OU 17-for-2017: Is this Jeffery Mead's breakout year?

OU's 17-for-2017 asks is this the breakout year for Jeffery Mead?

It’s about that time again. Expectations are high. Questions abound. Yep, it’s time for Oklahoma spring football.

The Sooners, coming off an 11-2 season where they won the Big 12 championship and the Sugar Bowl, will no doubt be expected to be in the national championship and playoff hunt once again.

The calendar turns to March. The page officially turns to 2017, and although things look rosy for OU, there are still plenty of unanswered questions going forward.

What are those? That’s where Sooners Illustrated comes in. We’ll take a look at one pressing question each day leading up to OU starting spring practice March 21. The spring game is April 8.

Sooners Illustrated’s 17-for-2017

Bob Przybylo/Scout

Will Jeffery Mead make the leap like Dede Westbrook?

Last year everybody wondered what would happen after Sterling Shepard left, and then Westbrook exploded.

Now Westbrook has departed, and once again the question is about OU’s playmakers at receiver. Quarterback Baker Mayfield, by design or organically, has seemingly found that one target he trusts more than anybody else during his first two years.

It was Shepard in 2015. It was Westbrook in 2016. Based on what we’ve seen, does that mean the time is now for Jeffery Mead?

Mead is a curious case because he began the 2016 season as a starter before being replaced by A.D. Miller. Instead of staying in the doghouse or getting discouraged, Mead fought his way back into the lineup and came up with some big-time catches late in the season.

His numbers of 10 catches for 150 yards and three touchdowns won’t strike fear into anybody, but a Mead with confidence could going forward.

Nobody is expecting Mead to be Shepard or Westbrook but to make that natural next step in his progress as a Sooner. He’ll be a senior so it has to be now. Consistency has plagued him in the past although really wasn’t a factor down the stretch in 2016.

OU’s receiving group seems to be talented and there is going to be a lot of youth among this crop so a steady hand and a major season from Mead is exactly what everybody desires.

With athletic ability and natural size, Mead is someone who can make a huge difference. That mentality, if it hasn’t already started, needs to begin now.

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