker becomes even more important for OU. Walker and Jamarkus McFarland are the Sooners' top two defensive tackles with limited game experience behind that senior duo.

Walker has played in 21 of 27 games in the past two seasons as he’s been hampered by injuries. He played through labrum and thumb injuries in 2011, playing in 12 games while starting eight.

OU needs Jordan Phillips to step up with McGee out. The Sooners were looking for a fourth defensive tackle and, even with David King sliding inside to take some snaps, Phillips could be the answer to helping any potential depth problems in the defensive interior.

• Middle linebacker Tom Wort said he was confused when position coach Tim Kish said that he had been banged up with ankle, shoulder and back injuries last week. “I feel great,” Wort said. “Don’t know where that came from.” Wort actually asked Kish what the deal was, and Kish answered that his words had been blown out of proportion. As a refresher, here’s what Kish told SoonerNation last week:

“He’s not 100 percent healthy, but we can’t use that as an excuse for him. It’s not anything surgery wise, it’s just stuff that’s got to heal. And it’s tough to heal when you’re going through camp. We’re trying to give everybody equal reps to keep him fresh. At the same time, he needs those reps, so it’s a fine line to how much you involve him in the camp. He’s got all kinds of nicks and that’s typical for what you have as a football player. We’re trying to balance that and manage that for him. It’s like the pitcher for the (Washington) Nationals (Stephen Strasburg) – you’re only going to give him so many innings.”

Wort has a history of injuries, so that quote was disconcerting. But Wort says he’s fine. Take that for what it’s worth.

Demontre Hurst said he and wideout Justin Brown have been battling quite a bit in one-on-one situations. Said Hurst, “He smiles sometimes, I smile sometimes.” It sounds like a good battle and is further confirmation that Brown is ready to contribute immediately.’

Brown has made a smooth transition into the Sooners program and clearly has taken a business-like approach to this season. He’s looking to maximize his NFL potential while helping OU build one of the nation’s most explosive offenses.

Safety Tony Jefferson also praised Brown. “I’m really excited about him,” Jefferson said. “His routes are disciplined, he knows how to get open.”

• Mike Stoops really praised nickelbacks Gabe Lynn and Julian Wilson, who have little experience in their careers. Lynn played cornerback last season, but was moved to the nickel this season. Wilson has gone back and forth between corner and safety.

“Julian Wilson has really played well. He and Gabe have both had their times when they shined,” Mike Stoops said. “I feel that's the strongest position — that and are linebacker position when you look at our depth of quality players. Those two guys can play a lot and it gives us flexibility with Gabe to play some strong safety and maneuver. It gives us an extra safety we feel can play at high level. Those guys have been a positive.”

With all the passing offenses in the Big 12, look for Lynn and Wilson to see the field a lot this season.

• Hurst said cornerback Gary Simon has matured a lot since arriving on campus shortly before preseason camp began. A lot was thrown at Simon and he appears to have handled it pretty well.

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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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Opening camp: Oklahoma Sooners

August, 9, 2012
Camp is open up in Norman. Before we get too deep in sweltering hot practices, I'll offer up a quick preview of what you need to know heading into the season.

Next up: Oklahoma

Media's predicted finish: First.

Biggest story line: Is Oklahoma, fresh off a disappointing end to 2011, good enough to bounce back and ascend back into the BCS in 2012 as Big 12 champs? The Sooners are the favorites, and have a decent shot at winning a national title if they stay healthy. This year, they don't have to deal with the crushing pressure of the preseason No. 1 and the expectation of a national title. Even QB Landry Jones admitted to me this preseason that wins last year felt mostly like relief, the calm after holding their breath for 60 minutes. This year should be much more relaxing, with wins feeling more like accomplishments. Will the results show up on the field?

Biggest question mark: Receivers. There's tons of potential here, especially with the addition of Penn State transfer Justin Brown, who'll contribute on punt returns, too. Kenny Stills returns, but offseason suspensions means Brown and Stills will be the only Sooners on the roster who have played a down of college football when the season begins. Trey Metoyer looks likely to emerge as an impact player, but he's got to prove it. Can Sterling Shepard and Durron Neal get in the mix while Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks sit out with multiple game suspensions?

Biggest addition: Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops is in after nearly a decade in charge of the Arizona program. He'll coach the defensive backs and replace Brent Venables, who left for Clemson after being forced into a co-defensive coordinator role with Stoops.

Who needs to step up: The rest of the offensive line. Oklahoma's camp has gotten off to an awful start. Center Ben Habern left football after lingering neck and back issues, and guard Tyler Evans is out with a torn ACL. That's a pair of three-year starters. Guard Gabe Ikard, the team's most talented lineman, is moving to center, but the Sooners are officially strapped for depth. It's time for junior Bronson Irwin to slide into Evans' spot, and he'll have to be great if OU is going to win another Big 12 or national title.

On the mend: Dominique Whaley. The Sooners' RB suffered a nasty broken ankle last season against Kansas State, but he's back and ready to compete with Roy Finch and Brennan Clay for carries in a crowded backfield.

Don't forget about: S Tony Jefferson. He's moving from the nickel back spot (Joe Ibiloye is expected to take over) back to free safety across from Javon Harris as strong safety, but don't be surprised if Jefferson makes a run at the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year award by season's end. He's got the physical talent and his instincts are almost unmatched in this league. At a more natural spot, could he emerge as an All-American, or more?
Officially, Justin Brown is a Sooner.

The Penn State transfer participated in his first Oklahoma practice Tuesday after flying in the night before.

“It was difficult under the circumstances, but it was the decision I thought was best for me and my family,” Brown said in his first interview since leaving Penn State.

Because of NCAA rules, Brown was in shirts and shorts while the rest of the team was in pads. But coach Bob Stoops already likes what he sees.

[+] EnlargeJustin Brown
Tim Heitman/US PresswireJustin Brown will likely be the Sooners' primary punt returner in 2012.
“He was incredibly impressive out there in one day,” Stoops said. “I said to (wide receivers coach Jay) Norvell, ‘Wow, this guy is going to be special in our system.’ ”

Playing in a run-first offense, Brown was Penn State’s second-leading receiver last season with 35 catches for 517 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Brown couldn’t hold back a smile when talking about playing in Oklahoma’s spread attack featuring veteran quarterback Landry Jones.

“I think everybody gets a chance to showcase their skills in this offense,” Brown said. “They throw the ball a lot and the give the receivers and running backs a lot of opportunities to make plays.”

The Sooners are counting on Brown to make an immediate impact as a position that’s suffered some turmoil this offseason. At the moment, the Sooners have only one non-suspended receiver -- junior Kenny Stills -- who has made a catch wearing an OU uniform. Kameel Jackson was dismissed from the team last week, and Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks remain suspended.

“I can't say enough, looking out there today and you see him added to the equation, a guy that's a senior that has three years experience playing and fighting people, crack-back blocking on people, catching the ball,” Stoops said. “He's a natural catching the football. He's going to bring a ton. It's going be exciting.”

Stoops also said that Brown will return punts for the Sooners. Brown ranked 36th nationally in punt returns in 2011 for the Nittany Lions.

“He can run through those arm tackles or people just trying to grab that jersey and pull him down,” Stoops said. “I saw him out there today, he catches them as easy and smooth as anyone I’ve ever seen.”

Brown said the decision to transfer from Penn State in his senior season was an “emotional” one. The toughest part? Telling his teammates.

“They're still my family and I still talk to them every day,” Brown said. “I'm just trying to get to know a new family now.”

Sooners welcome back suspended trio

August, 6, 2012
During Big 12 media days, cornerback Demontre Hurst reportedly said that the suspension of teammates Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks and Quentin Hayes had been a distraction. But the three have since been put back on scholarship and rejoined the team on the practice field. And the team has welcomed them back with open arms, said defensive end R.J. Washington.

“Trey, Jaz and Q, I gave them a big hug,” Washington said. “‘Glad you back, we missed you.’ When you build a relationship like that, it doesn’t just go away. You’re both sweating, dying in those summer workouts. You build a pretty good rapport. I feel like I’ve made lifelong friends. They’re still my boys.”

Washington concedes the three are fortunate to have another opportunity, even though they will be suspended multiple games. But he’s just glad they got that chance.

“I hoped for the best,” Washington said. “I was hoping their one mistake wouldn’t mess up their whole lives.”
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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The Sooners picked up a wide receiver on Saturday night. They also added a much-needed playmaker to their return teams.

Penn State wideout Justin Brown is transferring to Oklahoma, according to ESPN's Joe Schad. Brown expects to join the Sooners on Monday.

[+] EnlargeJustin Brown
AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarReceiver Justin Brown has decided to transfer from Penn State to Oklahoma for his senior season.
As a proven performer -- he finished 2011 with 35 receptions, 517 yards and two touchdowns -- Brown brings experience to a wide receiving corps that will open the season with just one player with a catch in an OU uniform (Kenny Stills).

At 6-foot-3, he instantly becomes the biggest receiver on the team, too -- an element that’s been missing from the offense in recent years.

But maybe just as important, Brown could spark OU’s return teams, which have lagged at times in the past five years.

Ryan Broyles was a playmaker on punt return, but after his season-ending knee injury, the Sooners’ punt return attack with Stills was virtually nonexistent.

Kick return has been a bigger problem. The Sooners ranked No. 65 in kick returns last season, using a combination of Trey Franks, Roy Finch and Brennan Clay. OU, in fact, hasn’t returned a kick for a touchdown since DeMarco Murray did it twice in 2007.

Brown, however, has been a dangerous punt returner for the Nittany Lions. As the team’s primary punt returner, he ranked 36th in the country last season. Brown also returned punts for Penn State as a sophomore in 2010. He did not return any kickoffs for Penn State.

Brown is not the second coming of former OU All-American returner Antonio Perkins, but the Sooners need playmakers in the return game. Brown appears to be just that.


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