Kenny Stills, Ryan Broyles, Sam Bradford, and Adrian Peterson—what do all these players have in common?
For one, they've all been successful and highly regarded players that have recently been with (or are currently with, in Stills' case) the Oklahoma Sooners. However, that's not exactly what I'm getting at.
In 2004, Adrian Peterson burst onto the scene, totaling 1,925 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. His gaudy statistics were good enough for second in the voting for the Heisman Trophy.
In 2007, Sam Bradford stepped onto campus as a relatively unknown quarterback candidate. He finished the year throwing for 3,121 yards, 36 touchdowns and only eight interceptions—solidifying his spot as the starting quarterback.
In 2008, Ryan Broyles made a name for himself by catching 46 passes for 687 yards and six touchdowns.
In 2010, Kenny Stills came into Norman and deemed himself worthy as a No. 2 receiving option, catching 61 passes for 786 yards and five touchdowns.
Now can you tell me what all these players have in common? If your answer still isn't, "They all were counted on heavily (and produced) as freshmen," then I really don't know how you passed the reading comprehension portion of your ACT; the answer is more or less in the title of the article.
These players represent four solid examples of how freshmen can come into a prestigious program, make a name for themselves and be counted on to provide production when called upon. As you can see, this isn't a yearly sort of thing.
Who will have the best freshman season?
However, there's nothing more satisfying than watching a talented freshman produce at a high-level—knowing that his talent will be sticking around for at least another two seasons.
With a talented crop of incoming recruits, as well as redshirted recruits from last season, this could be another year where the Sooners get solid production out of its freshmen.
After a solid stretch of spring practice and a few eye-popping plays in the Red and White spring football game, there is one incoming freshman that stands tall above the rest—wide receiver Trey Metoyer.
While I'm almost certain a number of freshmen will get an opportunity to showcase their abilities this season, Metoyer will be the freshman that the Sooners will count on most. Here's a quick video clip of a spectacular touchdown grab from quarterback Landry Jones to Metoyer in the spring game.
Metoyer pulls a Jaz Reynolds in the clip with a one-handed grab, but then he breaks two tackles and shows a burst of speed into the end-zone. Sooner fans—get used to this.
Metoyer is listed as 6'2" and 185 pounds, but he plays even taller, going up into the air to grab balls down, and he plays way stronger than his 185 pound frame might suggest. He looks like a veteran wide receiver, and he's only 19 years old.
With projected starting wide receiver Jaz Reynolds and backup wide receivers Kameel Jackson and Trey Franks indefinitely suspended, Metoyer is going to get a chance to start right away. Honestly, after watching Metoyer, I'm not sure there would be any doubt of him not starting, anyway.
At this point, Kenny Stills is the only wide receiver left on the roster that has caught a pass in D-1 football. Naming Stills as the No. 1 receiver is an almost certainty, but I'm not convinced Stills will even be Jones' go-to guy this season.
After Ryan Broyles went down with an injury last season, Stills showed no signs of wanting to step up into the No. 1 role. Instead, Stills seemed to regress, dropping numerous passes that would normally be easy catches.
If Stills continues that act this season, Metoyer will have a chance to step up into the No. 1 receiver role, and I think he will shine. He's just such a great athlete with so many necessary tools to succeed, I really don't see him needing much time to transition.
For as much grief as I usually give Jones for not fixing his shortcomings, it's actually really good for Metoyer to have an experienced quarterback throwing the ball to him during his freshman season. If he did need a transition period, Jones's presence will help speed that up.
Remember, Sooner fans, Metoyer will be here for at least three years, and he's just getting started.