Leading up to the beginning of the 2016 season, we’ll be ranking the top Sooners from each position group during Bob Stoops’ tenure at Oklahoma. Here, we count down the top 10 receivers since 1999. Other position groups (such as tight end) will likely be limited to five.
10. Curtis Fagan
A member of the original receiving core of Stoops’ tenure, Fagan was a very solid and consistent contributor from 1999-2002. Originally recruited as a defensive back, he went on to record 1,689 yards and 13 touchdowns.
9. Manuel Johnson
From 2005-2008, Manny Johnson served as the second, third or fourth option in some incredibly powerful offenses. He was a member of the 2005 recruiting class along with Malcolm Kelly and Juaquin Iglesias, and all three went on to do great things at OU.
8. Jalen Saunders
Saunders didn’t play a down at OU until the Texas game of his junior season, but he made an immediate impact with his speed and play-making ability. I still call him “Marlboro Red”, because the guy was a Cowboy killer. In two close contests against Oklahoma State, Saunders had two touchdown catches and took two punts to the house.
7. Antwone Savage
Along with Fagan, was part of the original receiving core of the Stoops Era. He led the Sooners with 46 catches during the 2000 season, and is remembered for making some big-time plays against Kansas State in both 2000 and 2001.
6. Juaquin Iglesias
Old Reliable. Iglesias wasn’t great at anything but was pretty damn good at everything. He served as the go-to receiver for Sam Bradford in the most productive offense in NCAA history, and he currently stands at fourth all time at OU in receiving yards with 2,861.
5. Kenny Stills
Stills had a lot of ability, even if his attitude was often questioned (justifiably or not). He had 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns during his three years at OU, but he might be remembered more for that incredible hairdo of his.
4. Malcolm Kelly
If we’re going by talent alone, Malcolm Kelly tops this list. Kelly was physically dominant, standing at 6-4 with a huge wingspan and too much speed for most to catch him from behind. His most memorable moments came against Nebraska in the 2006 Big 12 Championship against Nebraska, where he caught 10 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns before busting out a freestyle rap during the postgame celebration.
3. Mark Clayton
Clayton is the man who perhaps stood out more than anyone in OU’s 77-0 trouncing of the Aggies in 2003, catching seven balls for 177 yards and three scores on that November day. He was incredibly fun to watch in the open field, and I don’t think any receiver in OU history could juke as well as he could. He ended up making a nice career for himself in the NFL, starting 65 games over seven seasons with the Ravens and Rams.
2. Sterling Shepard
Shep stood at 5-10 and wasn’t usually the fastest guy on the field, but his hands were exceptional, his routes were close to perfect, and he had a 40-inch vertical (41 inches at the NFL combine, to be exact). He made some of memorable plays in offenses that often lacked direction (2013, 2014), but then had the opportunity to run a bit more freely as a senior in Lincoln Riley’s offense. He painted his masterpiece in Knoxville with his late-game heroics and helped lead his team to a birth in the College Football Playoff.
1. Ryan Broyles
When Broyles left Norman, he was the NCAA’s career leader in receptions with 349. He played in an offense that would often throw it 60 times in a game, but that hardly diminishes his reputation. He was as crisp a route runner as the college game has ever seen, and he had a serious knack for big plays. Injuries ultimately derailed his professional career, but he’ll be remembered forever around these parts.
I know the last video doesn’t involve a reception, but I don’t care. I LOVE that punt return!