Oklahoma’s struggles at the wide receiver position were well documented for the 2014 season, and the first domino has fallen for the Sooners coaching staff going forward.
Sooners Illustrated can confirm OU wide receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell has been relieved of his duties at OU. The news was first reported by FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman.
Norvell has served as OU’s wide receivers coach since 2008 although his ties to Bob Stoops go way beyond just the years in Norman. His job never seemed in jeopardy last summer, especially after, through a big help from Norvell, the Sooners were able to add former Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to the roster.
Green-Beckham, however, was never ruled eligible, and outside of junior Sterling Shepard, the Sooners aerial attack never got on track.
Shepard injured himself on the first play from scrimmage in OU’s win against Iowa State on Nov. 1 and was never the same again the rest of the season. Neither was OU’s passing attack.
In OU’s last four games, the Sooners only threw for two touchdown passes. There were off the field issues as well as two of Norvell’s top recruits in previous recruiting classes, Dannon Cavil and Derrick Woods, are now no longer a part of the program.
But in recent years, OU has not been able to land that top recruit. In 2012, OU was on the outside looking in for Green-Beckham the first time around and Nelson Agholor (USC). The Sooners tried to go all-in last recruiting cycle with KD Cannon, but he chose Baylor.
It looks like once again the Sooners will come up just a tad short with top receiver target Ryan Newsome. The four-star prospect from Aledo (Texas) High released a final three of Texas, UCLA and Tennessee less than two weeks ago.
Shepard was sensational this season before his groin injury, finishing with 51 catches for 970 yards and five touchdowns. OU’s next top three receivers, however, could barely match Shepard’s 970-yard total.
Junior Durron Neal ended with 42 catches for 513 yards and three touchdowns, while freshman Michiah Quick had 25 catches for 237 yards with one score. Redshirt freshman K.J. Young finished with 19 receptions for 225 yards and a single score.
Norvell’s departure will also lead to speculation about the future of Green-Beckham. Sources close to the program believed if Green-Beckham decided to stay at OU, then Norvell would be granted one more year in Norman.
Green-Beckham has until Jan. 15 to decide what he’s going to do, but Norvell officially being out does lead one to believe Green-Beckham could be headed to the NFL.