Five games into the season, it's not a stretch to say that Marvin Mims may be the best true freshman in the country.
As the Sooners reveled in their 33-14 win over TCU on Saturday, Mims' career day represented the dominant storyline. Oklahoma's rookie sensation hauled in four passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns, giving him a team-high six touchdowns on the year.
“Marvin’s going to be real special," said Theo Wease. "Real special, for sure. Y’all have been seeing it the last couple weeks.”
Mims has been a wondrous surprise for Lincoln Riley's offense, as he's arguably become Spencer Rattler's top option in the passing game with his sure hands and precise routes. Charleston Rambo and Theo Howard entered the season as the presumptive lead dogs in the receiving corps, and Mims was nothing more than an afterthought. But after he accounted for nearly 150 all-purpose yards in his collegiate debut against Missouri State, it became evident that Mims wasn't going to take a backseat to anyone.
“He was a big player once he stepped on campus," said Rattler. "He was making plays. And that connection grew through practices, and of course after that first game.”
On Saturday in Fort Worth, Mims' first trip to the promised land came on a 50-yard catch and run in the second quarter, as Lincoln Riley dialed up the very same leak route that had freed Mims up for an early touchdown against Texas two weeks ago. This time around, the play was no less effective, and Rattler found Mims all alone on the left side of the field for an easy score.
The second of Mims' touchdowns came on a 61-yard bomb in the third period, a play that perfectly encapsulated the combination of skills that makes Mims special. Rattler aired it out for his young receiver, but left a bit to be desired on the throw. Mims adjusted his body, slowed down momentarily to position himself for the catch, timed his jump perfectly, and reached over defensive back Kee'yon Stewart to reel in the pass. Stewart lost his balance as Mims returned to the ground and waltzed into the end zone.
“His high school coach said, ‘You cannot overthrow Marvin,’" said Rattler. "And I can’t really think back to when I have overthrown Marvin. So just, his ability to go get the ball is just different.”
But it's not just Mims' outstanding ability on the gridiron that impresses his teammates. His character and intelligence that shine through, and those who share the field with him on a day-to-day basis agree that he's one of the easiest people to root for.
“Marvin Mims is a superstar in the making, and if you were to have a conversation with him, you would have no idea," said T.J. Pledger. "He’s one of the most humble kids that you could possibly meet. And I’m just so happy for him.”
That's not just one man's opinion, either. When asked for his perspective on Mims, defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles' comments sounded eerily similar to Pledger's.
“I’m so happy for him; we were just talking about it in the locker room," Radley-Hiles said. "That’s my guy, man, and what makes it so much better is that he’s a humble guy. … He balls, he does his thing, he knows his job, his assignment. And I love having him as a teammate.”
With that in mind, is it really all that surprising that Mims has exploded onto the scene as quickly as he has?
Oh, and lest anyone forget, Mims isn't merely making waves in the passing game. He's also emerged as one of the country's premier punt returners. After a 38-yard ramble off a Jordy Sandy boot Saturday, he's now averaging an absurd 17.9 yards per return.
Not too shabby for a kid who graduated high school five months ago.
The Sooners boast plenty of offensive firepower across the board, and Rattler will no doubt continue to command the headlines. But as things stand right now, if there's a player who holds the title of "linchpin" in the Oklahoma offense, it may well be Mims.
At the very least, he's got a case.
To get the latest OU posts as they happen, join the SI Sooners Community by clicking “Follow” at the top right corner of the page (mobile users can click the notifications bell icon), and follow SI Sooners on Twitter @All_Sooners.