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. 11 – WR Dede Westbrook (6-foot, 170 pounds)
46 catches, 743 yards, 4 touchdowns
What happened last year: Westbrook made quite a first impression on Sooner Nation, impressing with his speed and showing stout hands once he finally got up to speed with the major conference game. He averaged a little less than 20 yards per catch but was key in Oklahoma’s passing game. There was a hole at No. 2 receiver when Westbrook came to Norman. He filled in quite nicely.
Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 8. Now, Westbrook is moving in the No. 1 receiver role with the departure of long-time mainstay Sterling Shepard. It’s a big pair of shoes to fill, and if Westbrook doesn’t fill the whole shoe, it’s important that he fills most of it. He’ll be the primary target on the outside with a still-developing Mark Andrews as his primary counterpart. Westbrook needs to have a big year. He needs to make sure Oklahoma doesn’t yearn for Shepard to find another year of lost eligibility. Should Westbrook falter, Oklahoma doesn’t have an obvious replacement. The Sooners would need a desperate surprise should Westbrook not be up to the task.
Best-case scenario for this season: Westbrook is going to be the primary target in offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley’s passing offense. Oklahoma needs him to be, and it seems like nothing short of a 60-catch, 1,000-yard, 8-touchdown season would suffice for the No. 1 receiver. Shepard achieved that mark only once, so maybe slightly less production would be acceptable. Although, we are talking about the best-case scenario for Westbrook. That kind of season also puts the mid-round selection – maybe even the fourth round – within reach.