Tight end has always been a position of great importance at OU from the days of Keith Jackson to as recently as Jermaine Gresham on OU's run to the 2009 BCS National Championship game.
But that production dipped off in a big way last season when OU's three scholarship tight ends combined for just three catches all season—Brannon Green had all of those—for 45 yards.
Freshman Sam Grant wasn't quite ready to play and needed a redshirt season, while fellow freshman Taylor McNamara suffered an early season shoulder injury and was forced to watch from the sidelines for the remainder of 2012.
"It was rough, obviously not how I wanted it to go," McNamara said during interviews last week. "But we weren't ready and I understand that and we got to get better so that's what we're working to do."
McNamara individually has made a point to make a charge this spring, which has already been boosted by better health coming off his surgery last year.
"We haven't had any setbacks," McNamara said. "Shoulder's feeling 100 percent, so it looks good."
He's even put on some weight, up 19 pounds from the 234 he weighed in at last year.
That presumably would allow him to more effectively use his 6-foot-5 frame in pass-catching situations.
"Yeah, that weight will certainly help that," McNamara said. "Like I said, first practice today, I felt good and I'm excited."
So, there's that.
And what's more?
Despite playing a couple of games, McNamara was able to draw a medical redshirt last season after suffering his season-ending injury.
So, he got the best of both worlds in terms of earning some actual game experience as well as still having four full seasons to play, a bit of a possible blessing in disguise.
"I think it was," McNamara said. "As much as I wanted to come in and be a star, I wasn't ready. I was blessed enough to only play three games and be able to do that and get the redshirt and have four years left."
Now it's just about acquiring more experience and developing his game.
"I'm really confident in it," McNamara said. "I always have been. I mean, I'm trying to polish it like always but I'm more focused on being physical and getting that blocking down."
Once he does all that, McNamara could turn into a real tight end threat the Sooners have been looking for.