It was the final weekend before signing day, and you knew Oklahoma was still scrambling to find one more wide receiver.
Not just any receiver, though. It had to be someone explosive. It had to be someone dynamic. It had to be that guy who is a highlight just waiting to happen each time touches the ball.
But nobody knew it would be Mykel Jones.
Originally from Louisiana, Jones was a for-sure top 100 kid after his junior season. SEC powers like Alabama, Ole Miss and Tennessee were considered strong favorites throughout.
A torn ACL had some of the schools back off despite the fact he played the final half of his senior season and performed well.
Well enough that OU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley felt confident enough to want Jones in for a last-minute visit.
Guess you could say that’s worked out.
“Yea. It’s crazy just being here and being around the guys and playing for Coach Stoops. It’s a great feeling,” Jones said. “It was something that happened very spontaneously. Last minute. It just happened to be the greatest trip I took.”
Jones signed with OU without hesitation and the talk all summer became about what a major difference maker he was going to be in the slot position and as a kick returner.
A camp injury slowed him down. Nothing major, but everything gets magnified when you’re a freshman vying to earn playing time.
He wasn’t out there for Houston, but there he was for the opening kickoff against ULM. He didn’t return the kick, but it was clear OU was ready to unleash Jones.
Jones made his mark in the second half on his way to a team-leading six-reception outing. Not bad for a freshman making his debut.
“I think he got some confidence from going in there and making some plays,” Riley said. “It was good to see a little bit of what he can do. I would think as he continues to improve his role will grow for us.”
There’s obviously some reality that has to set in. What Jones saw Saturday vs. ULM pales in comparison to what the Sooners will see Saturday night with Ohio State coming to town.
The level of competition is something to take into account but what was refreshing was how well Jones responded in a competitive environment.
“You saw the kid doesn’t shy away from it and made some plays in it,” Riley said. “The flip side is: if you’re going to play with the top group, we can’t afford busts.
He’s not far off. He’s not out there busting every play. I don’t want to give that impression. He’s doing some things well for us. Hopefully, he’ll continue to improve and be able to do more and more.”
Riley began camp saying Jones has a little bit of what he saw in Sterling Shepard. Nobody is making that comparison right now, but Jones is seemingly bringing that explosive element back to Norman.
Even Jones doesn’t want to be saying anything like that considering all the success Shepard had at OU and in Week 1 with the New York Giants.
One of the things that made Shepard special was his ability to rise his level of play for the big-time games. Jones could get his first crack at that this weekend.
“It’s going to be a great experience,” Jones said. “Obviously being a freshman, it might be a little overwhelming. But with great coaches and teammates, it’s going to get easier as time goes on.”