Slowly but surely, the days are moving right along as the offseason winds down. As of today, there are 17 days remaining until the Oklahoma Sooners kick off the 2018 season. In this edition of our Countdown to Kickoff series, I want to reflect on the career of one of the last OU players to log legitimate playing time on both sides of the ball: receiver/corner Andre Woolfolk.
Coming down from Denver, the origin of Andre Woolfolk’s Sooner career coincides with the changing of the guard at Oklahoma. After redshirting in ‘98, his first opportunity to see the field came at the start of the Bob Stoops regime. The receiver saw a decent amount of action, but nothing close to the level of what the next three seasons had in store.
Fast-forward to 2000. Oklahoma was undefeated and rolling. Then came the Red October run through Texas, Kansas State and an epic showdown against arch-rival Nebraska. After falling behind early, the Sooners needed a spark to combat the Cornhuskers’ Blackshirts.
Cue Andre Woolfolk.
While en route to winning a national championship on a team full of household names, Woolfolk etched his own path in a way that hadn’t been seen in Norman in two decades years. While still cutting his teeth as a starter at receiver, he also played sparingly on defense, and he wasn’t half bad. In the opener against UTEP, he became the first player to see action on both sides of the ball in the same game since Bud Hebert in 1979.
In 2001, Woolfolk’s role shifted from mostly receiver with some cornerback play to true double-duty. His ball skills were incredible no matter which side he lined up on. His skills as an offensive and defensive player boosted one another. He had the adept route running ability of a receiver, the instincts of a corner, and the hands to make a play any time the ball was thrown in his vicinity. After starting the first four games at both receiver and corner, he made the full-time shift to defense and never looked back.
Woolfolk started every game at corner in ‘02, his senior season, giving him a career total of 21 starts on defense and 17 starts on offense. On offense, he recorded 59 receptions for 877 yards and six touchdowns, and 54 tackles with three interceptions on defense.
In the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans selected Andre Woolfolk with the 28th overall pick. He spent four seasons with the Titans.
The age of two-way players is all but history, but every now and then, a guy like Andre Woolfolk will come along, and if his talent on both sides is undeniable, then why not?
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