Oklahoma Sooners: Ryan Broyles

Big 12 all-BCS-era team

January, 13, 2014
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After 16 years, the BCS era is finally over. Next season, college football will have a playoff instead.

With the BCS done, we've come up with our Big 12 all-BCS era team (1998-2013) below:

Offense

[+] EnlargeVince Young
Scott Clarke/Getty ImagesWith Vince Young at the helm, Texas won a national title and Rose Bowl.
QB: Vince Young, Texas (2003-05) -- Young led Texas to its first national title in 35 years with an unforgettable performance in the Rose Bowl against USC. The Heisman runner-up also became the first QB in college football history to throw for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000 in the same season.

RB: Ricky Williams, Texas (1998) -- Williams was part of the BCS era for only one season, but what a season it was. He rushed for 2,327 yards and won the Heisman Trophy going away. Only Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne has more career rushing yards than Williams (6,279).

RB: Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma (2004-06) -- Despite battling injuries throughout his career, Peterson still was a beast in college. After rushing for 1,925 yards while leading the Sooners to the national title game, he finished second in the ’04 Heisman voting, even though there was still a stigma then in voting for a freshman.

WR: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech (2007-08) -- Crabtree became the first two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s top receiver. In '08, he and QB Graham Harrell led the Red Raiders to an upset of Texas and a No. 2 ranking in the polls.

WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State (2009-11) -- Blackmon became the second and only other two-time winner of the Biletnikoff. In his final two seasons, he finished with 233 receptions, 3,304 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns, and he helped propel the Cowboys to their first Big 12 title in '11.

TE: Chase Coffman, Missouri (2005-08) -- Coffman had a monster statistical college career for a tight end with 247 catches for 2,659 receiving yards and 30 touchdowns. He won the ’08 Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end. Missouri won 37 games during the four years Coffman was in the lineup.

OT: Jammal Brown, Oklahoma (2001-04) -- Brown was a unanimous All-American and a three-time All-Big 12 selection. He became the fifth Sooner to win the Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top interior lineman.

OT: Russell Okung, Oklahoma State (2007-09) -- In Okung’s final two seasons, Oklahoma State led the Big 12 in rushing yards. The Cowboys were also third in the country in ’07 in fewest sacks allowed with Okung at left tackle. He was a unanimous All-American and Outland finalist in ’09 and became the sixth overall pick in the ’10 NFL draft.

OG: Cyril Richardson, Baylor (2010-13) -- Richardson became Baylor’s seventh all-time unanimous All-American. The Outland finalist was also a key piece on the nation’s highest-scoring offense this season.

OG: Justin Blalock, Texas (2003-06) -- Though a guard in the NFL, Blalock actually started 50 games for Texas, most coming at right tackle. He was a three-time, first-team All-Big 12 selection and a consensus All-American in 2006.

C: Dominic Raiola, Nebraska (1998-2000) -- Raiola was the inaugural winner of the Rimington Award, named after former Nebraska center Dave Rimington, which recognizes the best center in college football. He was an Outland finalist and a consensus All-American.

APB: Darren Sproles, Kansas State (2001-04) -- One of the most prolific all-purpose performers in college football history, Sproles finished his career with 6,812 all-purpose yards. Among his 39 consecutive starts, his most memorable performance came in the ’03 Big 12 championship, when he had 235 yards rushing and 88 receiving, as K-State upset top-ranked Oklahoma 35-7.

Defense

DE: Brian Orakpo, Texas (2005-08) -- Orakpo captured the ’08 Nagurski Award as the most outstanding defensive player in the country, and the Lombardi Award, given to the best college lineman or linebacker. He also was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American while piling up 11 sacks his senior year.

DE: Von Miller, Texas A&M (2007-10) -- Out of a hybrid defensive end/linebacker role, Miller led the nation with 17 sacks in ’09. He was a two-time All-American and won the Butkus Award in ’10 as the nation’s top linebacker.

DT: Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska (2005-09) -- There was no more dominant defensive player in college football during the BCS era. Suh finished fourth in the Heisman voting in ’09 and won several national awards, including the Outland, Lombardi, Nagurski (most outstanding defensive player)and Bednarik (defensive player of the year). He was also a unanimous All-American and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

DT: Tommie Harris, Oklahoma (2001-03) -- Harris was a force from the beginning as a freshman on the OU defensive line. He won the Lombardi his junior year, and he was a two-time consensus All-American, garnering unanimous honors in ’03.

LB: Derrick Johnson, Texas (2001-04) -- Johnson was a menacing linebacker for the Longhorns, earning consensus All-American honors in ’03 and unanimous honors in ’04. He was also a three-time, first-team All-Big 12 selection, and won the Butkus (best linebacker) and Nagurski awards as a senior. Johnson finished his career with 458 tackles.

LB: Rocky Calmus, Oklahoma (1998-2001) -- Calmus played a major role in OU’s resurgence under Bob Stoops. He won the Butkus in ’01 and was a finalist for the Nagurski and Bednarik. A three-time All-Big 12 pick, Calmus led the Sooners in tackles in all three of those seasons.

LB: Teddy Lehman, Oklahoma (2000-03) -- Lehman too won the Butkus, beating out Johnson for the award in ’03. He also was Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, captured the Bednarik, was a unanimous All-American and played in two national championship games.

[+] EnlargeTavon Austin
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesWest Virginia receiver and returner Tavon Austin had a huge 2012 season.
CB: Terence Newman, Kansas State (1999-2002) -- Newman was a solid player for Bill Snyder his first three seasons, then broke out as a senior. Newman was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, a unanimous All-American and the Thorpe winner, given to college football’s top defensive back.

CB: Derrick Strait, Oklahoma (2000-03) -- A four-year starter, Strait finished with a school-record 52 career pass breakups. He also won the Thorpe, and was a unanimous All-American.

S: Roy Williams, Oklahoma (1999-2001) -- Nicknamed “Superman,” Williams was the Big 12’s most dominating defensive player until Suh came along. He won the Thorpe and Nagurski in ’01, and was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous All-American the same season. He also famously skied over the Texas offensive line to force the game-clinching interception to earn his moniker.

S: Michael Huff, Texas (2002-05) -- Huff became the first Longhorn to win the Thorpe, and was the leader of the ’05 national championship defense. He was also a unanimous All-American that season.

Special teams

K: Mason Crosby, Colorado (2003-06) -- Crosby was three-time, first-team All-Big 12 selection, and twice was a consensus All-American even though he never won the Lou Groza Award, given to the nation's top kicker. He was also the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year as a junior, and converted 66 field goals in his career.

P: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State (2009-12) -- Sharp became the first three-time All-American in Oklahoma State history, and he earned All-American honors both as a punter and a kicker. He was twice named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year. In his career, he made 50 of 59 field goals, averaged 45.9 yards per punt and missed only one extra point.

KR: Tavon Austin, West Virginia (2012) -- Austin was in the Big 12 only one season, but he was unstoppable that one season. On top of being one of the most dangerous kick returners in the country, Austin had 1,289 yards receiving and 643 rushing, and finished second in the country in all-purpose yards.

PR: Ryan Broyles Oklahoma (2008-11) -- On top of being a prolific punt returner, Broyles was one of the most efficient receivers in college football history. He finished his career with an FBS-record 349 receptions, and was a two-time consensus All-American before a knee injury cut his senior season short.

Best WR tandems in Big 12 history

November, 4, 2013
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The Big 12 has featured some prolific wide receiver tandems over the years.

Baylor’s Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley, however, have a chance to top that list.

[+] EnlargeAntwan Goodley, Tevin Reese
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsAntwan Goodley and Tevin Reese rank 1-2 in the Big 12 in receiving yards per game.
This season, Reese is second in the Big 12 with 118 yards receiving a game. He trails only Goodley, who leads the league with an average of 128 yards receiving. They are a big reason why the Bears are on pace to break the FBS records for points (56.0) and yards (624.9) per game that were set by Army in 1944 and Houston in 1989.

Depending on how they finish, Reese and Goodley could wind up becoming the best duo in Big 12 history. But they aren’t the only big-time duos in the Big 12 this year.

Kansas State’s Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett have been lighting it up since returning from injury. The last two weeks the two have totaled five touchdown catches.

Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard lead the Sooners with five touchdowns apiece. Texas Tech’s Eric Ward and Jakeem Grant are fifth and sixth in the league in receiving. Oklahoma State’s Josh Stewart and Tracy Moore are beginning to warm up with Clint Chelf at QB. And Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis have been stalwarts in this league for years.

But who are the best tandems ever to play Big 12? We lay it out below.

Tight ends were not included (sorry Jermaine Gresham and Chase Coffman). The tandems were evaluated on what they accomplished together, not on whether their careers simply overlapped (eliminating Jeremy Maclin and Danario Alexander, for example); and, this is a list for duos, not singles, trios or quartets (apologies to Rashaun Woods, and the 2008 Oklahoma and 2010 Baylor receiving corps).

To the list:

1. Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, West Virginia (2012): In their only year in the league, this tandem was one-two in the Big 12 in receiving, combining for 224 receptions and 2,914 receiving yards. Bailey himself had 25 receiving touchdowns; nobody else in the league had more than 13. Austin, meanwhile, also rushed for 344 yards in one game at running back. As Bailey tweeted out earlier Monday morning on this topic, “case closed.”

2. Michael Crabtree and Danny Amendola, Texas Tech (2007): Crabtree got all the headlines in 2007 on his way to winning his first of two Biletnikoff awards. But out of the slot, Amendola quietly put up 109 receptions for 1,245 yards, as Tech went 9-4.

3. Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby, Texas (2008): Shipley and Cosby starred on one of the three best Big 12 teams that didn’t win a conference title. The two each had 1,000 receiving yards and double-digit TDs from QB Colt McCoy, as the Longhorns finished the year 12-1, their only loss coming on Crabtree’s game-winning touchdown in the final seconds in Lubbock. The two were also prolific on special teams, with Shipley’s kick return touchdown sparking Texas’ 45-35 comeback win over Oklahoma.

4. Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper, Oklahoma State (2011): As with Crabtree-Amendola, Blackmon got all the attention on his way to a second Biletnikoff award. But Cooper was a pivotal piece in OSU’s first Big 12 title team, as he racked up 71 receptions out of the slot. Blackmon, of course, had a monster year with 121 catches and 18 touchdowns.

5. Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams, Baylor (2011): Reese was actually the third wheel to this duo, which shined with RGIII at quarterback. Wright was an All-American with 108 catches, 1,663 yard and 14 touchdowns. Williams was big time, too, finishing fifth in the Big 12 in receiving before taking over the No. 1 role in 2012.

6. Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills, Oklahoma (2010): Broyles led college football with 131 receptions on his way to becoming the all-time FBS leader in career catches. Stills broke OU’s freshman single-season receiving record, as the Sooners stormed back to capture the Big 12 crown after a pair of midseason losses.

7. Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas (2008): It might be difficult to remember now, but the Jayhawks used to play some ball. Meier tied Crabtree for second in the league with 97 receptions. Briscoe trailed only Dez Bryant with 1,402 receiving yards. This was an underrated duo.

8. Quincy Morgan and Aaron Lockett, Kansas State (1999): On one of the first passing teams in the Big 12, Morgan and Lockett shined. Morgan had 42 receptions for 1,007 yards and nine touchdowns and was a first-team all-conference selection. Lockett, Tyler Lockett's uncle, was a second-team all-league pick for the Wildcats, who went 11-1 and finished the year ranked sixth in the polls.

9. Mark Clayton and Travis Wilson, Oklahoma (2004): Clayton carried the moniker of best receiver in OU history until Broyles came around. Because of Adrian Peterson, Clayton’s numbers dipped in ’04, but he was still an All-American with 66 catches. Wilson led the Sooners with 11 TD grabs, as OU advanced to a second consecutive national championship game.

10. Jarrett Hicks and Joel Filani, Texas Tech (2005): Neither might be a household name around the Big 12 anymore, but these two were both first-team All-Big 12 selections in ’05 along with Iowa State WR Todd Blythe.
Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones paid a visit to Jon Gruden's QB Camp, and you can see more from his visit on April 17 on ESPN, but Gruden also wrote about his time with Jones and his study of the Sooners star's tape.

His thoughts were a bit of a surprise, but he tried to explain some of Jones' issues later in his career.

Gruden says Jones got "bored" after peaking in his sophomore season, and Gruden says he saw complacency. The 2010 season, highlighted by a Big 12 title and BCS bowl victory over UConn, was definitely the peak of Jones' statistical accomplishments, throwing for 4,718 yards and 38 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions. He never equaled his quarterback rating of 146.3 that season.

Without Ryan Broyles for the second half of 2011 and without him in 2012, it's hard to compare what he did statistically, and I'm sure you'd hear from Oklahoma coaches that he was better in some areas in 2012 that didn't show up statistically without a playmaker like Broyles.

Gruden says when he broke down tape from the later seasons with Jones and went through some of his mistakes, the answer was far too often that Jones was trying to do too much. That sounds like a player trying to work outside of the system and getting himself in trouble for doing so. Jones has the physical ability to do things and make throws a lot of guys can't make, but that doesn't mean he should always try to make them. He didn't "always" do it, but he definitely developed a well-earned reputation over his career as a guy prone to a backbreaking mistake at inopportune times.

You can see that with interceptions early in his career, but he also had costly fumbles returned for touchdowns in games that ended up deciding the Big 12 title: Kansas State in 2012 and Oklahoma State in 2011.

Defenses decided to often rush just three players, and Jones wasn't content to take checkdown throws, Gruden writes. Gruden points to some shortcomings in the offensive schemes that didn't help Jones, including a lack of tight-end play that resulted in a loss of balance and putting too much on Jones' shoulders, which might have contributed to some of his regression.

Really interesting analysis from Gruden, who adds a perspective I hadn't heard.
NORMAN, Okla. -- When it comes to quarterbacking, George Whitfield Jr. has developed quite a reputation in NFL circles. The quarterback guru has personally tutored Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. So Whitfield knows what a first-round quarterback looks like. And he believes that Landry Jones will be a first-round selection.

[+] EnlargeLandry Jones
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesFormer Oklahoma signal-caller Landry Jones impressed scouts at the Sooners' pro day on Wednesday.
“That’s where I see him going,” Whitfield said Wednesday after Jones finished throwing during Oklahoma’s pro day. “He might not be the headliner or front line guy right now, but when they boil it all down and get down to what’s most important, Landry will figure his way into the first round.”

Jones gave scouts from all 32 teams in attendance one final look before the NFL draft in April, throwing 71 passes inside OU’s Everest Indoor Training Center. He got off to a rocky start, as the first pass sailed out of his hand into a duck that fell way short of the intended receiver downfield. But he quickly settled down and was crisp for the rest of the session.

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Position breakdown: Wide receiver 

February, 15, 2013
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NORMAN, Okla. -- Outside of Ryan Broyles, receiver has been an up-and-down position for the Sooners in recent seasons.

In 2012, however, Oklahoma was formidable at the position. So formidable, in fact, that OU went almost exclusively with a four-wide receiver set the second half of the season.

Half of that foursome is now gone, with Justin Brown graduating and Kenny Stills leaving early to enter the NFL draft. But enough pieces remain for the Sooners to be strong at wideout again.

When Missouri made a strong run at ESPN 150 wide receiver Durron Neal (St. Louis/De Smet Jesuit) last year, all Oklahoma fans could do was hold their breath.

Would it happen again? Not this time. Neal stuck with the Sooners, easing some of the pain caused years ago by another Missouri high school product who initially committed to OU before ending up with the Tigers.


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Top Oklahoma Sooners sleepers 

January, 22, 2013
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The Oklahoma Sooners have a clear history of quality evaluation of high school recruits and turning them into elite college performers and NFL draft picks. Quarterback Sam Bradford sets the standard but he isn’t the lone overlooked prospect on national signing day to become a star in crimson and cream. Here’s a look at several sleepers who became Sooners standouts in recent years.


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Top 10 Bedlam moments of Stoops era 

November, 20, 2012
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Despite last season’s loss, the Bob Stoops era has featured many memorable games and moments against Oklahoma State. SoonerNation ranks the Top 10 Bedlam moments in the Stoops era for the Sooners:

1. Mike asks Les if he wants more

The week of Bedlam in 2003, OSU coach Les Miles said the game would feature “maybe the best team in college football” and “a darn good football team” and “we’re going to figure out which one is which.” The Stoops brothers didn’t care for the comment. In the fourth quarter, with the Sooners on their way to a convincing 52-9 victory, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops stepped from the sideline and stared across the field, raising his arms, then his palms, as if he were asking Miles, “You want some more?”

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Top OU receivers of last five seasons 

November, 16, 2012
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In 2012, quarterback Landry Jones has been blessed with a deep array of talented receivers. How do they stack up against OU’s recent crop of pass-catchers? SoonerNation ranks the 10-best OU receivers of the last five seasons:

1. Ryan Broyles (2008-11): Broyles shattered the FBS career receptions record with 349 catches. He also set school records with 4,586 receiving yards and 45 touchdowns. Simply put, Broyles is the best receiver in OU history.

[+] EnlargeRyan Broyles
J.P. Wilson/Icon SMIRyan Broyles caught 349 passes for the Sooners in his career.
2. Juaquin Iglesias (2005-08): Iglesias may not have been flashily, but he was the best wideout on the most productive offense in modern college football history. Iglesias finished with a 1,150-yard season in ’08, making him, Broyles and Mark Clayton the only 1,000-yard receivers in OU history.

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Oklahom has made a point of playing more receivers in the past month than it has all season. Fresh legs will yield better results, the Sooners say.

Still, transfer Jalen Saunders has joined Justin Brown as another huge addition to Oklahoma's offense that the Sooners inexperienced receiving corps didn't believe it would have only a few months ago.

Saunders showed up to Oklahoma after going through a year under a new coaching staff at Fresno State, where he caught 50 passes for 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2011. Saunders was originally expected to sit out the 2012 season because of NCAA transfer rules, but made an immediate impact after being ruled eligible a little less than a month ago.

He caught a pair of passes for 54 yards against Texas, then broke out in a big way against Notre Dame, etching his name in the Sooners record books in the losing effort.

"Well, I knew he’d make a great contribution," coach Bob Stoops said. "He’s really a great young man at how hard he works -- he’s really bright, he picks things up in meetings immediately and he’s a guy who has experience so he’s quick and has a great feel for playing in that slot position."

Saunders caught eight passes in the first quarter, more in a single quarter than any player who'd ever put on a Sooner uniform.

By game's end, he'd caught 15 balls for 181 yards, tying another big-name Sooner for the single-game school record in receptions: Ryan Broyles.

In just four games, Saunders has 24 catches for 323 yards and has found a place in a crowded, otherwise-inexperienced Sooners receiving corps trying to develop connections with Landry Jones in his senior year.

"It keeps getting better and better the more he’s on the field with him," Stoops said of Saunders' chemistry with Jones.
NORMAN, Okla. -- With the addition of Fresno State transfer Jalen Saunders last week, a strong Oklahoma receiving corps just got stronger.

But it remains to be seen if this group finishes as one of the best in school history.

SoonerNation ranks the Top 10 receiving corps in OU history including tight ends:

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All eyes were on Landry Jones after the Oklahoma offense sputtered following Ryan Broyles' knee injury last November. Tales of Jones' prowess with Broyles and struggles without the All-American receiver became the norm.

Similar things could be said about co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel.

The Sooners' offense averaged 45.4 points and 545.9 yards per game in the nine games Broyles started and just 26.3 ppg and 436.8 yards without him. And, most importantly, OU went 2-2 in those games.

[+] EnlargeJosh Heupel
Icon SMIOklahoma co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel is in his second season calling the plays for the Sooners.
While Heupel is in his second season as co-offensive coordinator and playcaller at OU, the argument could be made that it is essentially his rookie campaign. The Sooners offense was ready-made in 2011, with Jones at the helm and Broyles already established as the main playmaker on the offense. Simply put, getting the former Sooner star the ball was the priority and a proven method to insure success.

This season meant an entirely different offensive attack. Every good offense is going to change each season as the best offensive minds in the nation tweak their offensive attack as the year progresses. Heupel has shown growth in that area this season, thanks in part to an expanded number of playmaking options.

Last season, after Broyles went out, the Sooners' offense lacked an identity. OU couldn’t find a rhythm or make game-changing plays.

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Roundtable: Most disappointing Sooner 

October, 4, 2012
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Every Thursday during the season, the SoonerNation staff will answer a roundtable question about OU football. Leave a comment or talk about it in our "There's Only One" forum.

Today's question: Who has been OU's most disappointing player so far this season?

[+] EnlargeLandry Jones
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiOklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has completed 63.6 percent of his passes and five touchdowns and two interceptions this season.
Landry Jones is not playing like a fifth-year senior quarterback or top NFL prospect. The Oklahoma quarterback is struggling early this season and has admitted he's been trying to do too much at times. He's completed just 44 percent of his passes on third down this season and has thrown just six touchdown passes in seven games since Ryan Broyles was injured late in 2011. After a subpar finish to his season in 2011, it's easy to assume his confidence is shaken. OU needs to do everything it can to help him regain his confidence and get him to get back to maximizing his talent while limiting his mistakes. If he can, the Sooners can insert themselves right back into the Big 12 race.

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Oklahoma’s 24-19 loss to Kansas State last Saturday seems to have made Sooners fans forget just how good Landry Jones can be. His struggles were the driving force behind OU’s first loss of the season but the Sooners will need the senior if they have any hope of competing for a Big 12 championship this season.

No matter how bad it seems, Jones is the only quarterback in the league who has led his team to a Big 12 Championship during his career.

[+] EnlargeJones
Nelson Chenault/US PresswireOU quarterback Landry Jones has not spread the ball around as much in 2012.
In 2010, Jones led the Sooners on a five-game winning streak to capture the Big 12 title and win the Fiesta Bowl. Thanks to ESPN Stats & Information, SoonerNation was able to take a closer look at what many consider the best stretch of his career.

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It was a simple play, one that largely went unnoticed as Oklahoma hammered Florida A&M 69-13 on Sept. 8.

Yet Sterling Shepard made it known that he could be a key part of the Sooners' offense during that play.

Showing no concern for his body, the freshman receiver elevated to grab an 11-yard pass from Landry Jones despite being sandwiched between two FAMU defenders to make the first catch of his college career.

[+] EnlargeSterling Shepard
J.P. Wilson/Icon SMIFreshman Sterling Shepard is tied for third on the Sooners in receptions and second in receiving yards.
Shepard’s first catch, along with his 10-yard touchdown reception against Kansas State last weekend, are arguably the two most competitive receptions by any receiver on the Sooners in 2012. Those plays are examples of why Shepard could become a mainstay in the offense going forward this season.

Against K-State on Saturday night, Shepard was the Sooners' lone offensive bright spot with seven receptions for 108 yards and one touchdown in his first college start.

“He was our player of the game,” said coach Bob Stoops. “He's a competitive guy, plays stronger and more competitively than most freshmen you'll see. He's just got a special talent and attitude about him and has an ability to make plays. We're excited about his future.”

Said center Gabe Ikard: “That’s probably the best true freshman performance since AD (former OU running back Adrian Peterson).”

One of the most impressive things about the freshman has been his ability to take advantage of every opportunity with the No. 1 offense. According to ESPN Stats & Info, he has caught all eight passes thrown to him by quarterback Landry Jones this season.

“Guys that play well will continue to get opportunities -- we’ve always done it that way around here,” said co-offensive coordinator/receivers coach Jay Norvell. “There’s no question, his first Big 12 game and he stepped up. Sterling held his own in there and played great.”

On passes of 10 or more yards against K-State, according to ESPN Stats & Info, Jones was 4-of-4 for 78 yards when targeting Shepard and just 3-of-12 for 60 yards when targeting everyone else.

“He was probably the most competitive guy we had on the outside on Saturday night,” offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. “And we’ll need more of that from him.”

Shepard’s emergence could open up several options for the Sooners. Here are just a few ways the Sooners can take advantage of the Oklahoma City native’s talents:

• Move Kenny Stills to outside receiver at various times replacing Justin Brown or Trey Metoyer. It would put Stills back at the position he played during his first two seasons and help take the top off defenses with his speed. It would also open up running lanes for running backs Damien Williams and Dominique Whaley while creating space for intermediate routes for Shepard in the slot, much like Stills did for Ryan Broyles in 2010 and 2011.


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