Hoover's Grade: C
That Marvin Mims led Oklahoma in receiving yards in 2020 isn’t a bad thing. Mims emerged as the Sooners’ most dangerous downfield threat amidst a season of inconsistency for the entire group.
But Mims’ total of 610 yards was alarmingly low — the lowest total for an OU leader since 2005, when Malcom Kelly (also a true freshman) had 471.
That group of young receivers (also led by a 5-star redshirt freshman quarterback) needed time to mature, just like this year’s did.
While Mims emerged as one of the most dynamic young wideouts in the nation, he and sophomore Theo Wease (530 yards) actually tied for the team lead with just 37 receptions. That’s also the fewest to lead the Sooners since Kelly’s total of 33 in ’05. While Mims had more downfield opportunities, Wease became a sort of third-down security blanket for Spencer Rattler at times, and he was usually up to the task.
But OU’s third-leading receiver was a tight end (Austin Stogner) who missed three games, and the fourth-leading receiver was a junior (Charleston Rambo) who has since transferred to Miami. Fifth was an H-back (Jeremiah Hall). Sixth was a running back (Rhamondre Stevenson) who missed five games.
Drake Stoops predictably became a crowd favorite but only caught 15 passes. UCLA transfer Theo Howard only had 13 receptions. Up next on the team stat chart? H-back, H-Back, and running back. The Sooners’ sixth-leading receiver who actually played receiver was Jadon Haselwood, who only played in three games, and only caught four passes.
So yes, Oklahoma’s wide receiver corps had some really good moments, but all in all wasn’t really very good in 2020.
Credit Rattler for spreading the ball around effectively , and credit Lincoln Riley for adjusting the offense to compensate for a lack of reliable wideouts.
Outside of Mims’ Big 12-leading nine TD catches, Sooner WRs accounted for as many dropped touchdown passes as actual touchdown passes: nine.
The future still looks exceedingly bright, with Trejan Bridges back from suspension and Haselwood back from knee injury. Also, maybe Obi Obialo can play next season. Maybe Howard comes back. And Mims and Wease will be better.
Finally, the incoming 2021 freshman class figures to bring lots more help — or, in this case, more competition.
Chapman's Grade: C+
Lincoln Riley's recruiting influx has been most noticeable at two positions: the quarterback and the wide receivers.
While the ceiling of both groups is very high, the youth at wide receiver this season hurt the Oklahoma offense at times.
Freshman phenom Marvin Mims burst onto the scene for 610 yards and nine touchdowns (a freshman record at the University of Oklahoma), but even his season was imperfect. Often making a splash early in games, Mims' impact faded as each individual contest wore on.
Paired with the anonymity of Charleston Rambo and the inability for Theo Wease and Spencer Rattler to get on the same page, and the unit suffered.
Heading into the Cotton Bowl, Pro Football Focus announced OU's pass catchers led the country with nine dropped touchdown passes, two of which aided Oklahoma's early season loss in Ames.
Next year, the wide receivers have a chance to right the wrongs of 2020. With another year under their belts, Wease and Mims project to be much more consistent. The reintroduction of a potentially healthy Jadon Haselwood will go a long way to paper over the cracks as well.
The major takeaway from this year will be the experience both Mims and Drake Stoops gained, which Riley will hope can galvanize the receiver room for a bounce back 2021 season.
Oklahoma 2020 Report Card schedule:
- Saturday, Jan. 9: Safeties and Nickelback
- Sunday, Jan. 10: Cornerbacks
- Monday, Jan. 11: Linebacker
- Tuesday, Jan. 12: Interior Defensive Line
- Wednesday, Jan. 13: Exterior Defensive Line
- Thursday, Jan. 14: Special Teams
- Friday, Jan. 15: Tight ends/H-backs
- Saturday, Jan. 16: Offensive Line
- Monday, Jan. 18: Running Backs
- Tuesday, Jan. 19: Quarterbacks
- Wednesday, Jan. 20: Coaches