During the next two months leading up to the Big 12 Media Days in Dallas, Sooners Illustrated will breakdown the Oklahoma Sooners roster, starting with Jarvis Baxter (No. 1 on the roster) and working all the way down to Marquise Overton (No. 98) and the incoming freshmen.
We’ll look at last year’s performance, the best-case scenario for this season – without projecting injuries – and what each player means to the short-term or long-term success of the Sooners.
No. 1 – WR Jarvis Baxter (5-foot-11, 165 pounds)
21 receptions, 218 yards, 1 touchdown
What happened last year: Baxter came to the Sooners as a walk-on, junior college transfer, but a lot was still expected from him. He provided a reliable back-up slot option behind Sterling Shepard but didn’t show the most reliable hands. His transition from junior college was a bit slow, but he averaged two receptions per game over the last five games. Baxter scored just one touchdown but had one of his better games against Clemson in the Orange Bowl – three catches for 36 yards.
Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 5. Baxter isn’t a make-or-break receiver for Oklahoma, but he has the chance to make a big impact. He’s really a high-reward, low-risk kind of option for the Sooners. All Baxter really needs to be is consistent. His biggest challenge is improving his hands. Baxter won’t ever be a great downfield blocker, but as a receiver he can provide a little relief to Dede Westbrook and Mark Andrews. If he doesn’t, someone else probably will, though.
Best-case scenario for this season: Statistically? Baxter might be looking at a 40-catch, 500-yard season in a perfect year. He’ll rotate in the slot once again, but he has a really strong chance of winning the starting spot as one of Oklahoma’s interior receivers alongside Mark Andrews. Baxter is the favorite to start there early in the season, and if things go best for Baxter – and Oklahoma, he never leaves that spot.