We’ve reached single digits, folks! In just nine days, the Oklahoma Sooners will kick off the 2018 season. For today’s Countdown to Kickoff special, I’ve got a trio of players who each etched their names in Sooner history. I’m talking about receivers Mark Clayton and Juaquin Iglesias, as well as quarterback Trevor Knight.
The electric Claytonr was born in Oklahoma City and raised in Arlington, Texas. After redshirting in 2000, he quickly solidified himself as one of the go-to options for whoever was slinging the rock from behind center.
Clayton truly burst onto the national scene as a junior in 2003. With eventual Heisman Trophy winner Jason White throwing his way, Clayton turned in his best season from a statistical standpoint. He finished the season as a finalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s top receiver.
By the end of his senior season, Clayton was a two-time First-Team All-American (‘03, ‘04). For his career, he currently ranks third in school history in receiving yards and receptions with 3,241 yards and 221 catches, and is second in receiving touchdowns with 31.
Clayton was selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens, where he played for five seasons — standing out in his second season with 67 catches, 939 yards and five TDs. He was then traded to the St. Louis Rams in 2010, playing there for two years with fellow Sooner legend Sam Bradford before retiring. He recorded 3,448 yards and 14 touchdowns on 260 catches as a pro.
From one big-play receiver to another, Juaquin Iglesias’ Sooner career began right after Clayton’s ended. Iglesias, a native of Killeen, Texas, wasn’t a player who immediately jumped off the screen with his measurables, but he was a model of consistency every time he stepped on the field.
BOOMER SOONER....— KNCT SPORTS (@KNCT_SPORTS) October 8, 2012
JUAQUIN IGLESIAS... pic.twitter.com/RdJYKPwq
Starting from 2005, Iglesias elevated his game each season, both from a production and an impact standpoint. Once Sam Bradford took over at QB in ‘07, Iglesias’ presence was magnified. The receiver quietly turned in big game after big game, and before long he was one of the more underrated threats on the outside in the nation.
Iglesias proved to save his best for last during his senior season. The ‘08 Oklahoma team is regarded as fielding one of the greatest offenses in college football history, and Iglesias played a significant part of it. He led the team that season in receiving yards en route to a BCS National Championship appearance.
For his career, Juaquin Iglesias nabbed 202 receptions for 2,861 yards and 19 TDs. He was selected in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.
Fast-forward through time a few years, and you’ll find a player that completely embodied a team-first mentality, whether he was starting games or coming in as the backup. Trevor Knight, a San Antonio product who first arrived to Norman in 2012, brought a unique skill-set to the QB position at Oklahoma. He was a beast in the weight-room, and his athletic prowess on the field as a dual-threat was apparent.
After redshirting, Knight somewhat unexpectedly won the offseason QB competition against junior Blake Bell, but went down with an injury early on. After recovering and returning to the starting lineup, Oklahoma’s offense with Knight running the read option gave the Sooners a wrinkle that most Big 12 teams weren’t accustomed to defending.
The one shining moment for Knight’s Sooner career came at the end of the 2013 season. Oklahoma was slated to take on the dynastic Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl, and Bama was the overwhelming favorite. Little did the oddsmakers know, Oklahoma’s secret weapon was the redshirt freshman QB. Knight put on a show for the ages, upsetting Nick Saban, the king of the SEC.
Knight and the Sooners carried momentum from that Sugar Bowl victory into the 2014 season, but after a strong start, pop star Katy Perry guest-starred on College GameDay and did this.
While it was pretty entertaining at the time to see Perry ask Knight to call her on national television, it turned out to be a curse. Okay, it’s probably too harsh to blame Katy Perry for Oklahoma’s mishaps in 2014, but she makes for an entertaining scapegoat.
Knight continued to struggle with injuries, and when Baker Mayfield became eligible and the starter in 2015, Knight was all-in like the team player he is. After graduating, he transferred to Texas A&M, where he closed out his college career with a solid campaign for the Aggies.
To this day, Knight still bleeds crimson, and that is why he will forever be regarded as one of the more beloved Sooners of the late Stoops era.
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