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2015 Oklahoma Sooners Football Preview | Is There A Resurgence At Receiver?

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma's offense stalled in 2014 due to two primary factors, 1) turnovers and 2) the inability to go vertical in the passing game. Both of the factors were addressed during the offseason when the Sooners overhauled their offense and brought in an entirely new philosophy. Bob Stoops has repeatedly emphasized that protecting the football will be one of the primary factors in deciding who wins the quarterback battle and Lincoln Riley's new offensive system has drawn in a new crop of freshmen and JUCO transfers. The result? While we won't know fully until the team takes the field on September 5th, the hope is that Oklahoma's offense will be rejuvenated in 2015 thanks, in part, to a resurgence at the receiver position.

2014 RECEIVING STATISTICS

NAME

REC

YDS

AVG

LONG

TD

Sterling Shepard

51

970

19.0

75 (TD)

5

Durron Neal

42

513

12.2

45

3

Michiah Quick

25

237

9.5

54

1

K.J. Young

19

225

11.8

24

1

Blake Bell

16

214

13.4

47

4

Keith Ford

11

140

12.7

28

1

Samaje Perine

15

108

7.2

19

0

Dimitri Flowers

9

92

10.2

16

0

Alex Ross

10

65

6.5

16

0

Aaron Ripkowski

7

38

5.4

9

1

Jordan Smallwood

3

21

7.0

11

0

Austin Bennett

1

19

19.0

19

0

Trevor Knight

1

4

4.0

4 (TD)

1

Totals

210

2646

12.6

75

17

The Star

Senior Sterling Shepard was off to a strong start in 2014 before being slowed by injury. He's back in 2015 to solidify his spot as one of Oklahoma's top receivers in program history. The Oklahoma City native caught 51 passes last season for a career-high 970 yards and five scores.

Shepard is the unquestioned veteran leader of this group and unquestioned star. You could probably throw fan favorite in there as well.

The Holdovers

There are returning players on Oklahoma's roster who could, and most likely should, have an impact in 2015. Atop that list is senior Durron Neal who is coming off a career season in 2014 where he caught 40 passes for 513 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore Jeffery Mead has the size (6-6/189), speed and hands to be the prototypical downfield threat. He just needs to put it all together. Sophomores Michiah Quick and Jordan Smallwood will be looked upon to expand their roles this season as well.

2015 Oklahoma Receivers

#

Name

POS

HT

WT

YR

Hometown

83

Basquine, Nick

WR

6-0

188

RFr.

Norman, Okla. (Norman North HS)

1

Baxter, Jarvis

WR

5-11

162

Jr.

Garland, Texas (Trinity Valley CC) (Lakeview Centennial HS)

8

Bennett, Austin

WR

6-0

172

Jr.

Manvel, Texas (Manvel HS)

84

Bothun, GrantClick here to hear it

WR

5-11

189

RJr.

Rowlett, Texas (Rowlett HS)

88

DeLay, Eric

WR

6-3

215

Fr.

Cleveland, Okla. (Oklahoma Baptist University) (Cleveland HS)

18

Green, Dahu

WR

6-5

190

Fr.

Oklahoma City, Okla. (Westmoore HS)

2

Humphrey, John

WR

6-0

160

Fr.

League City, Texas (Clear Falls HS)

82

McIntee, Ezel

WR

5-10

200

RFr.

Edmond, Okla. (Edmond North HS)

15

Mead, Jeffery

WR

6-6

189

So.

Tulsa, Okla. (Union HS)

13

Miller, A.D.

WR

6-3

175

Fr.

Dallas, Texas (Bishop Dunne HS)

86

Morris, Lee

WR

6-2

200

Fr.

Allex, Texas (Allen HS)

5

Neal, DurronClick here to hear it

WR

5-11

195

Sr.

St. Louis, Mo. (De Smet Jesuit HS)

3

Shepard, Sterling

WR

5-10

191

Sr.

Oklahoma City, Okla. (Heritage Hall HS)

17

Smallwood, Jordan

WR

6-2

208

RSo.

Jenks, Okla. (Jenks HS)

19

Todd, Dallis

WR

6-5

201

RFr.

La Mirada, Calif. (La Mirada HS)

11

Westbrook, Dede

WR

6-1

167

Jr.

Brenham, Texas (Blinn CC)

The Newcomers

The Sooners will look to go eight-deep at the receiver position which means they need a lot of bodies and that's exactly what they have. John Humphrey was an early enrollee who came to Oklahoma as a 4-star recruit by ESPN. He's joined by Moore, Oklahoma's Dahu Green as the freshmen who are most likely to see the field.

The immediate help should come from two key JUCO transfers, Dede Westbrook and Jarvis Baxter. Westbrook was a 4-star recruit from Blinn Community College who arrived on campus in time for spring ball. His speed and quickness was immediately noticeable in the spring game and his impact could bleed over to special teams as well.

Jarvis Baxter was a late addition to the 2015 class who joined the team just this month. He racked up over 1,200 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns in the junior college ranks last year and was named as an all-conference second team player.

It's no secret that Oklahoma's receiving corps desperately needed to be revamped and retooled. Oklahoma's coaching staff did their best during the off-season to accomplish just that very thing. Now we'll have to wait and see what kind on dividends it pays.