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OU 17-for-2017: Kick and punt returners?

The OU 17-for-2017 rolls on wondering who will return kicks and punts for the Sooners?

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 questions for spring 2017

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Who will be returning kicks/punts?

Special teams has all sorts of questions, but some of them can’t be answered in the spring. And maybe even this question about who will be the kick returners won’t be exactly crossed off after next month.

Joe Mixon is gone. Dede Westbrook is gone. Jay Boulware has to replace both spots, and it does feel like the junior college kids will be the answer.

Last year freshman Mykel Jones served as the No. 2 for OU on kickoff team. The goal was for Westbrook to make the catch with Jones leading the way. It would be wrong to assume Jones just moves up to that No. 1 spot, at least as of now.

The two guys leading the pack are junior college transfer receiver Marquise Brown and junior college jack-of-all-trades Marcelias Sutton.

Both have returned kicks in the past and both seemed primed to be the first options given a chance this season for the Sooners.

When you watch their tape, you get it. You understand why they could be the answers because of their explosive ability with the ball. Because of their natural instincts out in open space. It seems like a good recipe for success.

Boulware, obviously, won’t put them back there unless he trusts them 100 percent. We know that, but a combo of Brown at kickoff and Sutton at punt returner seems like it would calm a lot of OU fans or vice versa with Sutton handling kickoffs and Brown doing the punts.

No matter how it shakes out, it’s an unproven commodity doing something incredibly important. Boulware has his work cut out with running backs, but he can’t neglect the special teams, either.


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