It’s not often that a team picks up a 1,000-yard receiver as a transfer and can play him nearly a month later.
However, the Oklahoma Sooners will now receive this rare opportunity as former Penn State wide receiver Justin Brown joins the team for the upcoming season.
Under the recent sanctions placed on Penn State, players are able to transfer to another team without having to sit out a season. Brown became the ninth player to transfer in hopes of having another shot at a bowl game and conference championship.
With the Sooners, a conference championship game is not the only championship game that may be in store for Brown this season.
Now that Brown is in the fold, the Sooner’s receiving corps has added a player with 73 career receptions and 1,047 yards in three seasons. The Sooners ranked third in the Big 12 last season in receiving yards and are returning a Heisman trophy candidate in quarterback Landry Jones, who is the school’s all-time leader in passing yards.
So, what kind of impact will Brown have on an already high-powered Sooner’s offense?
He is one of the few Sooner’s wide receivers who have game experience and are currently eligible to play.
Now that Kameel Jackson is no longer on the team and Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks are still suspended, Brown joins Kenny Stills as the only two receivers who are currently eligible to play in Week 1.
Stills started 11 games last season and had 61 catches for 849 yards, giving him 1,635 total receiving yards in his career.
Stills and Brown will give Landry at least two experienced receivers to throw to until Reynolds and Franks have their suspensions lifted.
Sooners coach Bob Stoops is also excited to have an experienced receiver in Brown now in the fold for this season.
In an article by Jake Trotter on the ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth website, Stoops was quoted after watching Brown in his first practice with the Sooners, despite not having seen him in pads just yet.
“I can’t say enough, looking out there today and you see him added to the equation, a guy that’s a senior that has three years’ experience playing and fighting people, crack-back blocking on people, catching the ball,” Stoops said. “He’s a natural catching the football. He’s going to bring a ton. It’s going to be exciting.”
With Stills, Brown and freshman Troy Metoyer, the Sooners' offense will have a chance to not miss a beat after ranking fifth in NCAA Division I in passing yards last season.
Jones also has another receiver who is at least 6’3” now that Brown has joined the program.
But Brown may also have an impact in another area for the Sooners.
As Trotter’s article mentions, Brown will also return punts this season.
In three seasons, Brown has returned 49 punts for a total of 338 yards, giving him an average of 6.9 yards per return.
The Sooners, meanwhile, ranked third in the Big 12 in punt return yardage but ranked last in the conference in kickoff return yards. The team averaged 8.7 yards per punt return last season.
Brown’s size and ability on special teams means that the Sooners' return game will also receive a boost now that he joined the team.
Brown leaves Penn State ranked 20th on the school’s all-time receiving yards list after playing his first three seasons with the team. And leaving the school in the first place was no easy decision, as an article by Jason Kersey on NewsOK.com contains a quote from Brown on his transfer.
“It was very difficult under the circumstances,” Brown said, “but it was the decision that was best for me and my family. There’s no disrespect to Penn State and the players. I still talk to the players.
“They’re still part of my family. I still talk to them every day. I’m trying to get to know a new family now.”
Although he may never have wanted to be in this position, Brown’s transfer to the Sooners gives him another opportunity at postseason play and possibly a chance at a national championship game appearance.
For the Sooners, well, they just turned a question mark at a position into an exclamation point.
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