Ahead of the Curve

NORMAN, Okla. — Very few players come in as college freshmen ready to play at the next level.

But by all indications, if there's one this time around for the Sooners, wide receiver Trey Metoyer is that guy.

The 6-foot-2, 198-pounder, who hails from Whitehouse, Texas and arrived from Hargrave Military Academy after the fall, has stole the show throughout spring ball.

"Trey's had a good camp," said co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Jay Norvell. "I mean, he's a freshman. He's got an awful lot to learn. It's his first spring, but he's an athlete and he's competing hard. And he does a lot of things well naturally."

So well, he's drawn comparisons already to fellow wide receiver Kenny Stills and the impact he made as a true freshman.

No. 4 started all 14 games as a true freshman back in 2010, racking up 786 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 61 catches.

He's started all 25 games he's played in his career so far after getting the nod in 11 last year.

Stills has defined production early in a career very well.

Now, the Sooners hope No. 17 can have a similar impact.

The expectations, of course, are lofty for the youngster who enrolled mid-semester, but it's within reason that he could crack the starting lineup.

Just ask head coach Bob Stoops.

"Absolutely, I believe it's very realistic that he could do that," Stoops said.

So what is it that stands him out?

It's DNA.

It's athleticism.

The same type of DNA and athleticism No. 4 has.

"Very similar mentality," Norvell said. "Trey's very confident in his ability to play. He's bigger than Kenny, stronger than Kenny. I think that's the difference in the two as a player. But he's very explosive. I mean, I used to love watching him play basketball. That was the biggest thing. I mean, he can get up off the ground so quickly and explosively and that transfers into his route running. So, he's got some special tools."

One of those is certainly his paws.

Guys early in the spring immediately raved about his hands, including running back Brennan Clay, who was quoted saying "I thought I had big hands, but my man has some paws."

That obviously gives him an advantage when he uses his tall frame to go up and get balls.

"He's got huge hands, and I think that's one of the things that I was so impressed [with] about him is his ability to catch," Norvell said. "He's like a human vacuum cleaner. He's got great ball skills, but he's got a lot to learn. He's got a good feel like Kenny did when he came in. He's a little different guy, though. He's bigger and stronger and that's been good to see translate in our offense."

What's more?

Metoyer possesses natural route running skills and an enhanced understanding of the game and certain schematic details essential for maximizing one's potential as a receiver.

He can visualize being in situations and use his knowledge to apply technique and his skills in order to excel when he actually gets in live situations.

"You know, guys like Ryan Broyles and Kenny, they have an ability to take their athletic ability in an analytical way and transfer it to the field," Norvell said. "And I think that's what's exciting is because we draw up all these plays, but wide receivers, they bring them to life with their athletic ability and their body control. So, he has a very good knack of doing that, and now it's just understanding how to come out of cuts and having Landry see him and our quarterbacks see him come out of breaks.

"And he's got a lot of reps with those guys in the spring and he's just got to continue to do that. The most important thing for a young guy is to practice every day and not get hurt and so he needs to continue to push himself so he can get a lot of reps."

It sounds as if Metoyer won't need too much motivation for that.

Becoming an elite receiver in college is enough motivation in and of itself.

But so is having a receiver on your own team who prods you along.

Metoyer has that motivation to emulate what Stills has done so far.

"Trey's came in and kinda just been in my shadow and trying to see what's going on and what I can teach him and what he can learn," Stills said. "And I feel like that's exactly what I did when I came in with Ryan. You know, I just wanted to know every little thing that he had in his head and, you know, we're always in there watching film. We're talking on the field, him and I and Landry. You know, he's a big guy and he's made some great plays through spring. So, if he can do well in the spring game and earn himself a spot."

He's at least done what he's needed to thus far.

Because of that, a typical early enrollee freshman is not how one would describe this guy.

Metoyer has stepped on campus and made his presence be felt.

"Trey Metoyer's been a huge [addition], has made a really great impact," Stoops said.

Time will tell on how big that impact will be in a few months when the Sooners open up the season Sept. 1 in El Paso, Texas against UTEP.

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